6am training, what to eat

^^^ This ^^^ Over night oats, yum. Sometimes have a spoon or two before training and the rest after. Other got to option is nothing or half a banana during warm up and save the rest after or in-between intervals

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shot of espresso and have a gel flask of maple syrup while im on the bike. I get the carbs through that and if you sip on that with water its perfect for getting me through a 90min workout in the AM.

I train early T/W/R +/- F, and Sat/Sun.

I’ve tried fasted, and when I do I usually have cliff shots 30min in.

When fasted, I’m usually very hungry by the time I finish, but then have to get a kiddo to elementary school and in to work at a reasonable hour. I felt like I was rushed doing this, so I changed things as follows:

My current training is VO2 and anarerobic in nature for CX…so I’ve altered my eating a bit–
Alarm at 0430 or 0445
Big glass of water
Meditate 15 min
Bowel of grape nuts or some fairly low fiber cereal with almond milk (this gets me through 75-90 min workouts on water only), sometimes also a red bull with sugar.
On trainer 0530 - 0545
Off trainer 0700 - 0725
Turn on coffee
Quick shower
Grab pre-made smoothie to consume around 0900
Out door with kiddo ~0730 - 0745

I find that the coffee after a workout has improved my recovery. There is some data to suggest activating cAMP via caffeine after-workouts helps completely deplete glycogen. So by eating 0515 or 0530, then doing a hard session followed by coffee and not eating again until 0900 or 0930, it is turning a short/hard session into something a bit more metabolically taxing. I’m a huge fan of this strategy and find I feel better throughout the day. (as opposed to training fasted, then doing the glycogen replenish immediately PWO). Plus, I sort of use the stress response from the workout to keep me going until I get into work. It’s a bit counter intuitive, but I find it to be really good.

Can you explain this please?
I Googled it but only comes up with Caffeine inhibits ‘x’ via inhibition of cAMP-PKA-SRC-ERK1/2 so I assume this is something other than what your are referencing.

It’s honestly old school pharmacology (caffeine binds adenosine receptors and keeps ‘active’ cAMP around longer), but in terms of its affects on glycogen depletion/re-synthesis, here’s a reference:

I’m not entirely sure if the above strategy protects further glycogen depletion in preference for FFAs, or helps further deplete glycogen. But I just know I have felt really good with the above strategy over the past month compared to the past 3-4 years, when I’ve trained fasted or nearly fasted followed by immediate PWO meal consumption.

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I have the same problem with eating right out of bed in the early hours so nowadays I drink breakfast instead. I make a smoothie with frozen blueberries, milk, oats, banana and maltodextrine powder. If I did a one hour morning workout I would have this smoothie and just drink water during the workout. Over one hour and I would have high carb drink, bananas and even gels for long rides (4h +)
But remember, what you eat the afternoon and evening before is way more important than what you eat for breakfast so make sure you have a source of carbs for dinner, maybe have dinner earlier so you can have a sandwich, oatmeal or whatever later at night which can max your glycogen storage for next day. If you need a gel for a one hour session I think you can improve your carb loading. Don’t forget to get some carbs immediately after a hard/long ride if you have another session the next day, there’s a lot to gain there to replenish your stores quickly and Kickstart your recovery.

I would take a scoop or two of UCAN. Stuff tastes like hell, but it is great for morning workouts. The first time I ever tried it my reaction was “ahh, hell no, this stuff is awful, never doing this again” but then I went for a 10 mile run at 6AM and didn’t get hungry until lunch. So now I am sold.

Im on the trainer by 5am, off by 6:30 at the latest. Usually 6:05 or 6:10. Wife gets the garage gym then. I can go fasted without issue for Sweet Spot or below. If its threshold or VO2, I need something. Usually one of the following: Larabar, 1/2 a Clif Bar, banana or something like that. I live in Florida, so its always warm–>hot in the garage, so sports drink as well. And of course coffee first- because nothing happens without that.

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it’s especially interesting given caffeine clearly inhibits SGLT2

That’s exactly what I do. 100g oats, 30g whey protein, 5g cacao or dark chocolate, 100 frozen berries. I then simply soak it in hot water and eat two spoons. Not really about the nutritions, but to give my stomach something to do.

I don’t eat before. I eat after, some eggs and coffee. I’m good for 60-90 minutes in a fasted state. All sorts of work, unless it’s a hard workout like 90TSS in 60 minutes. In that case I’ll take a gel and some caffeine and get at it.

I do 2 a days.

If I had to eat it would be what I think I would need for fuel but I don’t like working out with food in the stomach. It makes me uncomfortable.

This is the same for me on group rides. People like to ride to lunch and ride back, I just can’t do that. I feel lethargic after eating and exercise right after makes my stomach uncomfortable.

Curious how you fuel for longer races, do you just not eat during them either? Not do any long events?

If it’s a VO2 or threshold morning, honey on wheat toast along with espresso. Luckily I can eat right when I wake up. Any sweetspot or endurance work I can do fasted.

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cream of wheat works really well for me. I use soy milk so I’m not dealing with dairy related problems, and the cream of wheat is low fiber!


It’s not that I can’t have any food, I just don’t like having too much or anywhere near half-full when I start moving.

For long rides/events, I start carb loading 1.5-2 days before depending on the anticipated intensity, and increase daily hydration. I also have protein and fat with that. I eat well the night before. The morning of, a long event I have 2-3 eggs and toast or eggs and oatmeal, and a cup of coffee. I do this about 2-3hrs before I get on the bike. I eat gels and shot blocks during, and an occassional honey stinger waffle. I’ll take a gel 30 minutes before the ride and another at the start. I hydrate with nuun endurance and water.

For a CX style event, just a smaller breakfast and the prep work 1-2 days before. CX is short, like a VO2 workout or Tabatas. No water bottle or food during the race. Slam a gel or two between races if doing more than 1. Driving anywhere is going to be about an hour, so some food is OK at that point, but I’m always up 2 hours before I have to leave and another hour to drive.

When I do all day MTB rides I will pack a couple of PBJS and take a couple of bites of the sandwich at regroup points. It’s usually slow roll from there, for a bit at least, that seems OK.

If the event is only 1-2 hrs, I won’t pack any food.

I workout immediately, in the morning. it’s literally out of bed, potty, brush, bibs, water bottle, garage, fire up the electronics, put on the shoes, and go.

I don’t claim to be a finely tuned athlete or an expert of any kind, this is just what I do that seems to work OK for me. There’s probably room for improvement. My last meal before the workout is usually about 10-12hrs.

Other than for long events, I go low carb (not keto) the rest of the week. That’s pretty much just m, t, w, sometimes th. fri, sat, sun, has much more carbs. If I’m doing the rare long indoor workout on weekends, then I skip the extra carbs and continue as if it were a regular day. I bring gels and shot blocks to the trainer table and put nuun endurance in bottles for more carbs. The long indoor workouts tend to be more endurance at SST, 50+ minutes per block at SST or 90 minutes of tabata blocks. It’s not as intense as an outdoor ride.

I’m probably “doing it wrong,” but I’m not sure I care at this stage of my life.

I’m in the @nate train your gut camp.

I raced CX yesterday. 8am masters start.

Up at 5am. shower 5:00-5:10.

5:20 sit down with microwaved day old coffee, an everything bagel with a small bit of butter, and 2 slices of whole wheat toast with mix berry preserves. Then another cup of coffee while reading the paper onlne.

6am: Out the door

IMO, don’t take directions from your stomach, unless you really, genuinely, feel ill after eating a raisin before 9am, like some sort of reverse gremlins scenario. Dictate directions to your gut! In my experience…I think most people just don’t particularly have an appetite super early in the morning, which is not exactly the same thing as ingesting food causing discomfort or a decrease in performance.

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you can eat a little extra the night before, but you could do the gel and drink some sports drink. That’ll get you through almost any workout that’s less than 2 hours and won’t have any GI issues.


Thanks All for the very interesting and kind replies.
Unfortunately I simply cannot eat first thing in the morning, always been like that since I was a kid…
I had a real meal last night, a nice Italian risotto.
I woke up at 5.15am today, had my usual Nespresso latte (takes 2 mins), then prepared the Kickr, went to the shed, took the wheel off, put it in the trainer, got changed, etc. I was ready to start Carillon at 6am. Unfortunately no bananas in the house. I had half a cereal bar, and managed to complete the first half of Carillon. But in the closing minutes I had to reach for a gel as I felt my legs slowly fading away.
It doesn’t help that I am coming down with a cold… :frowning:

I will try again and experiment when the cold is gone, until then the results will be a bit misleading, but I believe I should not rely on quick sugary energy gels unless doing high intensity intervals. For sweet spot I must be able to use what’s in my body from the night before, I want to train my body to better utilise its energy resources. If I feed it energy gels I feel like I am cheating and not creating any fuel efficiency adaptation.

Also, if I have a banana at 6am, how long does it take to become available as a form of energy? And a dark toast with honey?

If I add maltodextrines to my water, will this be similar to the gel? I want my body to work and break down real food and not reach for the sugary shortcut, if that makes sense.

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Breakfast on the bike for me when it comes to early morning workouts and races. I’ll have a banana just to get something in my stomach and then bottles on the bike. I like Hammer Perpetuem.