Whether you are an ultra marathon runner, triathlon enthusiast or simply driven to step up your fitness, you’ve likely changed your daily or weekly schedule around to fit in some early morning workouts. Some people however find it difficult to know how to fuel for those. Here we will share some of our experiences then open the floor to anyone with their own secrets to share.
We’ve all seen the YouTube video that goes “Rise and shine, 6 AM and your arm can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that its too early, too cold to get out of bed!” It incredibly accurate and we’ve all had those days when all you want to do is curl up under the covers and get an extra hour of shut-eye. But we don’t, we shiver out of bed to get changed and make it happen!!! So once you’re dressed and have your workout plan in mind, do you hit the kitchen to fuel? What are your crack of dawn munchies like? Does it change depending on what you’re doing? For Mel and I, we’ve found 3 avenues that tend to work well for us, and yes it usually depends on the type of workout, what’s going on the rest of the day, etc etc etc.
Strategy #1 – Empty Stomach
“Just go man” – Lloyd Christmas (Dumb and Dumber)
This works well for relatively short run workouts or early yoga practices. The workout won’t be extremely taxing so your body should be able to run off your energy stores, and there are certain workouts when you simply don’t want a full stomach. Keep in mind however, a small glass of water is a great idea in most cases, as pretty much all of us wake up quite dehydrated.
Strategy #2 – Quick bite
“Watermelon — it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.” – Enrico Caruso
Something small and easily digestible, kind of like a jerry can full of gas for your car just to get you through the next couple hours. This is probably the most common for our lives, and we tend to go for a small piece of fruit and a handful of nuts or seeds, or an easily digestible energy bar such as a LARABAR. Works well for runs between 60-90 minutes, or any kind of early biking where digestibility isn’t as much of a factor. As before, make sure you take in a bit of water to help your blood get moving!
Strategy #3 – Hearty Breakfast
“Ready your breakfast and eat hearty, for tonight we dine in hell!” – King Leonidis (300)
If the time is available, or the workout for your day is extremely taxing, then you might want to just take the time and eat a hearty breakfast. For us, we usually need about 30-60 minutes before starting a workout after a huge bowl of oatmeal goodness. So if this is your weekend long run day, or you simply aren’t in a rush to squeeze your workout in, then take some time to have a good meal with your spouse, kids, or watching a TED talk. With this, try to balance out your macro nutrients and always include a big glass of water!
Our little secret!
To be completely honest I can’t really say we do #1 too often, mostly because even if we decide not to eat, we still slip a couple pills in for nutrients! The most common thing we can be found having before a workout is 2-4 spirulina tabs. We’ve been using ones from Prairie Naturals (check them out here), because we know they have super clean ingredients but companies are making the mall over the world now. If you want to know more about how these power packed tabs can help you, Melissa shared her knowledge of what Spirulina is and compared Spirulina Tabs vs Powder. Last note to all the vegans and vegetarians, if you don’t already know about spirulina, you should! They have the highest concentration of protein of anything at the nutrition or grocery store!
Everyones bodies, lifestyles and preferences are different so remember these are just some ideas to think about. If you have other favourite ways of fuelling for your AM workouts, we’d love to hear them in the comments!
Mel and Jon