The Easiest & Nutritionally Beneficial Solutions for Early Workouts

In General by Adam Friedman

If you’ve been suffering thru your early morning workouts due to low energy, then it’s safe to say that your results are suffering as well.  That’s why it’s so important to fuel properly before your workout, and I’m going to reveal how.

Rise & Shine…Time To Fuel Up & Work Out

Early wake upI know there are many of you who wake up extra early to fit in your workout before you start your day…and while being in that morning rush, you end up eating poorly, or sometimes just skipping the production of preparing a meal all together.

This is a common challenge that I’ve seen with my clients that’s easy to resolve.  But if you don’t, then you’ll continue to get mediocre workouts with diminishing returns, compared to all the time you put in.

While it’s true that more fat burning can occur from the workout when you don’t eat before a morning workout, however, few people can say that they’re actually stronger during a workout when they skip that meal.

Training for Performance vs. Training for Fat Loss

My strong belief is that any time spent training should be dedicated to improving performance, and not obsessing about how much fat you can lose in that hour or so workout session.

80-20It’s our daily nutrition that dictates about 80% of our ability to lose fat and build muscle, which leaves 20% maximum results from your workout…when giving 100% effort.  To achieve that, your body needs to be running on all cylinders for the duration of your workout.

The most quality workouts are a result of having a steady supply of the body’s preferred source of energy, glucose, to fuel our brain for focus and concentration, and for our nervous system to enable a highly responsive muscular system.

Otherwise, you end up depleting your energy reserves, which only gets you thru a portion of the workout.

Eat to Achieve Sustained Energy, instead of an energy spike & crash.

We also know that food is energy, and by the morning time, your body has already fully metabolized your last meal, has fasted during sleep, and is hungry for nutrients to supply you ample energy for the day’s battle.

The key is to feed the body not too much, and not too little…but only what it needs at that moment to give you steady energy for the next couple hours to cover your training and transit time.  So just a piece of fruit, or some protein powder with water isn’t going to cut it.

This likely will result in inconsistent workouts where you’re not as strong throughout, you fatigue faster, and your focus fades.  So you definitely don’t get the most for the time you put in, and your results take longer to see.

Quick to make – Easy to digest – Balanced Meals

Make sure you fuel up with meals that are quick to make, easy to digest, and have the proper balance of protein, carbs, and fat .  When that ratio is combined with the correct caloric portion of high quality foods, then the stable blood sugar necessary for maximal sustained effort will be available for your workouts.

5-tips for eating <90 minutes before you train:

  1. Choose easily digestible and high quality foods, such as one from each category:
    • Protein – yogurt, egg whites, or whey protein
    • Carbs – sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or fruit
    • Fats – nut butter, avocado, or coconut oil
  2. Eat the above marcro nutrients in a proper ratio.   As a general starting point: 35-40% Protein, 30-35% Carbs, and 25-30% fat to stabilize your blood sugar. 
  3. Cut your typical size meal in ½ to ¾ so you can get sufficient digestion before you train.  (Women:125-175 calories & Men: 200-300 calories)
  4. Learn your digestion and your body by journaling:
    • What you ate, and how much?
    • Your appetite before you eat, and after you eat? (ideal is hungry before, and then satisfied after)
    • Your energy before you eat, and after you eat? (ideal is medium-high)
    • How long before your workout that you ate, and how you felt during and after your workout?
  5. Don’t make preparing a meal more complicated, or a bigger deal than it really is.  Here are some quick and easy examples:
    • Egg Whites, Apple & Nut Butter.  (Tip: Use liquid egg whites so you don’t have to spend time cracking eggs.  Then, while eggs are cooking, eat the apple with nut butter to save time and provide good digestion)
    • Freshly made Protein Smoothie
    • Protein pudding (made the night before)
    • Coconut Yogurt with Whey Protein and Berries
    • Gluten Free Oatmeal with Whey Protein and Walnuts

Avoiding Exercise Nausea

Since everyone digests and metabolizes a little differently, it will require an experimental process to determine what works best for you.  So if you’ve had difficulty in the past because you’ve experienced nausea from eating before workouts, then there could be some factors that were making you nauseous that should be considered as causes.

One or more of these food factors may have been the culprit:

  • The foods eaten were heavy and not easily digested
  • The meal was eaten too quickly…causing poor digestion.
  • The meals were too largely portioned
  • The foods were from low quality sources
  • The meal didn’t have the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
  • The meal was eaten too close to the workout time

Even if you need to cut your workout down by five or ten minutes to have your food, the payoff of having a shorter but higher quality workout will deliver way better results.

So remember to always be ready for action by Improving Your Inner-Athlete thru proper nutrition.

Yours in health & fitness,