Former Breakfast Eaters: experiences of 16:8 fasting + early morning workouts?


I had always (perhaps ignorantly) assumed IF was basically incompatible with my ideal routine of early morning workouts, but have been curious to discover the LeanGains protocol and read more about how IF can complement strength training.

I am thinking about trying out skipping breakfast. (Yes, this is a new and scary idea for me!) My primary motivation is that it would just be so much more convenient with my workday routine. Obviously any extra fat loss or health benefits are a major, enticing bonus. I like to start work early and packing/prepping both breakfast and lunch to take to the office becomes quite the production. I arrive at my desk like a bag lady with a million Tupperware containers and if I am disorganised one day and forget, it becomes a real mission to find something appropriate to eat - and interrupts the most productive part of my day. If I could make it to 12pm with just black coffee, life would be so much simpler!

I would plan to do 3 meals between 12 and 8pm - lunch, a substantial afternoon snack and dinner. The workout is 5.30am, 45mins mixed strength/circuit training 4 days a week.

However I do have the lingering idea that perhaps it’s somehow harmful not to “refuel” straight after a workout. I am wondering if anyone else has experience of waiting a long time to eat after a workout, and how it went for you…? Has there been any research on this topic that can put my mind at ease? Any former Breakfast Lovers who have been converted to IF??

(Robin) #2

I don’t know about any research, but I never eat before lunch and workout late, with no food for the rest of the day. It works for me… maybe because it has to, ya know? it’s how I roll, so my body decided to adjust.

(Traci Simpson) #3

I always work out fasted. I do it in the early mornings and usually don’t eat for about 2-4 hours after. I feel fine just having water until it’s time to eat and some days I have a coffee after my workout until I eat. Most days, my breakfast isn’t until after 1130. Some days it will be around 2:00.

(Butter Withaspoon) #4

Working out fasted takes some time to adapt but I found it worthwhile in the long term. Ease off the intensity as you get used to it, and there’s no problem having a post/during workout snack in your pocket “just in case”. Eventually you won’t need it.

I adapted to going for a run fasted in the morning before I did anything else to work on insulin and fat adaptation. It’s so interesting to look back now on the food cravings, the crashes in energy, the breakfast dreams while out on my run. I took my time with it because I wanted to achieve it as a running goal. Later when I experimented with carb reduction, a lot of the adaptation was already done.

Have a go and good luck.

(David Cooke) #5

As far as I know it is advised to consume fat + protein within an hour or two of finishing a workout.
Coffee. Run. Eat.

(Bob M) #6

I’m the same way. I usually work out from 6am-7:xx am, then eat around 10am. Sometimes earlier by 15-30 minutes, sometimes later by 30min - 1 hour.

I generally have a coffee with a slight amount of cream before/during my work out (I have a home “gym”), then a Pu-Erh tea afterwards. That’s the extent of my coffee/tea drinking per day.

When I’m fasting 36 hours, I sometimes align the fast so that I workout at about 32 hour mark. Those are often my best workouts.

On the days I do not exercise, I generally eat around the same time for “breakfast”.

This is something that has developed over time. I’m also busy in the morning, getting my daughter to school, going to work, etc. But even on days off, I don’t eat until I’m hungry, which often isn’t until 10-11am.

You can find loads of “studies” or blogs or posts saying this is not an ideal eating schedule for exercise. But I really haven’t cared about that. I’m no longer trying to maximize muscle gains. Heck, when I first started LC/keto, I was drinking protein before then eating immediately after my workouts. I’m now much stronger than I was then.


I am no former breakfast eater (well I had to as a kid and hated it) but I always ate soon after my workouts until not so long ago. I was hungry. I always did all strenuous activity well-fasted as I only had the energy and mood for it at that time (this changed lately but I still prefer it that way). Lifting in the 18th hour in my fast? Perfect (as long as it’s not morning when I am either asleep or in a miserable zombie state with super low energy). But I had to eat in 1 hour or something. I could put my workout just before my normal mealtime but I noticed that the urge to eat was stronger with workout (but it’s normal for me to get unusually hungry if I do any activity right before I normally get hungry. even walking does it and walking normally has no such effect at all. I wonder what would have happened with a morning or evening workout… but I couldn’t do those).

I changed. Well part of it that I eat later while my workout stayed at place or I start earlier to ensure I will finish it (it’s not that trivial to me to fit my whole full body workout into 1-2 hours, I get distracted in the breaks)… And I noticed I stopped getting hungry after my workout, I usually feel the need for food in the late hours of the afternoon, no matter if I started my workout at 10am or walked or did no activity. So I can finish my workout and stay satiated for hours more just fine. I guess my body knows what it does and wants, it’s quite communicative so I don’t worry about it. But I wouldn’t like to fast too long after my workouts, it just doesn’t sound ideal… And I don’t like eating very little on my workout days. But I eat as much as my body and mind wants (on a good woe they can agree on something). I usually eat well so I get stronger and stronger :slight_smile: My weights started to get bigger way more quickly than before for some reason, I am happy with what I have now.

(Allie) #8

The timing issue has been debunked, as long as enough protein is being consumed at some point in the day.

(David Cooke) #9

Ah. No, you’ll have to quote references. I never saw anything to the contrary.

(Allie) #10

I have to do nothing, you’re welcome to search them yourself, I have faith in my sources and the circles I move in have long since thrown this into the muscle building myth basket.


Definitely no breakfast for me before running, whether its short and hard or long and slow. I refuel at lunchtime, not before, unless I’m hungry.

(GINA ) #12

I workout on a similar schedule. I feel fine and make appropriate improvements not eating until lunch.

If I am hungry, I eat something about 10:00, but it isn’t a production. Just a cheese stick, boiled egg, small package of nuts, low sugar yogurt, or something like that.

Do you have the ability to leave food at work? I don’t like packing everything every day either, especially if I go to the gym before work. You are right about feeling like a bag lady. I can leave a lot in my office, so I don’t even pack a lunch every day.

(Edith) #13

You may find this article useful.


This one is a little more recent.

(Robin) #14

You are always so good at having the right info on hand! I can’t even find my glasses.


Thanks everyone - this is lots of useful food for thought. I am reading and considering it all.


We all eat breakfast. It’s when we eat it that seems to be the question. I’ve been on NOFUN = No food until noon for 2 years. It works fine.

I will eat a morning breakfast for social or family reasons, or if I’m hungry. But these are rare occasions.

There is a dark side. Black coffee, an addiction, however, starts my day.

(David Cooke) #17

Thank you so much.

(David Cooke) #18
was interesting.



AHAHAHAHAHAHA, I started lifting in the 90’s! Dammit we were stupid! There’s some meatheads in my gym NOW that literally bring blenders and plug them in in the locker room to make shakes, it’s great!


I just think about animals and evolution and my logic and it just makes no sense. I mean, I can’t possibly know what is IDEAL… But eating later seems good enough to me. Normal people shouldn’t stress too much about those things if circumstances keep them to eat that quickly… At least I think so. I try to avoid fasting for a long time after my workout but a few hours if that happens? So be it.

I have nothing against people who immediately eat after their workout “just in case”. It can’t hurt, I suppose :slight_smile: