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Runs Before Breakfast: Yes or No?
The idea of running on an empty stomach is one that can be daunting. It seems (at least at first glance) counter-intuitive to perform an energetic activity without… well… energy.

However, there are a few reasons why people may prefer to run before breakfast. Firstly, it is easy to fit into your morning routine.

It can be your first activity of the day, before you even shower or get dressed, meaning you can practically roll out of bed and into your running shoes. Whereas, if you try and do it later, you may end up dilly-dallying a little more, or even worse, not getting around to it.

Secondly, some people feel like a 15 minute run in the morning will wake them up and keep them sprightly throughout the day. There is a good reason for this! Running releases endorphins and adrenaline into your bloodstream, giving you an almost natural “high”.

When you’ve just woken up as well, provided you slept well, you haven’t already been exhausted by the day.

Third, you will really feel as though you have earned your breakfast! It cannot be denied that there is a certain pride in completing a run in the morning. It will give you a boost of confidence, make you feel more productive, and fill you with the sense that you can achieve anything.

That feeling of pride alone is enough reason to run in the mornings!

The Big Myth about the pre-breakfast run
Of course, as with every other fitness topic out there, there are about as many opinions as there are bloggers. Some of those opinions are not based on science, however, and they have perpetuated false information.

Will you lose your muscles?
One of the big, wrong assumptions, about exercising on an empty stomach, is that you will waste away and lose all of your hard-earned muscles. This belief comes from the idea that in order to respire and produce energy while running, you need carbohydrates and sugar.

Without these edible consumables, you will only end up breaking down your muscles and using the energy from them to run.

This isn’t quite right! Your body has stores of glycogen that live in your liver, and yes, in your muscles too. While you are asleep, you do break down the liver glycogen, which means your body obtains energy from the muscle glycogen, when you start to run.

Once you run out of muscle glycogen, your body will turn to free fatty acids. It is only after that point, you’ll start to break down muscle proteins. However, it is unlikely that you’d get that far at all.

This is because glycogen depletion doesn’t feel great: it’s accompanied by a sense of overwhelming fatigue, and it would go against most peoples’ instincts to carry on past that point!

All in all
Obviously, you don’t want to start running marathons before you’ve even had a bite to eat, but there is definitely no problem with starting your day with a low-intensity run, no longer than one hour. It is important that you watch your hydration levels since sleeping depletes your fluid supplies, so remember to drink water before you set off.

You should also make sure that you use your body’s anabolic window: the period of time after your workout, during which your body is more receptive to nutrients. It’s a great time to have your breakfast and nutrition supplements to replenish your empty stores and continue with your day.

Happy running!

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