What should I eat before workout?

What should I have for breakfast at 4:30am and working out at 5:00am. Workouts usually threshold or Vo2max.
Usually I do my morning workouts fasting but I noticed that lately I can’t finish my workouts.
Also, I’ve incorporated strength training to my TR training.

I wouldn’t eat anything before, maybe a caffeinated drink. I would fuel on the bike with sugar water and have a good breakfast with carbs and protein afterwards. I’ve found fuelling during the workout reduces RPE towards the end of hard workouts and makes me more likely to complete them.


I don’t do morning indoors workouts but I’ve done plenty of morning rides and some outdoors workouts shortly after breakfast. My go to is porridge but we are all different, so what works for me isn’t necessarily the best thing for you.

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I get up and have a banana, then I’m on the bike about 15 minutes later. I eat a skratch rice cake usually 15-30 minutes into the ride, then sip on a maple syrup and honey drink concoction from 45-75 minutes. That covers me for 90 minute efforts. Anything longer and I add on based on the estimated workload. I don’t do a specific recovery drink anymore, instead I just eat a carb rich breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing.

I used to do these fasted for at least the first 45-60 minutes and then have a 300’ish calorie recovery shake which worked ok, but I definitely feel better during and after with my current routine.

I have been doing 5am workouts for a while now. I am generally on my bike within 5 minutes of waking up - so no food before getting on the bike. On threshold days I might start with a caffeine gel right away, but mainly I use a mix of table sugar/gatorade and fuel with 40g-70g/hour depending on workout intensity. Been working well for energy on the bike. And then most days I am eating a Cliff Bar for breakfast on my drive into work.

I follow roughly the same protocol as what @Buckethead does. As my only REAL option on workdays is to ride before work at 4:30am, i only fuel on the bike as the session is starting (roll out of bed, jump into the kit and down to the paincave). I usually am also in the neighborhood of 90g/hour throughout the session.

Usually a 5 hour energy as i’m powering up the trainer, putting on shoes, etc, a DIY gel (malto/dextrose combo) during warmup, and sipping on the gatorade bottle as the session rolls on. Any session longer than an hour and i’ll be downing more of the DIY gel to keep the energy levels high.

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Put a gel next to the alarm clock and have breakfast in a bottle during your ride.


I work out first thing in the morning also. I wake up really hungry so I usually eat a banana and a graham cracker or two. Fuel on the bike just depends on the duration and intensity of the workout.

4.30am? :open_mouth:

That. is. commitment.


Take an SIS gel…easy. After the workout eat a proper breakfast.

@Pirate, for me on workdays it’s really a lack of options. I work 12 hour shifts, 7am-7pm. I’ve tried doing sessions AFTER work and found I was too wired to go to sleep after, ultimately cutting into my sleep quality, which just made me feel lousy the next day.

Probably the most sad part of it is i am in bed on those workdays between 8 - 8:30pm to get that quality sleep, so my kids are actually up later than I am, a point they like rubbing in my face as much as possible! :rofl:


Hats off to you for trying and managing to fit it all in :+1:t2:

And yeah, I used to play Futsal 8pm-9pm one night a week(very high intensity) , always struggled to get to sleep, and sometimes woke up during the night absolutely soaked with sweat, so much so that it was a towel and change of T and boxers .

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If you are ever needing a kick in the morning, you should try a Pre Work Out drink… they are mega.

another one for the early morning workouts. I usually have pancakes or oatmeal pre made. ain’t nothing to toss a pancake in the toaster oven, top strawberry preserves or the like or heat up some oatmeal in the microwave w/peanut butter add blue and straw berries and we are good to go. been doing this for a number of years, so not a problem eating when I first get up. on the trainer, depending on the workout is a mix of gels and/or a swig or two from a bottle of maple syrup.

How do you do all this without waking the house (and neighbour) up?

I’d have Mrs Grumpy to deal with :rofl:

kitchen downstairs, bedrooms upstairs and the trainer out back. I swear the cat makes more noise than me :grinning:

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@Pirate (or anyone that has advice on the subject)… can you suggest a good pre-workout/energy boost mix? I’ve not used one in the past but i’m open to try something else if it’s cost effective (my money tree has stopped producing).

The 5 hour energy seems to give me the needed boost for my sessions, but they are pretty costly coming in at ~$2/serving. I’ve tried going the coffee route, but can’t handle pounding down a cup of hot coffee that early and just prior to my 4:30am sessions (and i’m not much of a fan of cold brew options) :frowning:

The stuff I use is Optimum Nutrition - Pre Work Out

It’s potent stuff, so don’t exceed dosage.

Your spider senses will be tingling, it makes you razor sharp.

There isn’t much energy in it, but this stuff will waken you up.

cornflakes FTW