Best carbohydrate regime for workouts first thing in the morning

I more or less go straight from bed to bike, grab a bottle and a banana on my way, and during the warmup I start guzzling cold brew with 90g maltodextrin in it. The caffeine kicks in pretty quick, and I snack on the banana between intervals. That’s for hour workouts. Longer rides I grab some extra food and maybe a second bottle. I hit close to 120g per hour and feel strong. Some can’t ride so soon after waking, but I kinda like it.

I also do workouts first thing before breakfast. I have moved from a “I don’t need carbs to do a 1 hour workout”, to more of “carb the F up” for hard workouts. While I can and did complete the harder workouts without much fueling, having sugar immediately before/during these workouts has really helped.
What I generally do is:

  • small can of coke at start of the workout
  • bottles with 200-500 calories of carbs, depending on the intensity of the workout. 1 hour and less endurance and lower may be just water.
    This has worked well for me - the sugar seems to kick in fast enough, not sure if the caffeine helps me or not. I’m on the cheap gatorade + sucruse + sodium citrate drink, so it is quite cheap and easy to adjust the carbs. Taste is OK, and the $$ in my pocket makes is worth it. Also, I can now mix enough, and not be bothered pouring out half or more of a bottle I didn’t drink. That would really bother me if I was paying $20/kg for cycling specific drinks.

I eat something additional later in the evening the day before! I know, people are scared of eating late these days (don’t know how all the Spanish and Italians survived so long, though) but for me it is clearly beneficial for early morning workouts. One or two bananas during warm up on the bike and I’m good to go. Depending on the duration additional carbs on the bike.

3 Likes

5AM start, direct from bed to bike, nutrition driven by workout intensity and length of workout. For Endurance, Tempo and SS I use banana(s), dates, and caffeine hydro tab in water. Threshold and above, bottle(s) carb mix, 60g-90g an hour.

Most important component is fueling effectively the previous day.

Coffee+sugar for harder rides, fasted for easier. I commute 5 days a week ~1hour in the mornings

For long sweet spot rides, I’ve been eating 100 calories about 20 minutes before jumping on the bike, and then another 100 in the first 5 minutes while warming up. This is usually a fig bar - I eat all of my calories.