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Fueling early morning workouts
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I work out very early 4 days a week: twice for masters swim (75 min) and twice for an indoor cycling class (60 min). They are usually moderate to intense workouts. They start at 5:30 am, which is too early for me to get up in time to have a "normal" breakfast and have time to comfortably digest before the class. I only recently started this early morning routine (a couple of months ago) and have tried a few different approaches on fueling for the workouts, but would like to get thoughts on what works for you. My current strategy is to have about a tablespoon of nut butter and a table spoon of fruit jam (or dried fruit) 25-30 min before my workout. That seems to be working ok, but am open to trying other ideas or foods.

Merry Christmas!
Last edited by: tanzbodeli: Dec 25, 18 5:25
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I have been on a similar routine for the past three years. My go to fuel is a single serve oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts. I heat the water in my tea kettle and fill to packet line. Quick and easy.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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No better breakfast than oatmeal and coffee.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I almost never eat before Noon.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I normally don't need to eat anything for a workout that's less than 90 minutes long. I make sure to hydrate during, and with that I use Tailwind so I get some calories back so the tank isn't being completely emptied. If you feel yourself tanking during those workouts because you're either chewing your fist off hungry or have no energy, try some easy to digest liquid nutrition (like Tailwind) before your workout or something else easy to put in your system like a banana or granola bar with nut butter.

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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [logella] [ In reply to ]
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Agree with logella, however would mix it up, fasted swims at that time would be fine, Oatmeal and coffee pre bike is a winner.

Key is to make sure you fuel correctly post training.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I've always felt that most "real foods" take too long to digest and actually give me the energy I need for those early morning workouts. That, and sometimes doing too intense a workout after eating (even a smaller meal) can upset my stomach. There's nothing like having to get off the bike or out of the pool to duck into the bathroom for a while :( I'd imagine it's a function of not enough blood flow to the stomach for digestion since the blood needs to be in muscles?

Recently I've switched to downing 5-10 Skratch energy chews. Quick sugar in the system (anywhere from 20g - 40g depending on how many you eat in one go) and nothing heavy that needs time to digest. I have nothing to back this up as a good idea, but it seems to be working for me lately.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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Check the literature on the benefits of training in a fasted state supplemented by caffeine

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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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Coffee with a little cream and sugar
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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Nothing but some black coffee for workouts that short.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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How early are you waking up before the workout?

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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [TheStroBro] [ In reply to ]
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I usually wake up around 430-445. I have about a 20 min drive to each facility. I have tried doing the workouts without eating anything before and those usually end up feeling pretty bad - just a heavy, low power feeling about midway through. Interesting that people have found that to be effective. I might try coffee and a piece of fruit, but I suspect the oatmeal might be a little too heavy that close to exercise.
Last edited by: tanzbodeli: Dec 25, 18 11:22
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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If I've got over an hour from wakeup to workout I'll shove a banana down. I'm not one of those guys who can eat a meal and then for a jog or swim, usually need two hours maybe more.

Rugby Media Dude-earfulofdirt.com

Hooker training for the Sport of Scrum-Halves [Triathlon]
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [ericMPro] [ In reply to ]
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Eric what would you suggest for early morning intense workouts? I've always been an evening workout guy and have to switch for numerous reasons. Transitioning from base right now to the spring ramp-up. Coffee is a no go I'd be on the crapper 30m into the workout. Think fasting is still ok? My plan was just switch back to Gatorade for during, and fuel with real food, coffee, etc. after the workout.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I don't like a heavy meal as soon as I get up. Blueberries or blackberries, raspberries and maybe a banana - or a gel or two. Works great. Your nut butter and jam sounds about right too. Don't change anything. Sugar is your friend.
Last edited by: NealH: Dec 25, 18 14:18
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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Try eating more for dinner, or adding an extra snack before bed. I do that when I plan to train hard early and find the carry-over of more food from the night before plenty helpful in feeling energized and ready to push through. I can't really eat eat much in the morning's just before though - so usually just grab a single shot of espresso going into the first workout.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [ripple] [ In reply to ]
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Water

Eric Reid
AeroFit | Instagram Portfolio
Chapel Hill, NC
Aerodynamic Optimized Bike Fitting, Retul Pre-Purchase Bike Fitting, USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coaching, Nutrition
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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4:50am - wake up and change into swim clothes
4:55am - grab a Clif bar and head out the door (I do either cool mint or peanut toffee buzz for the caffeine. 250 cal, 42g carbs, 10g of protein, 50mg of caffeine)
5:10am - into the water for 70 minutes masters swimming

That’s my M-F routine. The bar gives me just enough calories and caffeine to make sure I get through the workout but isn’t too big that it’s sitting heavy or hard to digest.

Matt
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I don't eat anything until after my workouts regardless of length. Black coffee before most workouts. If they are long workouts I drink SFuels after a while depending on intensity. If you absolutely HAVE to have something then I would recommend you use your Bike race nutrition. That should be something digestible, (all liquid?), during exertion.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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For trainer rides I’ll have a sip of Gatorade every 15ish minutes. Runs under an hour nothing and same with swims. Over an hour a gel flask of Gatorade to sip on.

I think the feeling you are describing used to happen but I’ve been doing early workouts for 7 years so I don’t really remember how it used to be.


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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [gall1972] [ In reply to ]
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Nothing but some black coffee for workouts that short. ///

THIS^^^^^

And then eat a nice proper breakfast afterwards. You dont need to eat anything for stuff under 2 hours, and I believe you will find the workouts are more productive and faster without any guy worries. Give it a try, what's to lose? And give it some time too, as it might take awhile to train your body not to bonk, which will be a great asset on race day..
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [ericMPro] [ In reply to ]
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Interesting. Will try it. Thanks. Not sure I can make it without sugars but I can try, that's all I've been drinking for the low HR stuff.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [ripple] [ In reply to ]
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ripple wrote:
Interesting. Will try it. Thanks. Not sure I can make it without sugars but I can try, that's all I've been drinking for the low HR stuff.

You can definitely make it, just means you need to do a good warm up and trust your body. I don't do coffee or any supps just water and will happily run up to 24k with intervals or 30k aerobic. 2 hour ride including intervals and will go 100k without food.

Most of the fop age group guys I talk to do the same. Very few of the top guys smash sugar pre workout.
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I recommend smoothies. You can make them the day before and keep it in the fridge. They are easily digestible and can be consumed closer to training.

I always go for a smoothie with oatmeal, banana, coconut flakes, nuts, whey protein or an egg, carrots. Basically whatever I like. Maybe some green stuff too!
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Re: Fueling early morning workouts [tanzbodeli] [ In reply to ]
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I normally just have a heap of water before i get out of bed, i wake up feeling so parched.
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