Morning Workout Fuel - Sunflower Energy Bites

Anna is a self-proclaimed lover of all things health and wellness. Though she currently works as a cardiology research program coordinator, she has big dreams for a career in nutrition and public health, and is working on obtaining her NASM personal trainer certification. Her passion for health, food, and fitness is unmatched, and she loves connecting with others in the wellness community!

How many times have we almost missed an early morning workout? Just five more minutes. Hit the snooze button, just do it. Dragging yourself out of bed is hard enough, so how the heck do we figure out how to make time to get up, get ready, and get some food in our systems before rushing out the door?  

While most agree on the benefits of exercising first thing in the morning, pre-workout nutrition at an early hour still remains a convoluted mystery. Recent studies have shown that fasting before a morning workout can produce more favorable changes in adipose tissue and lead to greater fat loss. But, are we really able to push ourselves on an empty stomach? Food is a source of fuel, and without proper fuel for the body, exercise can lead to muscle breakdown. This is particularly important to remember prior to any form of strength training. As Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD explains, exercising on an empty stomach can cause muscle tissue to be converted into glucose and used as the body’s energy source if there is no other available fuel in the body. This can negatively impact metabolism and even create a higher risk of injury. So, what do we do? As always, there is no easy answer.

A general rule of thumb is to always eat at least a little something before strength training; whereas with cardio, you are free to DO YOU (fasted cardio, anyone?). The best thing you can do is to follow what feels right for you. You know your body better than anyone else, so listen to it. When my first alarm goes off at 4:30 AM (yikes), I know I have little time to mess around; but fueling my body before a workout is a must. If I don’t eat and hydrate properly, I can’t push myself. If you’re like me and you need a little something to kick start your early morning, heart-pumping sweat sesh, try these sunflower bliss energy bites as a yummy, make in advance, grab-and-go pre-workout treat.

Sunflower Energy Bites Recipe

Ingredients:
2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
3 pitted/softened dates
3 brazil nuts
1 tbsp. Navita's Organics cacao nibs
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tbsp. SunButter sunflower seed butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse, and roll into balls. Makes 6-8 balls.

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Jessica Baumgardner