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Old 07-27-2007, 11:23 AM   #1
John Maloney
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I keep hearing/reading that you shouldn't work out on an empty stomach. Problem is - I like to work out on an empty stomach (feels right). Now I don't wish to miss out any muscle-building just because I'm not feeding the muscles properly for growth - esp. after I've earned it through hard work, but the fact is, if I eat anything within a hour of working out, it just sits there and threatens to come back up (even protein shakes). So what's the fuss about not eating? Does that put you body into a starvation state? Would you advise drinking half a shake 90 min prior?

BTW, my workout times are all over the place, from 0630 to 1300 to 1900. My goal is to capitalize/capture muscle growth opportunities while continuing to reduce bodyfat.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:40 AM   #2
George Mounce
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Are you training for size or functionality?

The most functional CrossFitters don't necessarily have the biggest muscles. They do have a very good bodyweight to strength ratio.

To increase muscle you have to eat more. Eating more will add more fat. Try working on one or the other, but both at the same time is harder.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:48 AM   #3
Ryan Jones
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I too used to 're-taste' my food every time I worked out within 2 hours of eating. However lately I've been having a 2 block zone snack 30-60 minutes before each workout and I've felt great with any nausea coming from the workout alone =P. I also follow up the workout with another 2 block zone snack as I shakily stumble through my door with 0 blood sugar.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:37 PM   #4
Milton Grasle
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I've had several people state that they simply run out of energy if they don't eat something before a workout. I'm sure that their energy drain is proportional to the length and intensity of their workout. I don't like to eat before a workout either. And It has never affected me negatively unless its a long or super intense workout. Most of my workouts are pretty intense, but usually last no more than thirty minutes or less, so I make it through them feeling fine. But if I plan on going longer, then I'll need some extra fuel. If I plan on going long, I usually eat light, about an hour before the workout, things like oranges, maybe an apple. Seems like I can eat all the oranges I want and never feel bloated or full. I'm sure everyone is somewhat different in their energy needs. From your comments, it doesn't sound like you're running out of energy during your workouts, but are more concerned about the negative effects of not eating before. Through my experience, I have always put a greater emphasis on what I ate after the workout. Just my personal take though. Others on the message board can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's much you can do to affect the amount of muscle mass you lose or gain by eating just before a workout. I think that is determined by what you ate many hours, maybe even a full day before the workout.
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Old 07-27-2007, 04:22 PM   #5
Garrett Smith
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I never eat before my morning workouts. I typically don't eat for 3-5 hours after that.

Many of those who do IF, as I do, have no issues with exercising intensely on an empty stomach. Most find that they highly prefer working out on an empty stomach.

I believe that working out on an empty stomach is "more natural"--ie. hunger would be the impetus to go on a hunt. Also, eating diverts blood flow to the gastrointestinal system as well as makes one heavier--two things that are not advantageous to hunting/working out.

Other than long metcon/cardio workouts, one should be able to easily complete a workout on an empty stomach and not "have" to eat immediately after. If one cannot do this, there are likely blood sugar/insulin control issues.

Others are sure to challenge this notion. All I know is that my strength has been continually improving while using this method, while I have not lost any appreciable muscle mass.

(Message edited by guerilastrength on July 27, 2007)
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:10 AM   #6
William Hunter
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I also have been following the IF protocol for the last 4-5 months and have been working out usually 16-18 hours after my last meal. I usually break my fast 1-2 hours following my WO. Took about a week to transition to this. My WO's have varied from short CF metcons, low-rep strength work, to 6 mile mountain trail runs - all without compromising performance. It's probably not for everyone but it's been great for me.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:55 AM   #7
Cal Jones
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Horses for courses. I always work out on an empty stomach, else my previous meal comes back to say hello. I rarely have any energy issues.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:10 PM   #8
John Maloney
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thx for the comments.

Yeah, mostly just wondering why I read & hear "never work out on an empty stomach." I was thinking it might be a muscle-cannibalization issue. Sounds like most people like me prefer to w/o on an empty stomach. Cool.

Sry ...IF ? I have no idea what this is.
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:59 PM   #9
Scott Parker
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sometimes i am actually eating in the car on my way to crossfit! hehe. i know this isnt the best thing to do, and i know all the reasons why regarding digestion and the increase in blood flow, blah, blah blah, but if i don't eat before my workout i feel like i bonk more easily. this is just me. since starting crossfit in 2002 i have experimented with eating before a workout, not eating before a workout and for my body it seems like the best window is one hour before. cutting it closer is probably asking for trouble. (just the other week our WOD called for 5 rounds and part of each round was a 400m run - i had just eaten 2 tins of sardines and some chocolate milk before the WOD, and it was over 100 degrees out! hehe!). my point is do whats best for you and what you feel is right. experiment with eating at different times and using different foods. yes, it is probably optimal to eat within 30 of finishing your WOD, but if you force yourself to eat and end up puking, what good is that going to do you? plus you can screw up tour electrolyte balance, dehydrate yourself, etc. thats not fun either. i usually do something palateble post workout like chocolate milk (minus the sardines!) or a protein shake with isopure, frozen berries, couple tablespoons of olive oil and water or milk. (i am trying to gain weight).
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:01 PM   #10
Steve Liberati
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H2O and expresso pre-workout...solid paleo food of protein and carbs post-workout. Using this formula for last the 2 yrs or so and its been working great.
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