Sunday, June 28, 2015

Will Skipping Breakfast Affect Your Race Performance?

Picture by Michael Coghlan from Flickr
Since young, I've been told and have also heard and read that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It feels like that to me too. Often I'm starving when I get up and I definitely need to eat soon after I wake up.

Research on eating breakfast is mixed though. Lots of studies show that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to be leaner, although this does not mean eating breakfast makes you lean.

Most studies show that skipping breakfast results in lower overall calorie consumption during the day. This may be because you tend to be less active and burn fewer calories.

What if you skip breakfast on race day then? When we sleep, our brain and other vital organs are using carbohydrate to maintain normal body functions. So if you don't eat breakfast, you're bound to be in deficit.

So how would you perform in an evening race if you didn't eat breakfast?

Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK measured exercise performance of a group of cyclists at 5 pm with or without breakfast. The cyclists had to do 30 mins of steady-state cycling followed by a 30 minute time trial.

The cyclists ate as much as they wanted during lunch after skipping breakfast. They had eaten as much as they wanted during lunch since they skipped breakfast (the cyclists ate 200 calories more compared to when they had breakfast).

Despite eating more during lunch when they skipped breakfast, this wasn't enough to make up the deficit.

Their time trial performance was 4.5 percent worse after skipping breakfast.

So if you want to reduce your daily calorie intake, you can skip breakfast, but if you're competing later (even in the evening) it can impair your performance.


Clayton DJ, Barutcu A et al (2015). Effect Of Breakfast Omission On Energy Intake And Evening Exercise Performance. J Med Sci Sports Ex. DOI: 10.1249?MSS.0000000000000702.

My usual breakfast and lunch sometimes

1 comment:

  1. Very informative. Thanks! Good breakfast, by the way. Definitely something that can help performance.