Hello hello!  If you don’t already know, I am a huge Jillian Michaels fan.  I have four of her workout DVDs, I try to catch the Biggest Loser whenever I can, and her newsletter is delivered to my inbox on a daily basis. 🙂  Laugh if you will, but I truly believe motivation comes in all different forms, and Jillian is definitely one of mine. 🙂 

Anywho, in one of her newsletters this past week, she addressed the question of whether it is better to eat a meal before or after a workout.  She says that training on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat is absolutely FALSE!  Our body needs blood sugar to help fuel our workouts in addition to what it uses from our fat stores.  If you don’t have any blood sugar present, your body will turn to your muscles for energy (glycogen or stored glucose).  Low blood sugar will also make you feel tired and lethargic during your workouts.  Jillian suggests eating something 45 minutes prior to working out.  She also states that 45 to 60 minutes after a workout is the golden hour, where muscles absorb the most nutrients, so eating a small meal, protein and carbs, during this time is crucial.

I am currently transitioning from PM workouts to AM ones, so I (try to) get up at 5:15 every morning to workout.  If I were to follow Jillian’s advice, I would have to be up by 4:30 AM, so that I could eat a pre-workout snack.  I don’t know about y’all, but that just isn’t going to work for me!  Personally, I find that my body is ready and energized for morning workouts when I eat a substantial, nutritious dinner the night before.  I understand the science behind what Jillian is saying, but I think (and this is just my opinion) that not eating something before an early morning workout is ok, AS LONG AS you properly fuel up the night before and you eat a hearty, well-balanced breakfast afterwards.  It’s all about listening to your body and giving it what it needs when it needs it. 

See, I don’t blindly follow everything this woman says!!!  But I still love her. 🙂


What are your thoughts on this topic?  If you’re an AM workout person, do you eat something beforehand? 

By Parita

0 thoughts on “When to Eat”
  1. Hiii! So thrilled to meet you! + I def cannot wait to read more of your blog!

    I am lucky enough to be able to work out in the afternoon lately (I used to have to work out in the evening or early AM!) and, for me, I have to have a small snack before doing cardio via kickboxing or spinning class or I get faint! Its usually just 1/4 of my protein smoothie or a piece of bread or fruit, nothing large!

    early workouts though… its super hard for me to eat beforehand!!! a good dinner and hearty post workout breakfast sounds perfect to me! =)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenn! I agree, the dinner + breakfast combo has been working for me up until now, so I think I may stick with it. 🙂 Although, before afternoon workouts, I have to eat a little something beforehand too – hate the faint feeling!

  2. hmm….i really don’t know! i’ve only tried working out a few times right when i wake up, and i found it very hard to do on an empty stomach. i just had NO energy. but would i get up an hour before to eat? haha…probably not. for now i’ll stick to my workouts right before dinner. 😉

    1. Yeah, I too think that every extra minute of sleep I can get is incredibly important. 🙂 However, I do love having an extra 1.5 hours after work to just relax and prepare for the next day.

  3. I WISH I could work out before work in the mornings. if so, I’d be grabbing a banana or a handful of granola pre-workout. just something small to get me goin’. 🙂 I’m the same after a workout. I LOVE chocolate milk afterwards! and it’s so good for my sore muscles.

  4. I’m totally a morning exerciser and I could never do it if I didn’t eat breakfast first! I’d have no energy! I struggle to eat after my workouts – I know I should, but it is so hard to plan something that is healthy and that I want to eat when I am rushing around (especially on work days)!

  5. It all depends on convenience. If I have time I’ll eat, if not I won’t. Don’t think it really makes much of a difference as long as you can squeeze in some protein for pwo considering if your lifting weight 🙂

  6. Now that I have begun working out in the morning, I’ve changed my strategy a bit. I need a little energy in order to achieve my desired intensity level, but I don’t want to eat too much and cramp/feel sluggish.

    My solution is to have a spoon full of peanut butter. It give me a good calorie/fat punch and sticks to the ribs rather than sloshes around!

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