Join Me for a No-Bonk Week

The New York Times had an article this week that talked about the benefits of exercising before breakfast. According to a study published by researchers in Belgium, exercising in a “fasted state” causes the body to burn more fat than it would if a person ate breakfast before working out. In some circles (especially biking and triathlon circles), this type of exercise is called “bonk training”. The goal is to lose weight and to accustom the muscles to get energy from fats stored in the body instead of always relying on carbohydrates. The author of the Times article implies that it might be possible to counter the effects of a high-calorie holiday diet by doing this type of training. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure I would recommend it. There seems to be a lot of dangers associated with it if you overdo it.

Why am I writing about this? I’m not really worried about overeating during the holidays. The real reason is that my brother talked me into playing in an alumni basketball game on December 27th and I need to get into better shape before the game. I exercise fairly regularly, but want to increase my training this week so that I won’t embarrass myself.

What I plan to do is to go running first thing every day this week. Anyone want to train with me at 6am? Not literally with me, although you are welcome to come to Woodstock at oh-dark-thirty every day if you want. We can motivate each other. I’m not planning to exercise without eating anything (no bonking), but I could use some accountability. I hate to get up early, and it will help if you join me.

Here are the rules. You can train wherever you are, and it has to be for at least 30 minutes. The exercise should have lots of  motion. Stretching for 30 minutes doesn’t count—30 minutes of Zumba in your living room does. Sweat is good. We start at 6am PST (if there’s someone who has to get to work and needs to exercise earlier, let me know and I’ll match your time). Sign up below in the comment section and let me know how it goes (post your results or email me at I’ll give you a recap of how it went next week. Let’s get after it!