Nutrition FAQ | Should I train without eating breakfast?

Posted on August 13, 2019 by in Nutrition & Nutrition FAQ

NSWIS athletes get a wide range of assistance and support about diet and nutrition to use food as their performance advantage and reach their goals.

Over time there has been some trends in questions which are common from athletes about their diet and what can help support training.

The specific needs of each individual athlete are always different depending on their goal and training loads but below are some explanations for some of the more common questions and scenarios athletes talk to the NSWIS Dietitian about.

 

Should I train without eating breakfast OR should I train fasted?

There is an increased awareness around dietary strategies which include fasting and what place it might have for athletes, in particular training when fasted.

The short answer is that it depends.

Fasting through extended windows of time – where you rest the digestive system and don’t consume kilojoules – may have some merits but it’s certainly not the first dietary change to include in your diet.

Once you have practiced other key principals of healthy eating and eating to support training you may consider trialling different nutrition strategies such as fasting. This should always be done in consultation with a dietitian to ensure it suits your training demands and performance goals.

Training with lower energy reserves and available energy will put a different stress on the body. If you are already highly stressed this wont be advantageous for you. If it suits your training phase to be training on an lower energy load it may provide a new training stimulus you could use to your advantage at that time.

 

When athletes should not train fasted:

  • When training longer than an hour
  • Doing high intensity / peak power or anaerobic sessions
  • When performance matters and you need to push yourself
  • If you are trying to gain weight and muscle mass
  • If underlying health issues like diabetes may cause contraindications
  • If it makes you so hungry later in the day that you overcompensate and are likely to eat more than you would usually need

 

When you might trial an early training session fasted (training without eating anything first):

  • Training sessions less than an hour
  • Training sessions that are lower intensity / aerobic sessions
  • Having a fasted morning on a day you don’t have to train
  • If you have a good plan and structure for your recovery meal directly after, and for the following meals through the day
  • In consultation with a dietitian

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