Weight Loss NHS
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Does exercise before breakfast help?

I can walk to work now. Is it better to walk into work and then have breakfast rather than have breakfast first? I heard that eating after the exercise helps the body consume stored carbohydrate / fat instead of using up the food eaten before the exercise. (My walk is about 40min each way). Thanks. Guy

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Hi Plot72 and welcome to the weight loss forum.

Well done with walking to work, that is brailliant going. :)

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Hi Plot72, I go for light breakfast before my walk/run and after run I go for something light to eat like fruit. This way I don't feel hungry in between my exercise time. This helps me completing my run. You can try this ...hope this helps.

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That's a challenging one - for me.

I go to an exercise session at 6.30 am some days, and I always have my breakfast first - partly because I don't exercise well without some food in me. There are others in the class who don't eat until they get back home. So one of my questions would be how you would feel walking on an empty stomach? Would you be so hungry by the time you arrived at work that you overate for example. The other thing you could do is to "split" your breakfast in two. Personally, I would eat then walk - because I think it would start shifting my glucose levels in the right direction. And because it is right for me.

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My walk to work is 45 minutes each way. I usually eat before I go.

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Hi Plot, I liked to do my 45 min workout before break,and then I've done that part of day,then enjoy a quick brekky,always have a cuppa tea before workout☕😊 It's what you get use to I guess.

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I prefer to exercise first, it just suits me that way. I am not a breakfast person really, but eat mid morning after 30-45 minutes exercise. It also fits in with my attempt to have longer gaps between meals and I enjoy my breakfast/ brunch more.

I don’t know if there is any scientific evidence one way or the other. I say do what feels right for you. Remember losing weight is about 20% exercise and 80% what you eat 😊

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A study proved that two meals are better than six for weight loss, contrary to what we are still often told. Exercising first would be in line with this narrowing of the eating window.

Years ago, when my diet was predominantly carbs (albeit low Gi), I really struggled to do anything before breakfast, and to go four hours between meals.

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Interesting 😊

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Hi plot 72, it is down to what feels right for you and your body. I am happy to run first thing , after only a coffee. Then science states there is an afterburn of calories burned and yes you do burn off more fat exercising on empty. There's lots of really good documentaries now and then on TV, like food unwrapped, that test these theories. So I suggest do what feels right for you. :)

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Nutritionists and fitness bods would both advise to eat breakfast at least 30 mins before exercise as there is evidence to support that exercise on an empty stomach puts strain on your muscles as you have no 'fuel' in your system so it may be doing damage rather tahtn burning fat. I already get up at 5.30 to do my exercise dvd before work so it's just not feasable for me. I think that the advice they give is for people who do not work or have a family to look after!

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It depends how intense the activity is, but muscles have their own reserve of glycogen provided it's not depleted, and low intensity activity can be fuelled by fat.

It's better to think of meals as a means to replenish our fuel reserves rather than providing the fuel directly.

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Go with what works for you. Everyone is different and there are pros and cons to eating before and after exercise if you have a look at studies. I personally find it hard to exercise in the morning even if i have food. If i have food before I exercise i usually get a stitch if I'm running. And then there are some that find it difficult to eat that early in the morning.

Why not try both ways and see what you think for you.

Listen to your body is the key and do what works for you.

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