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


I use to eat breakfast for the first 40+ years of my life. If I didn’t eat in the morning, my memory would be gone… I’d have a hard time recalling anything. So when I first heard about IF, and then EF, I thought “that’s insane!”.

I started keto first, then added in IF. I started working out regularly March 2020, around the time of the initial lockdowns. Since I now was in more control of my schedule, no more flying around seeing customers, I was able to get into a routine. So I’d skip breakfast, work out fasted, then usually have my first meal sometime after noon.

According to Thomas DeLauer, protein synthesis reaches it’s peak about 24 hours after the workout, so there isn’t a need to eat something immediately after a lifting. He cited a study a few times but I didn’t right down where this came from.

(Joey) #22

As you’ve heard from many others, “skipping” breakfast (and working out in the morning) is both common and comfortable for a lot of folks (myself included).

Give it a try and see what happens in your own situation. Worst that can happen is that it doesn’t feel right and you try other scheduling ideas.

(David Cooke) #23

Anecdotal: I had many different kinds of people working for me in construction. Generally those that weren’t eating breakfast (apart from a few beers…) were pretty useless until they had eaten. I introduced a 9am 15 minutes sandwich break (alternative: carry on working). BIG difference.
Accident statistics bear me out.


Meanwhile many of us are pretty useless with breakfast. It caused serious focus problems in school for me around 10am. I am completely useless until noon (at least) anyway… Though it’s for my brain, I still can do simple physical things (I totally avoid workouts in an early hour too but I probably could do them if I had the mood) but I definitely has zero mood to work, my still kinda sleeping brain affects so many thing.

It’s possible most people need breakfast, I don’t know. I always hated it as it only caused problems for me. It’s so very strong that I still feel midly traumatized due to the breakfasts in my childhood (except the huge ones I ate after some exercise at 11pm in summer) and nothing ever could persuade me morning breakfast isn’t an epically horrible idea for me and the likes of me, no matter how rare or common we are. But I’ve heard plenty of people who always threw up after a breakfast so it can’t be super rare.

Timing is important though. My SO has a very very light physical work starting at 6am. No way he could eat at 5am at home, it’s too early for him. So he is eating at 6am while standing and working in dirty gloves. Not ideal but the best option by far, he needs his breakfast and he needs it that time. There is a break at 9am but it’s completely useless for him, not the right time at all.
Being hungry doesn’t affect his work anyway. He did light physical work while starving for 6 weeks just fine as well. Heavy physical work is obviously different (when his work includes some heavy lifting occasionally, that doesn’t mix well with a forgotten breakfast, the light work is just fine) but we still have our personal things. I couldn’t have a lifestyle where a breakfast would do any good to me. If I needed 5000 kcal a day, I would eat it in the afternoon and maybe in the evening. One doesn’t need to eat all day to have energy (and I have most energy well-fasted anyway). It’s possible some people do but definitely not all of us.

(Allie) #25

If we go back to school it caused me issues too. I found if I ate breakfast then by mid morning my stomach was growling and gurgling uncomfortably, but if I didn’t, I could happily get through to lunch with no issues, and back then, my diet was predominantly carbs.

(Scott) #26

I was a big breakfast eater. When I was a carb burner I needed a snack or second breakfast at 10:00am. I am now carnivore but still liked to eat breakfast. After creeping up in weight I needed a change so I gave up breakfast and quickly lost 5 pounds. Been sick last four days (covid?) So my research will continue after I heal. So far I like it!

(Robin) #27

Never desired breakfast and went without most of my adult like. Unless… someone cooked breakfast for me or we went out to eat. Then I am all about breakfast. Same same on keto. Now that I think about it, many of my keto successes can be attributed to being lazy.

Lazy: The new Super Power.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #28

Maybe I’m an oddball - or :unicorn: - but I always drink breakfast. When my work shift is such that my mid-shift meal break is not until early to mid-afternoon, I will additionally eat something like double cream or crème fraîche and bacon bits. I do overnight 12+ hour IF 3-4 nights per week, depending on my work shifts. I prefer to get most of my eating finished early in the day. ‘Supper’ is generally not my biggest meal. So I’m not a former breakfast eater - I’m still current - and don’t do early morning workouts. For what it’s worth.


Same except the growling/gurgling, I merely was starved and can’t focus well…

Later I tried very low-carb breakfasts, they are the same. But tiny first meals (i.e. way less than my daily energy need, like 1000 kcal) tend to make me hungry soon (or can’t even satiate me the first place) anyway, no matter the food or time. And I can’t finish my day more than 8 hours before my bedtime (I get hungry even if I ate enough on that day) so breakfast doesn’t really have a valid chance even if I had no problem with it…
(I just decided I definitely won’t eat until 4-5pm if I can do it… I just overeat otherwise. Much, much time to do my workout before :D)

It’s very useful. It’s a positive treat of programmers, for example… A too diligent one maybe would waste time and make things redundant and more error prone… A lazy one may find a simple solution if that exists, reuse code and whatnot…
And it can be used for zillion other things. Laziness has its perks (and disadvantages. Sigh.)

Oh, many people do as I’ve heard. You ents are free to do it, I am a hobbit (except I have zero breakfast, not 2), I need to chew my food even if I get plenty of energy from a drink! :smiley: I would sooooo miss solid food. And anyway, I suspect drank calories aren’t so satiating. I can’t test it as I don’t want to drink very many calories but when I drink a lot of eggs and whatnot, I tend to eat more. I already know added fat isn’t satiating for me…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #30

I think you may have assumed incorrectly. You did not hit the link I provided. So I must conclude you don’t know what I’m drinking for breakfast, and it’s probably not what you guess. In fact, it’s keto coffee. I’ve loved coffee for decades and when I started keto, I decided to make a real meal out of it without feeling ‘full, heavy and sluggish’. As for satiety, I generally finish my keto coffee around 06:00 and I’m good until early afternoon. My job demands lots of physical and emotional energy and I have lots of both. Some days when my mid-shift meal break doesn’t occur until mid-afternoon, I will add more. But generally, my keto coffee gets me through noon very well indeed.

(Robin) #31

Oh, Shinita! i just audibly gasped at your response to Michael…. “You are an Ent, I am a Hobbit.” Absolutely made my day.

The house we just moved into is surrounded by Ents. I swear I can hear them deeply and slowly rumbling at night. I sleep better knowing that.


I didn’t care about what you drink in my comment at all (but I have read about it earlier multiple times, it just wasn’t important there)… I talked about drinking calories, many people do it with BP coffee and even those aren’t all the same, probably. Okay, maybe I still used the info that you drink coffee with calories just like so many people… I understand the problem even less then.
I avoid added fat myself and never could drink a meal, we are two different kinds of people, sure.

Each to their own. I probably wouldn’t last until noon with any kind of breakfast but without a breakfast, 3pm was easy even on carbier diets (I mean, not getting really hungry until then. I ate before that time quite a few times, being me).


This is one of the reasons why folks primarily motivated by muscle hypertrophy don’t advocate any type of fasting, i.e. you’re potentially missing out on ‘gainz’ if you don’t appropriately fuel during that period.

Regarding MPS, research also shows that for less trained individuals that window may increase and be closer to 36 hours or more. While more mature athletes can return to baseline much quicker.

Another confounding factor is that folks often point to protein timing studies, which suggest having some form of protein within a certain window is optimum for hypertrophic response. However, the main sticking point with such research is that often the findings are based on bolus doses of whey (not real food).

In short, most folks end up trying some form of IF because they want to lose fat. If that is your priority then, in my experience, IF is a great tool to use without the consequence of losing muscle.

Personally, with the routine the OP has outlined (training first thing in the morning), I would consider:

  1. Moving the eating window forward, say 7am to 3pm, or;
  2. Incorporate a 12 hour fast within the day, i.e. one meal at 7am and the second at 7pm. And provided we are talking red fatty meat here, protein timing issues would not be a concern.

(Allie) #34

My body won’t let me fast at all since my main goal has shifted to hypertrophy. I used to effortlessly go without food from 1pm right through to about 6am and that fit really well with me as I always train evenings and don’t like eating too close before. But now, by the time I get out of work I’m really hungry again so end up having to eat when I’d rather not, this new muscle I have is demanding :rofl:

(Traci Simpson) #35

I work out early (before 0600) so I never eat before I work out. I’ve been reading a lot about our circadian rhythm and eating about 30 minutes after sunrise and before sunset. There seems to be a lot of benefits from this, especially if you are leptin resistant, however, I have an issue with eating if not hungry. I would have to speed home from work and have everything ready and finished before sunset which is around 5:45pm. That’s not always possible!


I work out fasted Monday mornings- in fact I’m waiting for my trainer right now, 45 min of boxing pad work and resistance. Since doing IF and Keto ( I had a two week break when I got started due to an old knee injury) I can safely say I am more energised and my trainer has noticed a marked difference in me.
I do miss breakfast! So I have a smaller modified version to break my fast (18:6 usually today is 20:4)

(Bob M) #37

I actually think what happens is that missing breakfast for some is natural. For me, while it took me a while to miss breakfast and I did it to see if I could actually fast. That was years ago. Now, I’m not hungry in the morning. This morning is typical: I worked out in the morning, about 6-7:10 am, then ate around 10am. I wasn’t hungry until then.

For me, I’d love to move my eating earlier. But tonight is an example: I don’t get home until after 7 pm, so I’ll be eating 7:30pm to 8pm or later. And it’s like that every day. The earliest I can eat ends at about 7pm. That’s the earliest.

I guess I could bring both lunch and dinner to work, but then I wouldn’t eat anything with the family. While I don’t mind doing that every once in a while, say if fasting 4.5 days, I think eating with the family is important. I try not to miss it.

All of those are good ideas, just a bit tough to implement for some of us.