Early morning fueling?

Continuing the discussion from :fuelpump:Fuel for the Fire Part 1: Pre-workout Fueling Strategies:

According to our team of experts, I’ve been fueling my morning rides incorrectly. Up at 5am, walk the dog, grab a bite, kit up and rolling by 6am.

That gives roughly 30 minutes to eat before I start riding. Exactly when I should be avoiding a high glycemic meal. But I certainly don’t have a 3 hour window in which to eat ahead of time. And a slower digestion meal will just sit like lead in my gut.

Evening workouts always seem to get crowded out by family and work.

So it seems I’ve got no ideal options for fueling but hoping to find some workable alternatives.


I find I can manage short morning sessions 30-45 minutes on an empty stomach plus a cup of tea or coffee for a caffeine boost, any longer and I seem to run out of the energy for high intensity efforts. 45-90 minutes sessions I do immediately after work and make sure that there is something I can chuck in the oven while I’m showering so that the family can sit down to eat together.


This also applies to outdoor weekend rides and events. There never seems a way to optimally ingest pre-ride nutrition, other than carb loading the night before.

Hey Sir Brian, being female I absolutely cannot workout on an empty stomach, and have exactly the same issue as you with riding in the early morning.

These strategies work for me if I have a high IF workout the next morning.
I make a casein based protein shake last thing at night and maybe some toast with nut butter.
I make overnight oats or some sort of quick eating meal the night before that I bolt down as soon as I wake up. Then I unload the dishwasher, walk and feed the dogs, kit up etc. Am up at 5 and on the bike at 6.30.

It’s not optimal but works for me. The working out on an empty stomach long term worked with a few other things to reward me with Red-S.



I’m with you. M-F it’s early morning or its not going to happen. I try to do my best to fuel correctly through the week - I know if I wake up ranging hungry then I missed something in my diet and grab a gel.

Usually I workout on an empty stomach, drinking usually only water. That’s usually fine even for intense workouts that last 60 minutes or less. I think it helps that I’ve been working out by running on an empty stomach for many years, now.

But there are plenty of harder or longer workouts where I absolutely need something in my stomach.

For those occasions I start with something that’s quickly digestible like a banana, and apple, or a gel. And maybe start drinking some Gatorade. I usually wake up 30-45 minutes before I workout, so these are all things that I can get into my system quickly. Maybe a chocolate chip granola bar or a flour tortilla.

Anything that takes longer to digest isn’t worth the effort and I don’t want junk sitting in my stomach while I’m doing hard efforts.


SUF bucket time!

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Whenever I do early morning workouts or rides I just load up with carbs the evening before. Then when I wake up I just have a coffee and a couple of slices of toast and then ride. If I’m riding for less than an hour then I don’t really need any extra fuel. If I’m riding for multiple hours then I fuel on the bike as required. The longer the morning ride (especially an event), the more I pay attention to my nutrition the day before. There’s no way I will ever have a 3 hour window on the morning of an event. I’ve started 9 hour epic endurance events on a coffee and slice of toast and been fine, so I don’t worry about special fueling for a 1 hour morning interval session. I would actually rate sleep as my #1 priority before any early morning activity.


My standard at-home breakfast is a couple of cups of coffee, an apple, and a tablespoon of peanut butter with cinnamon sprinkled on. After I get the kids out the door, I read the paper to give things time to settle. Then I’m either in the saddle or off for a run.

The apple and peanut butter give me carbs, fiber, fat, and protein. The cinnamon reduces inflammation. The meal is sufficiently filling that I don’t get hungry until lunchtime. The coffee, well, I simply like it.

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What is becoming inflamed that you need to eat cinnamon every morning, if that is not too personal to ask?

Not at all. I have a long-standing problem with tennis elbow. Also, I like cinnamon. It goes great with apples and peanut butter.


My nutritionist wife always tells me that it’s great for stablising blood sugar levels, too. I’m pretty sure she’s dumbing it down there for me, though. Also I’m not a massive fan of cinnamon so they’re rather deaf ears that it’s falling on!

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I eat porridge oats. Low glycemic carbs. Keeps me going

Cinnamon great and I’ve seen where some recommended it as a replacement for sugar or other sweetners.

How soon do you eat this before your workout? And what is porridge anyway? Is that oatmeal?

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Porridge is oats. We call,it porridge in England and Scotland.
I tend to have it about 45 mins to 1 hr before workout

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

Of course, it is just split pea soup.

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Personaly (like a lot of others) I try to fuell the night before as I usually train at 5:15 AM during the week. When the workout is intense and long, I eat a banana about 10’ before.

Hope it hepls.


On most days I am up at 3:50 and out the door by 4:25 for 40 miles or so. I typically eat a single pancake before I go and rely on my normal ride drink with carbs for the rest of the ride. Occasionally, if it is going to be a very hard ride, I will have a gel on the way out the door and then another at the 1 hour mark. That is only a few times a year though. Like others, I do try to be sure to top off the fuel levels the night before.

I make a batch of pancakes at the beginning of the week and just pull them out of the freezer as I go. I think the pancake mostly helps with keeping my drink or gel from irritating my stomach.

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