T Nation

Exercising Before Meals

Hey all,

I’m a longtime T Nation lurker, and I’ve got a question I couldn’t seem to find an answer for in the search:

We all know the value of post-workout nutrition, and the myriad of ways a tough workout allows food consumed in the next several hours afterword to be put to exceptional use. More of what we take in is put towards the muscles, and less is set aside for fat storage.

My question then is that if one works out at home and has the impetus, would working out before the majority of meals be a practical way to lose body fat (or maintain), while at least maintaining lean mass? These pre-meal work outs would be done in addition to a 3 or 4 day strength routine (5/3/1 for example).

I should clarify what I mean by a work out. What I’m not talking about is a balls to the walls session. Nowhere near a max, and a very moderate volume. I’m talking about a full body, circuit-style workout that takes no longer than 10-15 minutes. For example:

(Done as a circuit)
3x10 KB Swings
3x5 Pullups
3x5 Pushups
3x5 Walking Lunges

So what do you guys think? Would the added volume become too much of a hindrance to recovery for the main sessions? Could that low volume, low intensity kind of workout even elicit the physiological response that would make it purposeful? I realize the answers to these questions will not be cut and dry, but I’m curious to see what some of the more experienced members on here think. Thanks in advance!

Eating less is the practical way of losing body fat.

Im too old to separate the atom. I already know that I have to eat at least 2 hours before a session or I’ll be burping some nasty shit. I then do the finibar/plazma/Mag10 pre/during/post. I just eat normally the rest of the day. Besides, you have to eat sometimes.

As for the rest of your question, it’s subjective. If you are going for neural charge training (for the low volume, low intensity), then I suggest you read CT’s article and slew of video’s.

If you are just trying to loose weight, post your stats, your diet and your program. You will get a better response.

[quote]JFG wrote:
Eating less is the practical way of losing body fat.

Im too old to separate the atom. I already know that I have to eat at least 2 hours before a session or I’ll be burping some nasty shit. I then do the finibar/plazma/Mag10 pre/during/post. I just eat normally the rest of the day. Besides, you have to eat sometimes.

As for the rest of your question, it’s subjective. If you are going for neural charge training (for the low volume, low intensity), then I suggest you read CT’s article and slew of video’s.

If you are just trying to loose weight, post your stats, your diet and your program. You will get a better response.[/quote]

Thanks for the response JFG. The question was more theoretical than personal, but I can see how it didn’t seem that way. Assuming diet is dialed in, and has been made a first priority. What I’m wondering is whether pre-meal workouts could have some positive effect on weight loss (or even lean gains) along with proper diet and a tried and true strength program.

Then, you are going to get as many answers as their are philosophies.

For me, overall diet is more important. I also gauge myself on a weekly/monthly basis as opposed to daily weight fluctuation. But then again, I follow the Finibar, Plazma, MAG-10 protocol… Not as much to loose weight (fat), but recuperation reasons. I also know that no matter how many scoops of Plazma I take, if my overall diet was shit, I would be wasting my time/money.

I don’t really understand what there is to discuss here…

If your calories remain the same and you increase the amount of physical activity that you’re doing to the point that you’re now at a deficit, you will lose weight. How much you lose, whether it affects your strength training, etc is going to depend a lot on the intensity, duration, frequency…doing more work–regardless of whether its fasted circuits in the morning or steady state post workout–will affect weight/body comp in some way if your calories are not changing. One method may work better than another, but you don’t seem to be asking about how different methods compare and, overall, the whole calories in vs out rule applies.

That being said, my personal experience with AM cardio/conditioning is that all it really does is make me even hungrier than usual for even more of the day. I split up cardio and training sometimes during prep so that I didn’t have to be at the gym (for what seemed like) all night and it would be a lot harder to stick to my usual 2-3 small meals during the day and giant PWO meal at night when I did this.