Breakfast without breaking my fast?
January 21, 2020 11:59 AM   Subscribe

I’m doing a CrossFit boot camp in the mornings after a loooong period of inactivity. It’s going well, I go very early morning and on a fasting stomach, but last two times I’ve gotten dizzy and weak at the end. I think I need to fuel the machine.

My understanding is that fasting workout encourages weight loss and is better for your blood sugars (or whatever, my doctor was threatening to say I was prediabetic). I don’t usually eat breakfast, I find it hard to eat in the morning and hard to prepare things at any time. My diet is reasonably balanced otherwise but I tend to snack on sweets.

Of the things I can push in my face with no prep, in the hour before my workout starts, which is least likely to distract from the fasting benefits (or add too much calories) and when should I eat it?

To be clear, we are talking a one-move eating, an amount of food transferred from hand to gob. Examples of things I could imagine: like a spoonful of peanut butter, a “gel” (?!), a boiled egg, a small juice or probiotic yoghurt shot, a protein/muesli bar or raw-ball or something I guess, some dates or Brazil-nuts, possibly cocoa powdered ones, mmm, a couple ritz crackers. I can say in advance that I will not be eating or preparing, fruit, veg, porridge, pudding, smoothies, etc.
posted by Iteki to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Good call on eating! It's a little unorthodox but when I was trying to stave off the dizzies induced by HIIT/crossfit type training, I loved being able to treat myself to one or two fun size Snickers bars about 10 mins before class - 80 cals a pop, decent amount of sugar and a little bit of fat and protein to back it up with.
posted by miratime at 12:04 PM on January 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Have you by any chance been keeping track of the water you drink those mornings? I recently started doing the same thing as you and quickly discovered that if I was sure to drink water as soon as I wake up -- despite not actually feeling thirsty or necessarily wanting to drink -- and making sure I get about 8-16 ounces in before working out, then I avoid that dizzy/weak feeling altogether.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:20 PM on January 21, 2020 [8 favorites]

Working out fasted works for me as long as I get enough electrolytes. Something very small with sugar (like a gel or a caramel) also helps half way through my workout. Nothing heavy, but a burst of blood sugar that isn't hard to digest. Eating protein or something that is slow digesting doesn't work for me. I need electrolytes and an easy to digest sugar. Longer digesting foods are for recovery.
posted by quince at 12:29 PM on January 21, 2020

Best answer: To answer directly, if you're getting dizzy due to the fast, and unable to finish the workout at full intensity, you've already lost the "benefit" of a fasting workout. The old standby, a banana, is probably your best bet - good macro profile, digestively "neutral" (if that's a thing) vs. a bar or something.

That said, Blahlala's advice of water is spot-on. I drink about 16oz with my morning meds, then a good ten gulps as I head on to the pool deck. I hit another 8oz about every fifteen minutes (it's that, or bonk hard at the 1-hour mark).

Back to the food thing. I have a banana as I head out the door. If I forget (routines are hard to follow at 0450), or we're out of bananas, I am spent at 1:25, no matter the intensity. Used to be I'd knock off a Clif bar on the drive to the pool, but I could feel that slosh around on my first set.
posted by notsnot at 12:34 PM on January 21, 2020 [12 favorites]

I second the water with electrolytes answer. I like LyteShow, because I think it's convenient, but any electrolyte tables will work. If you get ones that aren't also sweetened, the don't have any effect on the fast.
posted by mercredi at 12:46 PM on January 21, 2020

Lately I've just been adding a scoop of BCAA or amino powder to the water bottle I bring with me to the gym in the morning and I've definitely noticed a difference in my pre-breakfast workout stamina levels. Whether this is because of the increased hydration (I definitely drink more water when it's flavored) or the added electrolytes, I couldn't say. Probably both?

If it's available where you are, my current favorite is Ghost Legend—it tastes like cherry limeade and has some caffeine and taurine in it in addition to other electrolytes and is only 5 kcals per scoop.
posted by helloimjennsco at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2020

One of my former roommates would eat a spoonful of peanut butter on her way to the gym in the morning.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 1:46 PM on January 21, 2020

one of the ideas of keto is that a "fasted state" is when your body has burned up all it's available carbohydrates and therefore turns to burning stored fat for fuel.

my understanding is that if you wanted to extend your fasted state past your morning workout, you should eat something that contains almost no carbs, or you will be kicked out of the fasted state.

I used to get super gassed on my 9km bike ride in the morning while doing keto, so I added some morning calories - I usually ate a hardboiled egg, a spoon of peanut butter, or sometimes a couple small spoons of cottage cheese, and coffee with cream?
posted by euphoria066 at 2:07 PM on January 21, 2020

I am not a doctor (and I'm certainly not your doctor), but you probably just need some more salt to get you through the fast. Add some salt and lime juice to water the night before, or add a little table salt to your coffee. You'll feel a lot better and it won't break your fast.
posted by sportbucket at 4:12 PM on January 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Coming in with a follow up. Thanks for all the varied advice, I tried various ones of them and landed finally with notsnots very good point of possibly minimal benefit of fasting workout being heavily diminished by me not being able to rock the workout as fully. So, water and a little probiotic yoghurt shot with my meds, a cracker with some pb or honey for the sake of it, out the door and eat a banana in the changing room. But i also want to add for future mediates looking, or me if I forget, the actual main culprit was holding my breath!! A coach noticed I just don’t breath for reps at a time, so that’s my main focus now, along with taking my asthma medicine before the workout (yeah, I know...). Getting enough sleep is also really relevant as well as the night before’s meal timing and content. So a Monday morning after maybe having eaten at six-thirty and dawdling online till after 1am before a 6.30 am workout... bound to feel fainty.
posted by Iteki at 5:29 AM on June 7, 2020

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