Best carbohydrate regime for workouts first thing in the morning

I have stated a TR workout plan that I schedule first thing in the morning before breakfast. As soon as I wake I have a caffeine gel, a coffee and a pint of water.
then within 45 minutes I start the workout. During the workout I have either 500 or 750ml of energy drink, depending on length and intensity of the workout.
Then within 30min I have a protein post workout drink.
My question is, does anyone have a better suggestion for carb intake to maximise workout performance?
Or maybe share their own regime fro early morning workouts.

The bigger question is probably what you had the evening before (and when). Topped up glycogen stores and you should be good.


A recent podcast (couple of weeks ago I think) talked about this - possibly Nate, Hannah, Jon discussing carb intake timing. They seemed to be saying that you should either take something on board at least 45mins before or within 15 mins before.
For early morning workouts I struggle to get up and eat something more than 45 mins before, but I need a bit of time to get going. So I typically get up, have a coffee then eat a Decathlon fruit jelly a few minutes before starting or even just before. This seems to work ok - it gives me something a bit more solid in the stomach than a gel but is really digestible. And then I drink a normal bottle (note that I’m typically putting 60-90g of carbs in a bottle, following the “homemade SIS Beta” thread : Make SIS BETA fuel yourself just a few pence per bottle ).
Depending on time afterwards I might then eat a more normal breakfast, or just chocolate milk/recovery drink.

So pretty close to what you’re doing, but with gel/jelly much closer to the start of the workout. The podcast discussion did talk about how timing is variable for individuals, so it’s worth experimenting a bit.


I tend to eat a dinner around 4-6pm the day before. So I guess a reasonable meal to support a glycogen store.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing that. Will take a look at the podcast…

1 Like

Play with it a bit - that’s quite an early meal, so a top up of quickly absorbed carbs is probably a good idea.

1 Like

Substitute the post workout protein drink for carbs. Or a carb/protein mix, preferably in 4:1 ratio.

1 Like

Thanks for that. Will give it a go.

That’s interesting. What is the thinking behind the high high ratio of carbs to protein post workout?

The protein myth and hype is not supported by the science or data. If you eat a balanced diet you already consume enough protein to fill the .8-1.5 g/kg needed. Beyond that the body can’t process the protein, which is very slow to digest.

The carbs are an absolute must, because your body just burned through glycogen and replenishing within the “glycogen window” is what the real concern is in the 30-60mins post workout. That said it also depends on the type of workout and the duration. Note that not all workouts empty the tank and depending on how you adapt your training to use fat as a fuel source there are other factors that come into play as well.

1 Like

see @Hertzlocker post :slight_smile:

you certainly need protein, but after a (hard) workout, carbs are much better for regeneration

If I do my workouts before breakfast I use dried fruits. I usually eat them shortly before the workout or right during the warmup. The benefit of dried fruits (especially in the morning) is that you actually get some „real“ food in your stomach, not just gels or drink mix. I read somewhere that 5 pieces (figs, dates etc.) are the equivalent of 25g carbs. So far it worked just fine for me.

1 Like

Eating gels while you aren’t riding outdoors is silliness.
Eat some oatmeal.


Some great tips here. Will certainly drop the gel and add some dried fruit before the workout. The carbs post workout does seem to make sense to replenish glycogen. I did a threshold workout yesterday that was hard in the 3rd set!! I didn’t have breakfast after the protein shake and then had dinner around 6pm.
Today is a recovery day and my legs feel sore and in need of something…I think I’m probably short on carbs and protein today.
Another tough workout tomorrow so I do need a carb hit today.

I also workout early in the morning, and I don’t usually eat anything beforehand. Sometimes I’ll eat a 100 cal granola bar right before but that’s rare. I try to get through half a bottle during the warmup, which for me consists of 24oz water/1.5 scoops gatorade powder/3 tbsp maple syrup. And then usually I’m done with that bottle halfway through the workout and just sip on another bottle of water and gatorade powder for the rest of the workout. Seems to work pretty well for me in that time constrained situation.

For weekday workouts I need to be on the bike by 5 AM; what works for me is a bagel with jam about 4:45, maybe supplemented with a banana or dried fruit, just water for an hour workout. For weekend longer rides, a squeezable apple sauce 50-60 minutes in. Afterwards a regular breakfast within 30-45 minutes; if that’s not possible, a smoothie with milk, yogurt, fruit, and some protein powder. Dinner is usually at 7-7:30.

Did you watch/listen to this week’s podcast? :sweat_smile:


I suggest this review article:

This summarizes extremely well the latest research on protein/carbohydrate intake both during and after workouts. 4:1 is almost scientific consensus at this point, there is no benefit to extra protein beyond that.

A fantastic article in general, lots of great tips

Yes I did this afternoon. Very interesting discussion on protein.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing that. Great will have a read.