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The Impact of Breakfast on Workout Performance: Does Skipping the Morning Meal Affect Your Gym Results?


Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day. But does skipping breakfast affect afternoon gym performance? A new study explores this question.

Breakfast and workout performance

Study Overview

The study aimed to see if skipping breakfast affects performance during afternoon workouts. The participants were 39 resistance-trained adults aged 18-40. They were split into two groups: those who regularly ate breakfast and those who didn’t. Participants underwent three lab visits: screening and strength testing on the first visit, and workout testing under two conditions on the second and third visits—one where they ate breakfast and one where they did not.

Testing Procedure

Participants completed four sets of squats, bench presses, and deadlifts at 80% of their one-rep max. In the breakfast condition, they consumed 40% of their daily energy intake split between breakfast and lunch. In the no-breakfast condition, they ate the same amount but only at lunch. Performance was measured by repetitions, bar velocity, and subjective feelings of fatigue, energy, focus, hunger, and fullness.


Skipping breakfast did not significantly affect the number of repetitions or bar velocity. There was no difference in performance between regular breakfast eaters and those who usually skipped it. However, participants felt fuller when they skipped breakfast, which was expected given they ate a larger lunch. Men reported more fatigue but higher power output, and they felt hungrier and had a greater desire to eat throughout the session, regardless of whether they ate breakfast or not.

Practical Implications

  • Weight Management: Skipping breakfast can help with weight reduction. Studies show that people who skip breakfast might eat more later but consume fewer calories overall, leading to slight weight loss.

  • Training on an Empty Stomach: It's better not to train hungry. Having something small to eat can help maintain performance. Even a low-energy placebo can curb hunger and improve workout performance.

  • Time-Restricted Feeding: An 8-hour feeding window is a viable option for lifters. As long as you consume enough protein spread across 3-4 meals and train in a fed state, skipping breakfast (or 16:8 fasting) can be effective.

My Thoughts

Whether to eat breakfast or not can become more important as you advance in your fitness journey. As you become more advanced, your caloric requirements are likely to increase, making it more challenging to consume all the necessary calories within a limited time frame. For advanced athletes or those with higher caloric needs, eating breakfast can help spread out calorie intake more manageably throughout the day. This can prevent the discomfort of having to eat large meals later in the day and ensure that you’re fueling your body properly for optimal performance and recovery.


Skipping breakfast doesn't harm afternoon workout performance if you eat enough overall and avoid training on an empty stomach. It can be a useful strategy for weight management and fits well with time-restricted feeding practices. However, as your fitness level and caloric needs increase, incorporating breakfast might become more practical to help meet your daily energy requirements efficiently.

Breakfast and workout performance


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