Two years ago I tried something truly life-changing. I skipped breakfast and did a morning workout!
Some of you may not be impressed, but I come from a long history of eating first thing in the morning. As far back as I can remember, I woke up and ate. Childhood mornings centered around cold cereal, oatmeal, waffles, bagels, pastries, or pop-tarts. Later in life, I graduated to vegetable-based sausage patties with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Those rare mornings, I didn’t immediately eat, I felt hungry. My stomach gently gurgled and felt empty. “Hurry, fill the hole!” is what I heard my belly say. “Don’t go for a run, you’ll collapse in the street!” Eventually, I’d cave; obediently reach for the peanut butter and commenced with filling the hole.
It took some experimenting to get both the timing and type of food tuned just enough to avoid indigestion during workouts. I had to wait 30 minutes and gently warm up to avoid uncomfortable sloshing. I avoided milk, meat, and certain fruits – anything I thought would be difficult or time-consuming to digest. If I got the formula wrong, workouts became a struggle, and at times, were cut short. It was a challenge. But what choice did I have? My body needed fuel. My stomach and mind couldn’t be wrong, could they?
Just Don’t Eat
The fasting lifestyle began when my wife and I took a trip to New York. My wife had been contemplating fasting. Our hotel didn’t offer free breakfast and we were excited to see the city, so she decided she wasn’t going to eat until lunch. I jumped on the bandwagon.
Walking around New York for the first time, I was distracted. I noticed my hunger, but it became background noise that I could ignore. Around noon or so, we decided to find a place to eat. At that point, the background noise grew louder. Hunger had arrived. We stumbled upon a hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant and ordered heaping plates of Chicken Tandori. Food tastes amazing after a fast!
A few days after our New York trip, we wanted to do the Incline – a 2,744 step staircase that starts at 6,500 feet and climbs to about 8,500 feet in just under a mile. We’d done the Incline a few times before, each time eating beforehand. After our success in New York, we decided to roll the dice and attempt the Incline fasted.
After completing the climb and descent, we looked at each other stunned. Lo and behold, we survived! In fact, we felt great! No indigestion. Our bellies felt awesomely empty! Never before had we felt this great during a workout.
We felt strong throughout the climb. In fact, our times were as good as any we’d posted in the past! Where did our bodies find the energy to perform at such a high level without a recent injection of fuel? We were sold. Morning workouts have been done fasted ever since.
Some days we push ourselves further. Every Tuesday evening I play basketball. I finish my last meal around 5 pm, ball between 6 and 8 pm, workout the next morning, and skip right through to 9 am before I tear into breakfast. Last Wednesday, I went an additional 4 hours and didn’t eat until 1 pm. I felt fantastic! The human body is amazing!