Ask Jenny: I Work Out at 5am, So When Should I Eat Breakfast?
I’m a mom of 2 kids and work a full-time job in Boston, so 5am is the only time I get work out during the week (at the weekend I can work out mid morning). This means I do not have time to eat breakfast unless I get up at 4am (which is just not happening). What should I do?
Anne - Newton, MA
Great question Anne, and congratulations for getting in your workouts with your busy schedule and time commitments!
Fasted workouts (working out on an empty stomach) can actually be a great tool for blood sugar regulation and helping you build metabolism boosting muscle, if you use them in the right way.
Your weekly workouts (you mentioned you work out 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday Friday), i.e. the ones you do fasted should be no more than 35-40 minutes long, and of a medium intensity (how hard you work). Good choices for these workouts could be 30 minutes of running, spinning, or a lighter weights sessions.
At the weekend, when you have eaten breakfast is the time for your more intense (harder) workouts, such as a heavier lifting session, Barry’s or Orange Theory, or a boxing workout. Just make sure you finishing eating at least an hour before working out!
The benefits of working out on an empty stomach (fasted), mean that your body has to tap into its stored carbohydrate, and then your body fat as sources of energy (your body will use the following for fuel in this order 1: alcohol, 2: stored carbs, 3: your body fat). So you will help balance your blood sugar, and get your body using fat for fuel. Hormonally you will also get a boost of growth hormone and testosterone, which is great for helping you build lean muscle.
However, fasted workouts can be challenging for your adrenal health and thyroid health, which is why I recommend only working out fasted at a medium intensity, and for those struggling with hormonal issues (high cortisol, irregular periods, adrenal fatigue) a yoga flow or brisk walk is a better option than the options listed above.
As part of my Lean and Clean Program you will receive workout suggestions personalized to your goals, schedule, available equipment and hormonal status. You can start anytime, from wherever you are in the world, and there is a $100 discount until 4/30! For more details head to: