T Nation

AM Workouts

I work out early AM to better fit my schedule. I like the discipline of getting it done first thing and not having to worry about getting one in after work or late in the evening. For those that do the same, do you have any advice that maximizes sleep and/or improves your AM workout? Currently, I wake up at 4:30 AM and immediately drink a cup of coffee and eat half a Balance Bar. I like to get a little something in my gut, but not too much to make me hurl during my workout. I then drink 12-16 oz. of water. Sounds weird, but it makes me more alert and it seems after a long fast, the body needs to be hydrated. At 5:00 I take an ECA hit and then start a 15 minute stretching session. Around 5:15-5:30, I start my warmups for my workout. Because I get up so early, it is hard to get more than 6-7 hours of sleep. Any critique or suggetsions would be welcome. Thanks folks!

Check out the archives of this site for Poliquin’s article on “preparing for the ultimate workout”. You’ll find everything you are looking for!

I understand that you want to eat light before training, but regardless of your goals, you need more cals before training. Go ahead a splurge on the whole balance bar. And perhaps a scoop of protein in water or skim milk might also serve you well.

Have you tried to catch a nap, even if it is for only 15 minutes.

My favourite mix is Powerdrive, Ribo c and 2 MD 6, right when I get up. I do 5 - 10 min of cardio warmup and 15 - 20 of stretching. Then the cocktail starts to kick in. Seems to work for me. I now follow the workout with a Surge drink - which I LOVE. I should most likely get some other carbs in earlier, but I would have to get up a hour early, have 200 cals and go back to bed. BTW - Ian King thinks that most of the gains come in RESTING so you might be defeating yourself with 6 - 7 hours of sleep. Just a thought.

Try some sort of secretogogue product to induce a more restful sleep

Thanks everyone. I posted a response yesterday, but it somehow didn’t make it in this thread. JH, I reread Poloquin’s advice. His food intake within an hour of working out would not make me popular at the gym when I redecorate the walls. I guess I have always had a sensitive gut when it comes to eating before exercise/sports. If you are just waking up, would it be better to break your fast with something more quickly and easily digested like a shake? With beef and eggs in your gut, it seems it would take some serious digestion before and during a workout, and this would require more blood flow to your gut. When you lifted and diverted the blood from your gut to your muscles, this would make you nauseous. Perhaps a combination of the ideas is to awaken 2 hours before a workout, slam a quick pre-made shake, then back to bed for one more hour before getting up again, getting some coffee, stretching and ECA in. Would it be best to follow Poloquin’s advice and eat a no-carb shake before my workout? Perhaps Advanced Protein, water and Udo’s Choice oil? And dave and Jay, rest is definitely a concern and difficulty for me. I am trying my hardest to get 7+ hours, but life happens. Rest may well be the missing link to those massive gains that allude me. I am 6’1" and at about 11% BF, I consistently hover around 200 pounds, +/- 5 pounds. When I go too much above 200, it’s mostly fat. I am continuing to tinker with diet, loving the Massive Eating ideas from JohnB (thank you!), and will continue to try to get more rest. Thanks for the help folks. Any more ideas as to zero carb meals before the AM workout?

I usually recommend low carb meals before training for weightlifters (if you are eating about 1 hour before). Personally I train around 9 so lately I have 6 egg whites, 1 piece of fat free cheese, teaspoon flax oil, 1 cup of veggies and 1 scoop of protein in water. It’s light and tastes good.

Also, if you sip a diluted carb drink during training, it should help keep your energy and intensity up. I like a 50-50 mix of dextrose and malto or just some gatorade. For a 200lb guy, 30-40g of carbs would be good.