You might think skipping breakfast is the perfect way to start the day. After all, if you are trying to cut calories, then isn’t breakfast the easiest meal to cut down on calories and lose weight?
In actual fact, skipping breakfast deliberately to lose weight (called "fasting"), could be one of the most detrimental things you can do to help you lose weight and keep it off. Studies in the US have proven that when you skip breakfast, your rate of burning calories (your metabolism) slows right down.
You see, when we rest for many hours at night, the body naturally lowers its metabolism. The body then needs ‘food’ to kick-start its engine again to help you burn calories. What counts is when you to eat your food! One of the best times for this food is in the morning when the body is at its most responsive to taking on fuel to kick-start your fat burning motor into action!
Deliberately Fasting Can Cause You To Eat MORE
Another problem with skipping breakfast is you are more likely to overeat during the day in compensation for your low blood sugar levels early on. When you feel this hungry, you’ll be forced to eat or you’ll eventually feel faint and weak, with an associated dip in mood – commonly during mid morning.
When you crave food in this manner, research shows you are more likely to choose sugary, fatty foods to quickly reverse your energy dip and low mood. Although the energy dip is short lived due to you ‘eating sugar’, the extra sugar that can’t be used by your cells for energy, quickly gets converted and stored as fat. Fat piles on!
Cycling On Empty Causes Huge Stress
On the contrary, you may have read that skipping breakfast and cycling on an empty stomach is a good way to increase fat burning. Fasting isn't the way to burn body fat simply because of the following fundamental scientific truth:
"Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame"...! I won't go into big details, but just know one thing: you need to eat carbs to burn body fat!
...when you fast before training in an attempt to burn fat: ALL you are doing is depleting your body causing it to work against you instead of FOR you.
Sounds stressful does it not?...
The problems associated with cycle training on an empty stomach far outweigh its benefits. Let's see further what happens if we fast and ride. Instead of successfully burning body fat, it does the following:
1. Serious Glycogen Depletion: For a start, you are beginning a ride on near glycogen muscle depletion. Not long into the ride and you’ll be slowing down uncomfortably due to low energy supply to those muscles. Lower energy supply means less calories being burned!
Continue cycling on depleted muscles and you risk ‘hitting the wall’ and running completely out of energy. Your training will basically become ineffective and you’ll have wasted your time.
2. Damaging Muscles - Longer Recovery. Another problem associated with training on an empty stomach and skipping breakfast, is it can damage muscles. In other words, energy stores which are depleted can result in cells and muscle tissue being damaged and the immune system being impaired. Recovery then becomes longer due to the repairing of damaged muscle.
3. Increased Cravings. Moreover, ‘training on empty’ sets yourself up to fight your body’s cravings during the day. As we mentioned above, because you’ve exercised when already low on glycogen, your body is put into almost ‘starvation mode’ after a ride and will do everything it can to compensate – screaming out for food. The question again is, do you really want to put your body through this stress?
4. Slowing down of the metabolism. As I mentioned above you need carbs to burn fat effectively during a workout. Just like a fire: you need logs (fuel) to help the fire burn! Without the logs, the fire dwindles in strength and eventually goes out. Your metabolism works similar. And when the metabolism dwindles, so does your energies, mood and preferred fuel switches to... muscle - uh oh!.
This is WHY it is so important to EAT before you work out, to help rev your metabolism, preserve lean muscle and burn more calories during your workout!
The Best Way to Lose Weight And Burn BodyFat
Basically, the most effective way to shift weight is to eat well in the morning, then eat less as the day progresses. That having been said, make sure you eat well before, during and after all workouts. Only then start to reduce your calorie intake near the end of the day!
A Word On Early Morning Bike Commuting:
Of course, it is slightly harder if you have early mornings with no time to eat. You can still work with the basic principles of eating during your rides and post workout nutrition. Then have a decent lunch, then start to taper down in calories for the rest of the day - remembering to eat enough to supply you energy to get home in the evening!
What Is An Example Of A Good Breakfast:
Start with a wholesome breakfast: The best thing you can do from today is eat a good wholesome breakfast to start your day. You are looking for foods that will both fuel your body, nourish it properly, AND sustain your energies for your cycling.
If you feel a small dip mid morning, simply reach for an apple. The fiber in an apple should fill you up long enough to get to lunch. Apples are also low in calories and highly nutritious.
On days you are not working out: remember to still eat your breakfast to kick start your metabolism to burn fat. The body needs food for recovery and to stock up energy for the next workout, so eat wholesomely.
If you don’t feel like porridge, then eat a low fat yoghurt with some fruit, or non-sweetened muesli with a high protein yoghurt makes an excellent alternative. Again, remember to hydrate well, as much daily tiredness can be due to dehydration.
In summary, remember there is an easier way to lose body fat with longer lasting results than painfully skipping breakfast: just eat your breakfast to get your body to work for you, not against you. Eat wholesomely in the mornings to kick off the day with full energy, to counter cravings, burn more calories during bike workouts and set you up for long lasting, permanent weight loss!
If you enjoyed this post as much as I wrote it, then please comment below. I'd love to hear your point of view or question...each one will be answered! And remember to share this post...