Early morning rides breakfast ( or empty stomach)

Sorry if this has been covered before but my browser won’t let me open it.

Due to work and family reason I will soon have to do a once a week early morning ride, like wake up at 6 and hit the road at 6:30 at max. Sounds like breakfast is out of question except for a coffe, should I just fill up my bottle with carbs and that’s it ? My ride would be about 40kms with about 400 meters of climb, it’s usually a ride I can easily close at an average of 25/26kms per hours, so nothing really challenging,so some say not every carbs would be needed but heck, that sounds scary. I’m basically looking not to bonk and maybe burn a little weight too,why not.

Eat while you’re making coffee. What else are you doing for that 30 minutes?

Get literally everything together the night before so you’re not messing around. Kit, bike, coffee, etc.

I’d have some overnight oats ready in the fridge. That’s 5 minutes and a fair bit of carbs and a bit of protein to get you started.

I always prioritize breakfast though. Riding or not.

Edit: Do you have a food plan for after the ride?


Carbs in the bottle is probably fine unless you are doing some sort of fasting, you have plenty of glycogen when you wake up assuming you didn’t go to bed depleted.


Idk your age/weight /general fitness level but that rides sounds like my typical ride that I do in the AM as well, maybe a bit more vertical. But one cup of coffee has always powered me easily through these rides. I usually only bring a bottle of water and don’t even finish that on the ride. I’d bring a bar with me, but would rarely eat even a little bit of it. Never came close to bonking, but I have been working out (lifting, running, cycling) on empty stomach for a while.

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True that.

I’m 183 cm and 86kgs muscular, not lean muscular but pretty muscular. Big and strong leg, skinny arms and solid torso. I look skinny or some sort of martial artist type of body although I’m everything but a martial artist. I’m 49.
Yeah bonking is my fear actually, and it would be the first time in 12 years of riding of me trying something like that. I did it a few times as a runner and by 9 am at the office my face was looking 10 years older.

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That’s what I did for years. As long as you are not doing a real hard workout where you are using a lot of carbs and run a big deficit you should be fine. The body will burn fat . It’s only when you run out of carbs and fat that you will then lose muscle .

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YMMV but I just wanted to share that today I learned Andrew Feather (Hill climb champ and most Strava KOM’s I think) does all of his training rides which are usually 2-3 hours with no food or water. He shares this during a GCN+ Everesting special he is featured in.

Edit- not that I would suggest no fluids.

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Can you shower at the far end @Derp ? I have a similar schedule but with an hours train ride at the start so I only have 20km commute with 166m. Showering at the far end gives me time for breakfast, I need something to settle it beforehand. It was the same in my previous job, although the commute was slightly longer but flatter.

Presume that’s at Z2 intensity, in which case it should be fine without a breakfast first.


I also drive very often early in the morning. I already found some tips here on what and how to eat for training so early in the morning. Thank you !

Now I’m interested in one thing about which I’m always in a dilemma…

Training is, say, 2 hours long. My CH intake during training is approx. 70g/h. = about 140g of CH consumed during driving alone

If I eat breakfast 15-20 minutes before the start of training (100-120g of CH), is this intake also counted in the total intake of how much we eat on average per hour?
In this case, the average intake per hour is 70g or 130g per hour, depending on how we count the food intake just before the start

Does it count only what we actually eat on the bike?
I have my doubts because there is such a small time difference between breakfast and the start of training

How hard is this morning ride going to be, if its Z2 or below I would throw down some breakfast first to save finding time to eat when I get back. If its a harder ride your glycogen stores should be nicely topped from the previous day so I’d just fuel on the bike with sugar water at an appropriate rate for the work and eat a decent breakfast when I got back.

Also might be worth skipping the coffee first thing unless you need the extra boost for some very high intensity work
Drink coffee after breakfast, not before, for better metabolic control (bath.ac.uk)

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Personally, I used to drink a glass of water and then a coffee and off I’d be on the bike that early in the morning… I would get in a nice breakfast after my workout to replenish.

Things is, it also depends what you eat for breakfast, I wouldn’t eat bacon and potatoes and then go ride 10 minutes later, I’d most likely be regretting that decision. But if I’m feeling a big hungry before those early morning rides, then a banana sounds reasonable before or during the ride.

If it’s Z2 just do it fasted, no carbs during. Might be a bit weird the first few times, but you really don’t need carbs for a 2 hours Z2 ride.

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If I’m getting up and pretty much on the bike, caffeine pill and carb mix or gels is it. Caffeine right away to get things moving, carb mix starting 15 minutes before I ride. Easier ride I might add a banana or a bagel instead of the carb mix, but that’s it.

Same issue but earlier in the day for me. I’ve found the efficacy of much solid food is pretty much useless and focussing on the day before works much better.

In any case I never ride empty stomach. After working with a nutritionist who also guides WT, chocolate milk was suggested. Has worked great so far. Carbs like gels etc the moment the pedals turn.

I guess with all of these things, you’re going to have to experiment.

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I eat things that are easy to digest. I don’t do any workouts fasted anymore, some people are all about them.
It’s not for me, find out what works for you. If I eat too much the night before I have trouble falling asleep. So I eat simple easy to digest foods that haven’t given me GI problems.

I usually have some sugar/ Gatorade water and or cereal or pop tarts, a couple slices of white bread PB&J. Halloween is a month away so I’ll probably be stuffing candy down my pie hole, chocolate is not the best but whatever.

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My morning commute is 33km 250m and start at 6:45am. I generally have a bottle of carbs in the fridge ready to go in the morning and eat 3 or 4 dates.

Shower in work straight away then the porridge and toast.

I commute home the same route and generally have a porridge an hour before leaving. I’m 66kg so not worried about weight and don’t believe in fasted riding.

I have noticed I have much better power on commute home.

Yesterday for example. 160watts @ 121 hr on way in. 197 watts @ 124hr on way home.

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I’m the caffeine tablet and carb bottle mix for straight up and on the turbo- it doesn’t take me half an hour to get there either. Kit laid out and bottles mixed and in the fridge.

Just to say, not eating before isn’t the same as “fasted” in the traditional sense. I’m certainly not glycogen depleted going into the morning workout.

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I’ve been doing intermittent fasting, generally skipping breakfast, for a few years and since I usually for family/life reasons go out on the bike early, meant fasted rides - just 1 or 2 espressos beforehand. I rarely put carbs in the bottle, just electrolytes. The rides themselves vary between a commute (more regular pre-covid) of about 40 minutes (fairly vigourous) or longer lumpy rides - anything up to 4 hour plus mark. I can only remember bonking once in that time for no particular reason.

I’m still doing it, but less regularly, and don’t skip breakfast every day. I wouldn’t however advise jumping straight into it. I think I started at about 20km in Z2-ish (lumpy terrain, so not always possible) and worked up from there, always having emergency rations in case, though never had to use them, so eventually didn’t bother.

As others said, it probably depends on the intensity you’re intending. By chance I’ve done a couple of TR sessions fasted this week - Tallac with 3x15 minute SS intervals which was tough, and Gallena -2 with 2x20 minute SS today which I found seriously tough and had to drop the intensity a few percent in the latter stages. I think I’d have fared better doing it later in the day not fasted, but I didn’t really have the choice this week

8 years of early training here. Weekdays as early as 5:00 am. For 90 minutes or less I generally have done them fasting. A bit of coffee, read a few things, bathroom, and on the bike.

Generally, regardless of zone. If I am feeling particularly low/needing energy or have a particularly intense workout, I will either eat a piece of toast/jam that digests quickly, and/or add a bottle of carb mix to go with a water bottle. Key is quick to get in and digest. Then a full breakfast.

The only time I really have struggled is on the days where my wife used to get up and start cooking breakfast before I was done. The smell of sausage cooking was equally nauseating and tempting :rofl: