We are in ‘exactly’ the same boat my good man. Same age child and same time wake up to train! My alarm goes off at 4:50am and I scoot off downstairs to make a black coffee. Down it whilst watching the TdF 10 minute highlight reel and am on the bike around about 5:15-5:20am ready for one of the General Build HV sessions that range from 1 - 2 hours in length.
I know, just like you, that I have to sacrifice sleep and a sit down brekkie before the sessions, in order to actually get out and train before everyone else wakes up (assuming the little one decides to stay in bed past 6:30am! Fingers crossed every morning on that one!) That way I am off the bike by 7:30am by the latest and I can help with the morning routine, organizing breakfast for everyone and also getting myself to a somewhat presentable level ready for work that day. It is a busy time for us early morning trainers! I am sure that we would have plenty of similar stories to swap. Notably, the shocking night sleep before hand if the little one decides to push out some teeth and having to still jump on the bike after what seems like only having a 45 minute nap the night before. Bulk coffee before I train on those mornings!
One thing I noticed when I started to do fasted training was that I was a mess - not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. It just ruined me and I went into this huge sugar lull which ruined my mood and motivation until around lunch. Not good times.
I then started to try to eat breakfast before hand but ended up feeling sick on the bike because of the intensity of the sessions. No way am I waking up earlier either just to have some toast or cereal. So I had a dilemma - feel sh–t or feel sh–t.
So, I tweaked things a little - for me. If I know I am doing a bigger session, then the night before I will have pasta for dinner. That works sensationally well for me! Feel super strong in the whole session. If it is a lighter session then we will stick with veggies and lean meat and fish etc. So basically I tweaked my major meal the night before to suite whatever session I was doing. There is also now a placebo effect in there as well where I know I can train hard if I have had a heavy carb meal the night before. A mental win and a mental game.
The other thing I added was on the super hard sessions like the Anaerobic ones, I have a small banana or an apple or something light like that with my black coffee about 20-30 minutes before the session just to give me that little pep up. If it isn’t one of those sessions then I generally ride fasted off black coffee.
So what’s happened? I have dropped 12 kg since last Christmas riding fasted and with coffee before hand (some really good articles out there about how Team Sky used fasted riding with caffeine for their riders in pre-season) and I feel that my body has adapted. I feel like I am more efficient at using alternate fuel sources now during sessions and can ride solidly without the need for fueling up before hand. When I am outdoor riding over Summer, which seems like a distant memory given the COVID lockdown and exercise restrictions that we are currently in, the obvious preference is to have breakfast before hand but I do take solace in knowing that I have conditioned my body to be able to ride fasted.
Strangely enough, I also don’t really have sugar cravings throughout the day any more either. Before I started training fasted at 5am I would always crave chocolate after lunch and very much after dinner - to the point where I would be annoyed if I didn’t have it. Now, not at all. Don’t have such intense cravings for high sugar processed foods at all. I guess that this is part of what’s happened with the adaptations in my body.
So there you go. From one Dad to another, after an initial struggle I have found some real benefits to it.