High intensity workouts in the morning? How do you fuel?

For those who do high intensity workouts soon after awakening, how do you fuel? I usually do these types of workouts in the evenings after work, but come spring/summer, I’m now looking to get these workouts done before work, in the morning. How do you fuel? My thought is that if you consume too much before the workout, the process of digestion will really lower the intensity you’re capable of. I don’t think it’s possible to do a high quality high intensity workout fasted. What are people doing?


Light breakfast and hit the carb drink early. I’ve done it so long it’s no big deal. In other words, find something you like and train your gut for it. (Small bowl of porridge with fresh fruit and a beet juice/spirulina drink for me).


They’ve talked about this during the podcast but the tldr is you fuel the night before and work on getting something in before hand (start small and work up). Caffeine also helps as does extending the warmup a few minutes just to give carbs a head start and to let the legs get more into the task at hand


I have landed on a formula that works for me.

Take on board some carbs the evening before (normally some cereal), then first thing the next morning have a coffee and then something small like 2 scotch pancakes/ rice crackers with jam and then start to drink a carb mix as soon as on bike.

I have a 30 min window from bed to bike in the morning.

I slice a banana on 2 x Rye crackers with some peanut butter or a dash of honey if I know I need some extra sugar boost. Works well. As others have said, I also couple this with a black coffee. I find that it is light enough so that I can get through VO2 and anaerobic workouts without committing it all back up, but in the same breathe, dense enough so that I don’t bonk - physically and psychologically.

Coffee and a mug or small bowl of muesli with maple syrup, or toast with pb&j, about half an hour before, and then I start popping ride fuel as soon as I get on the bike. (I’m sure that’s not ideal but it works for me :sweat_smile:)

+1 for carbs the noght before (just carb rich dinner, really).

Then wake up, drink two glasses of water + caffeine pill, then spend 10 minutes brushing teeth and dragging bottles out of my fridge. Jump on the bike within 15 minutes of the alarm clock.

For high intensity ride: drink about 60g of maltodextrin per hour, spreading it every 10 minutes (I can‘t stomach much more early in the morning).

For endurance rides: exactly the same, maybe a banana or two extra added since my system is more relaxed…

It’s 5 am right now , just had a couple servings of cereal… and a coffee… I woke up at 4:45am, for context.
I have a couple clif bars and Gatorade for during the sweet spot workout lined up today.
Sometimes I use straight up maple syrup and snack on cereal during the workout…
the workout today is 90 mins long and I’m eating about 50 grams carbs 30 minutes before and have about 130 grams of carbs for during…
then I’ll eat breakfast right after as my “ recovery” meal.
I completed a full season with Criterium as my focus with this fueling strategy. Most of my workouts were going at 5- 6 AM

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Like others have posted, I’ve found that two bowls of cereal 1h before bed work, and just have a banana, big glass of water and an espresso before going out in the morning. I’ll also take a bottle of carbs to drink during the ride, sometimes two if it is a longer ride (90min+). I’ll also have a recovery drink when I get home and then a bowl of oats and fruit and then I’m good until lunch.

My biggest challenge by far is doing high intensity intervals in the early morning (5/6am starts). I have no problem doing 20min SS intervals; my mind, legs and heart can handle that just fine. I struggle immensely doing 2-5min efforts at that time of morning. I just can’t do them, no matter how many times I’ve tried. Those workouts are saved for a lunch break or evening.

Sounds good! But if I may ask, how do you handle going to the toilet in the morning? 15-20 min after the coffee I always have to go to the toilet and that expands my time window a lot… :roll_eyes:

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Same thing happens to me I usually get myself 30-45 minutes in the morning for that reason. Although I have ran to the bathroom a couple times during a rest interval To take care of that LOL

Some existing threads worth a read.


I should add that with my porridge I do a lot more fruit than normal, since it’s sugary and does not sit in your stomach, and I cover mine in honey. Adding honey is a great way to add flavor, calories, and sugar without any “size or weight” to your meal.
I used to do Greek yogurt, if you like that. Just make sure it’s one with fruit or sugars.

If you have a healthy diet there should be no need to fuel beforehand or during. High intensity sessions are not long enough to burn through your stores. Just ensure to replenish / fuel afterwards.


I mean, some of the -workouts are fairly short, but not all. There is no reason NOT to fuel during, as has been amply suggested in the forum and podcast. You do your body a disservice to not adequately fuel the rides unless you are specifically targeting a fasted ride. No way I could do a 2 hour v02 ride without fuel.

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And how much of that is VO2 effort? I do not anyone who can hold vo2 for two hours.

My dietician has told me it’s possible to do any
1-1.5 hour workout of any intensity without anything but water maybe some electrolytes. But she did tell me that if I want to improve my performance fueling workouts is the way to go for improved recovery and glycogen replenishment. So it’s up to you if you want better performance or trying to lose weight…


Then 30-90 minutes of endurance work after the prescribed workout. Even if I was only doing an hour total of still fuel it during, though.

Overnight Oats with Canadas Best and Cinnamon, Banana OJ Smoothie with Creatine and Total War… wait for your eyes to pop out of your skull then get on the bike!

So 24 mins of high intensity over 1.5 hours not two hours of vo2 max. Why you think it’ll exhaust your glycogen in that time I know not.