This morning my alarm went off at 6:15, like it does every morning. Unfortunately I had a HORRIBLE night of sleep so I did what any logical person would do and hit the first button that would make the noise go away.
At 6:30 I scrambled out of bed to prepare for my 7am lift and make breakfast. I was able to throw down about 8oz of milk, a cup of coffee, and a banana with peanut butter on it right before I walked out of the door at 6:50. I can’t overstate the importance of breakfast. It’s by far the most important meal of the day. It breaks an 8 hour (hopefully) fast (hence break…fast). I once heard Alwyn Cosgrove say something like: Doing a workout on an empty stomach is stupid. Doing an Alwyn Cosgrove workout on an empty stomach is suicide. My workouts are similar. I would NEVER go through one of my training sessions on an empty stomach. However, since I also value sleep highly, I usually just grab something small before my lift and something much larger afterwards. I also drink a simple protein and carbohydrate mix while I lift and immediately afterward so I’m getting some calories straight throughout.
I wasn’t looking forward to the workout because it involved a lot of volume, which isn’t my favorite. Surprisingly, things got off to a good start. I actually deadlifted 245 15 times, and still had a little gas in the tank. Everything was going great right up until my second set of back-leg raised split squats. I started to get a clouded feeling that I haven’t felt for quite some time. I took my time, rested a bit, then did the other exercise in that pair. Immediately after-I hopped up, put the weights back on the rack, and power walked out of the gym, in the middle of my workout. I was able to make it about 15 feet outside the gym door to the nearest receptacle, where I forcefully redisplayed my breakfast.
I haven’t thrown up from a lift since high school when I cut a leg press workout short to visit the local YMCA bathroom. Vomiting and leg pressing-two things I thought I’d never do again!
Why do I tell you this? Because I’m an idiot, and I want you to learn from my idiocy. OF COURSE eating right before a high volume/large musculature lift would cause me to vomit. With all the blood going to the working muscles, very little can go to the digestive track. We’ve all heard it-don’t go swimming within 30 minutes of eating. We never hear why-just not to do it. Well this is why!
Here’s the take home. You need to plan. Plan your meals. Plan your workouts. Plan enough time between the two. Don’t make exceptions, EVER! Ten more minutes of sleep will never be more beneficial than ten more minutes of digestion time.
Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.