Studies have shown there are various different ways you can start your day and the method you choose should best support the goals you want to achieve. Here we take a look at these different morning protocols and how choosing the right one can dramatically improve the results you get.
Semi Fasted Cardio To Lose Fat
Now before a long run it’s almost customary to have a large bowl of carbohydrates to serve as fuel for the workout ahead. But research published in the Journal of American College Sports Medicine showed that athletes who fasted before training, although didn’t perform as good, actually burnt a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the people who ate before training. It’s believed this is because after fasting your muscle glycogen levels and insulin levels are low, yet glucagon and adrenaline levels are higher meaning the internal environment within your body is better capable of breaking down and burning fatty acids.
So based on this theory many bodybuilders and athletes when wanting to lower their body fat percentage will exercise first thing in the morning without breakfast since they’ve effectively been fasting for 7-10 hours whilst they’ve been sleeping and so in theory this is the best time to workout if your goal is fat loss. Obviously this is not good for any athletes who are concerned with improving their performance, since having no carbohydrates will badly affect your workout rate, but for those solely concerned with losing fat this could be a good way to start your day.
One downside of this type of training is there could be the potential to lose muscle mass as well since your body is in a very delicate state that could become catabolic if you train too hard or for too long like this. However there are ways to combat this such as keeping your work rate to below 65% of your maximum heart rate, also you can try having 15 grams of a very low carbohydrate, low fat, high protein such as whey isolate since the protein and amino acids will help preserve muscle mass whilst ensuring your insulin levels and muscle glycogen levels remain low therefore ensuring hormonally you’re still in this state that’s optimal to burn fat.
Breakfast for Muscle Mass
For those people solely concerned with increasing muscle mass there first thought in the morning should be to eat as soon as possible and to provide the body with the nutrients it would have been missing for the last 7-10 hours whilst you were sleeping. This is so important since it’s during the latter part of your sleep cycle that your body will begin to edge into a catabolic (tissue breakdown) state since the nutrients such as amino acids from your last meal before bed will begin to run out.
The best way to stop this catabolic process is to have a nutrient dense breakfast that contains a mix of high glycaemic index carbohydrates and low glycaemic index carbohydrates and protein. The reason for this is because after fasting for 7-10 hours your muscle glycogen levels (carbohydrates stored in the muscles) are quite low so the high glycaemic index carbohydrates will actually help to rapidly replenish them whilst the low glycaemic index carbohydrates will serve to keep the body slowly energized throughout the day. Plus the high glycaemic index carbohydrates will also cause the body to release insulin which will help to shuttle the protein and amino acids straight to the muscles as quickly as possible.
This is why many bodybuilders and strength athletes will start their days with a large serving of whey protein combined with blended oats, strawberries and berries, since this blend is ideal to break the sleeping fast and give the body the nutrients it needs to grow. It would also make sense to have a large serving of healthy fats as well in the form of peanut butter or fish oils since this would provide the calories you need to fuel a big gym session later in the day. Plus study conducted at the University of Alabama and published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that eating healthy, dietary fat in the morning was a good way of triggering the metabolism and improving insulin sensitivity which could both aid in keeping body fat levels low.