I’m a light weight body builder who has always done cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Did a 1/2 marathon last year and was very successful. Now going back to body building but I want to change my workouts. I would like to strength train 1st thing in the morning and do cardio later in the afternoon. Will I see the same success?
First, it has been shown that strength training (especially for strength or hypertrophy specifically) should be performed with as much time between the strength training and the cardio training as possible. And at least 4 or more hours between the two whenever possible.
Second, performing any strenuous activity on a truly empty gastrointestinal tract is not productive. If you eat your last meal before 7 pm, most of the contents of the meal will have passed the stomach and small intestine by around midnight. If you get up at 6 am to exercise, there will be very little energy assistance from the GI tract. That leaves it all up to your liver and muscle storage/conversion. These storage/conversion systems are not unable to function well under these conditions, but a little boost from a light meal will help you energize the workout. This can also be achieved with workout beverages. You can use a workout log to find what timing of meals works best for you. Good workout notes are very productive if you know how to use them.
Third, post exercise fuel/refueling has been shown to be the most important factor in productive workouts. A overwhelming amount of research indicates that consuming a meal with 30 minutes of ending a workout will result in the most positive adaptations in the body. The ratios of carbs/protein for strength training and aerobic training vary only slightly. So, trying to sort through what will work best for each individual is not as productive for the post exercise meal as it is for the pre exercise meal. I think it would be good for anyone reading this to put in a little effort and search out the information on what to eat post workout. If you have questions on that after you do a little research, you can contact me through my profile or my website www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com .
All thought-provoking responses. If you combine cardio and strength training, I suggest that you do cardio first, then strength exercises, since the target muscles and connective tissue will be warmed up. However ,as you suggest, strength in the morning and cardio later is certainly ok. Just be sure to do a warm-up set on the strength exercises to reduce the risk of injury.
Also, don’t forget stretching exercises following both cardio and strength workouts. In addition, allow at least a day of rest/week for recovery and repacking of muscle glycogen.
A few things I’d like to add to this great discussion: Under-fueling of any kind eventually leads to the catabolization of lean mass (muscle loss). Whether your current goal is endurance training or a bodybuilding workout, I’ll assume that muscle loss is not a part of your goal, so you may want to reconsider not eating before cardio.
Although you will burn more fat than sugar during a workout by not eating beforehand, you may burn less fat overall. Remember that the highest ratio of fat is usually burned during sleep. Current research is showing that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) boosts EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) levels and fat-burning hormones in both men and women for up to 72 hours after a workout. Not eating, on the other hand, will only affect fat burning levels for the amount of time you’re working out. Here’s what the doctor that did the research has to say on the subject: http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/epocarticle.html
The other factor all women should consider when adapting their exercise routine is that engaging in any exercise to the point of amenorrhea, or any disruption of the menstrual cycle, will cause bone density loss, which can in some cases be irretrievable. You can thank me when you’re 80… 😉 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16271132
In the morning – your body already in catabolic state.What that means?It means that in the night your body literally start eating yourself up (degrading muscles process).What happen if you not eat in the morning – the process gets deeper and it will be more difficult to save your metabolism from extreme muscle breakdown.
Muscle breakdown – slow metabolism -your body start “conserve energy” – and finally you end up to gain weight more!
Wow this question has created quite the controversy. Well Brenda, when I did the Body-for-LIFE Challenge in 1999 I worked out on an empty stomach all the time and had incredible results (enough to beat out 10,000 other competitors to win Men’s 18-25 Round 6 Category). However, that being said and being older now it really depends on your energy level and of course your goal.
Some people will say you have to eat before you workout to keep your muscle. My experience and several am clients can and do well working out on an empty stomach. Other clients can not get through their workout and get light headed if they workout with eat first.
My advice: Try both but have a protein shake or piece of fruit or both on stand by in case you can not complete your workout. Also, your workout should be strong and make sure you are using the same weights as you were in the afternoon sessions. If you find yourself getting weaker and lifting less then you definitely need more protein and most likely need to eat prior to lifting in the morning.
The question I will ask you is are you taking a pre-workout drink? Or drinking coffee in the am before your workout? My clients and myself have found this gives them plenty of energy to “kill” their morning workouts. Just make sure you have a good 2:1 – 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout meal with you or on stand by to be consumed within 15-45 mins after your lifting session.
I would like to know what you come up with. Bottom line: everyone is difference. You have to see what works for your body. None of us has the same “genetics”. This is the missing link in everyones answer. “Same success”? You have to find this out for yourself! Best of luck on your journey!