Sweet Spot Base - Mid Volume - Early AM Workouts

Hi All - Loving Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume (SSBMV)! My issue is I basically can’t get through the workouts in the early AM. I get up at 4am and jump right on the bike on a fast. I don’t think I need fuel to get through the 60-90 minute workouts. I can do them during the afternoon just fine.

What do the early AM folks do? I still finish the workouts but have to stop 2-3 times for a minute to rest my legs.

Shot of espresso, banana, and a gel.


I would definitely fuel morning workouts unless it’s an easy endurance ride or you ate a lot the day before. For most workouts early in the morning I mix maple syrup with water and salt or I have a homemade sugar Gatorade mix. Depending on the ride I’ll have more than that. Anywhere from 90-150 grams of carbs an hour- hour and half rides.
Morning workouts you’re coming in fasted over night from sleep. I usually drink some coffee and 16-30oz of water before and have water available during the ride. Plus the “fuel”
Try to find what works for you, some people don’t need much in the morning, I’m not one of them. I have better workouts fueling especially in the morning.

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I also up early. I need at least 30 minutes to wake up - water, restroom, stretch, 10 push ups, etc. I fuel anything longer than an hour or above endurance. I typically use my DIY carb mix with a caffeinated Nuun tab. If I’m really struggling I’ll also take a caffeinated gel. Finally, I often extend my warmups to 15 minutes. Hope this helps.

I’m in the same spot. But I feel like the solution is more complex and depends on how you fuel the rest of the day. Ultimately, you just have to do some trial and error…

For me, I’m 41 for context, target 7 hours of sleep, I always eat lots of quality carbs throughout day and then make sure to get some in with dinner the night before (brown rice, sprouted grain bread, sweet potatoes, etc.) and then a serving of cottage cheese and 1/2 serving of peanut butter before bed. And I always follow workouts with a recovery shake of chocolate milk and a bit of whey protein. Lately been dabbling with some beet root extract and beta alanine supplements too. Jury is still out there but workouts have been good.

For 60 minute workouts, I could then just do water and maybe a small cup of coffee in the morning. For 75+ minutes, I would add a drink mix of maple syrup and salt (40g carbs/160 calories) to sip on throughout, and keep a gel or bar handy in case I needed it but rarely did. Worth noting that I’ve been exercising in the mornings without eating for a few years now and maybe I’ve just adapted to it.

This seemed fine but recently I’ve been trying to hit the 100g of carbs per hour on the bike so I’ll do the same the evening/night before but then also have a banana immediately pre-ride, then the drink mix throughout, a bar or rice cake during and then a gel or energy chews for longer workouts. After a week of this, the workouts are still good and it seems like I feel better afterward. My weight has been trending up, but I think that’s due to losing some discipline lately. So jury is still out on this approach for me, but I like the idea of fueling my workouts better.

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Keep doing what you are doing, maybe add some fuel but as they say on the podcast we don’t get paid for this (unless you do, then your schedule should be more flexible).

What you’re doing is 99% prefect with a couple stops, keep doing that.

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Lots of good advice here. I struggle with morning workouts. Mostly I only do endurance rides fasted in the morning.

If I must, I wake up at least an hour before the time I have to be on the bike. Coffee, a banana and a piece of toast at least. I do some dynamic warming up while eating and digesting.

I have to say, I feel good once I’m done, even if I hate it while I’m doing it.

This is a thought process you should evaluate. I’m not a expert by any means, but lots on recent info/talk about proper fueling of workouts.

I’ve been doing 430/5am workouts for a while now. At the minimum I’m taking in 40g carbs on z2 days. Anything harder and I’m at least 60g/hr. Threshold days I tend to also add in a caffeine gel after warmup. I’d love to be able to extend warmup, but I need to get going to work. I push my workouts as late as I can as it is at 5am.


My guess it’s your hormone levels, some of which have a diurnal cycle (eg cortisol) is lowest early in the morning and then gradually increases until a maximum around midday. I am the same BTW. I’m fine with z2/low z3 and neuromuscular sprints but sweetspot and threshold I prefer in the afternoon or early evening

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Coffee, milk, two sugars. About 30 mins before the workout starts. If it’s not a hard one, some toast as well.

Are you using adaptive training? It should be making the workouts easier so you can get through them.

In your place, I would look at getting some porridge and honey inside about an hour beforehand.

SiS double espresso gel (contains 150mg of caffeine and 21.5g of carbs) as soon as I awake. 15 minutes later I’m on the turbo with around 60-75g carbs in a drink. The decent and noticeable caffeine hit from the gel makes all the difference. Quick shower afterwards and then breakfast as normal.

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Caffeine, caffeine and more caffeine

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If stopping 2-3 times is acceptable to you, change nothing.

I use Tailwind, 2-3 scoops depending on duration and intensity. After at least one strong cup of coffee. Approx 60-90 grams of easy to take carbs, 200-300 calories.


I’m seriously considering my “off season” plan to be 2x per day twice a week (1hr SS in the AM & 1 hr endurance/tempo PM) I keep my less desirable gels out next to my trainer, so I just use whatever is handy, with the bottom line being “DO NOT DIET ON THE BIKE.”

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It works fine for me…
White Toast with jam (a lot of jam) :grinning: and a big cup of coffee :coffee:

YMMV, but for me:

Sweetspot without fuel feels like threshold.

Sweetspot with fuel feels like tempo.

Where “fuel” is breakfast (the night before if no time in the morning) and 90g of carbs per hr during the ride.


Wow! So many more responses than I expected - thank you! I’ll try to reply to some:

@jjstein28 - I’m close to your age and have also been doing the early AM workouts for years. I’ve only started to have problems now that I’m trying to build my power/get faster. I’m 6’ and 210lbs w/ 261 FTP. Would like to get my 70.3 bike time under 3 hours and close to 2:45. Might not be possible. I’m trying to lose weight too which is making things harder.

@Mikeferguson1980 - It always come back to ‘well I’m not a pro’ doesn’t it haha? This is what I think every time I try to justify ditching my aluminum Giant Contend for a proper TT bike!

@JoeX - Thanks for chiming in. I don’t have 30 mins pre-workout unfortunately. I am using adaptive training and rate a workout ‘hard’ if I have to stop 1 or more times. I otherwise rate it ‘moderate’ or ‘easy’. I don’t have time for porridge or coffee, but did but SiS double espresso on the recommendation of @Cavasta . I can then club this with Gatorade, as needed, to see how it goes. Before now I hadn’t seen gels w/ 150mg caffeine.

@N8lewis - Saw a guy at IMLP this year with a shirt that said ‘Caffeine and Watts’ :slight_smile:

@webdev511 - My off season doesn’t really exist haha. I try to get in 10 hours a week (6 bike, 3 run, 1 swim), but do mix in some speed work.

@Helvellyn - Excellent point.


If I had to stop, I would mark it as a fail. You say above that you believe you should be able to do the workouts fasted, but then also say you’re failing them.

I know you don’t want to fuel your workouts, but if I was in your position, I would make a 60g carbs bottle the night before (so you don’t have to mess with it in the morning). I would also take in a gel as soon as I woke up. Combine the two and see if it makes a difference after a few rides.

Once you have that info, you can make an informed decision on how to go forward…either adding the calories or reducing intensity.

Good luck!


I think the context of when he’s stopping is missing or maybe I can’t read :joy: .
I definitely stop during workouts to use the bathroom or stretch the legs but always during rest intervals.

I think if you’re stopping mid intervals 2-3 times then yes I’d rate it as all out or as a failure.

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@Pbase - Good point. I’ll start marking it as fail if I’m stopping. Honestly, my concern about fuel for shorter workouts is that I’ll over fuel and then gain weight. Trying to lose weight and be a triathlete has not been a story of success for me so far :slight_smile:

@Foodpedaling - I stop in the morning because my legs are burning. Sure they burn in the afternoon too but it’s so bad in the morning sometimes. Usually worse during the third, forth and fifth SSB rides.

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