T Nation

Early Morning Gym Rats

I am asking for advice/help from all you guys who go the the gym very early in the morning. I recently changed jobs and have normal hours (8-5), I also go to school after work Mon through Thurs. By the time I get out of school/work my gym is closed. Its only going to be for the next month, but I can not accept not going to the gym for a full month. Here are my options + questions.
I can get up and make it to my gym by 5, then head back home eat and head to work. Alot of driving, and between driving all over the place, work, school I might get tired.
Another option is I could join the YMCA for a month which is right next to my house and not so far away.

Questions for you guys are:

  • Do you have a shake before you go to the gym in the morn?
  • If you go straight from the gym to work, what do you have for breakfast at work?
  • Anyone have a schedule like mine? If so how tired are you, and are you able to study.

Appreciate any help/info guys. One way or another I need to hit the gym, just wanted to hear your early morn experiences and how it effected your day/school/eating

I work out a couple times during the work in the morning before work.

My usual routine involves waking up at 5, slamming down a shake, taking the subway downtown and getting to the gym by 6:30. What I do is grab a cup of coffee and two bananas on the way in. I’ve experimented with Spike and Power Drive in the morning but I don’t really notice any difference.

Then a large serving of Surge right afterward.

My only advice is to make sure you get enough sleep the night before.

I feel for ya. For about 8 months I had to hit it at 4:30 AM. I hear a lot of people complain about how they can’t eat ANYTHING even liquid that early before a training session. For me it was no problem I had breakfast as usual at 4 and then trained. If you’re one of the ones that gets nauseous then wake up at 3:30-4:00 and have a large shake then return to bed for an hour or 2 so your body has something to work with before you train it. For the first 2 weeks my training was in a major slump then my body adjusted to the early mornings and everything went back to normal. The most important thing however is a proper warm-up. I’d go from a dead sleep to 450 lb squats an hour later so make sure your body is prepared or you will sustain injury’s.

[quote]Mr ian wrote:
I am asking for advice/help from all you guys who go the the gym very early in the morning. I recently changed jobs and have normal hours (8-5), I also go to school after work Mon through Thurs. By the time I get out of school/work my gym is closed. Its only going to be for the next month, but I can not accept not going to the gym for a full month. Here are my options + questions.
I can get up and make it to my gym by 5, then head back home eat and head to work. Alot of driving, and between driving all over the place, work, school I might get tired.
Another option is I could join the YMCA for a month which is right next to my house and not so far away.

Questions for you guys are:

  • Do you have a shake before you go to the gym in the morn?
  • If you go straight from the gym to work, what do you have for breakfast at work?
  • Anyone have a schedule like mine? If so how tired are you, and are you able to study.

Appreciate any help/info guys. One way or another I need to hit the gym, just wanted to hear your early morn experiences and how it effected your day/school/eating[/quote]

Hey ian,

I have a similar busy schedule as yourself. Lately I workout early morning (after I am awake) Monday through Friday.

It goes like this:

  1. I don’t drink a shake, but I have 20grams of BCAA’s about 30-45min before training
  2. I am able to eat my breakfast/PWOmeal at home…so I can’t help you on that one.
  3. I can get pretty tired, but napping for about 15-20 minutes after class seems to help “wake me up.” Also, since I train M-F, I have saturday and sunday (particularly in the mornings) to focus more on studying. Sometimes I’m a bit tired to wake up to train (since I can sometimes get only about 5-6 hours of sleep), but I just push myself to go the whole way.

One option you have is to train at home. Since it’s only a month, use single limb exercises for max strength, 2-limb exercises for endurance/hypertrophy, jump rope for conditioning. A good chinup bar costs about $20 and a weighted vest around $80-100.

Good luck on working through this month.

-ton

make food, and bring it to your gym. then shower and get ready at your gym. Its pretty fun getting ready at the gym after a good pump, then going to work

I think I might train Bi’s/ maybe tri’s at the house and maybe go to the YMCA Mon-Thurs and hit my gym on Fri to do chest, I will have to check out the Y to see what they have, I know they are not going to have the DB’s I need though.
Did you guys get discuraged at all?Thanks for the warm up info too man, I didnt think about that

E-man’s advice about warming up is solid. I dress really warm for my workouts now that I train early AM. I use (make shift) knee & elbow sleeves as well.

I also recommend eating something first. Before training AM, I never liked to eat during the hour before training. That doesn’t work in the morning. I have a shake right before.

Those points aside, I think you should just go to the Y. It’s only 1 month. You can go twice during the week and go to your regular gym on the weekends. The Y is ten bucks a pop if you just drop in. So, that would be 80 bucks for the month.

I’m still fairly new to this game but here’s my two cents.

It took me a week or two to adjust switching to an AM workout. Now I enjoy
it and it gets me mentally UP for work.

I strained a few things the first week or so until I learned to take a little extra time to warm up properly.

For a warm-up, I found that a combination of Good Mornings, Cleans, Overhead Presses, and Overhead Squats (with just the bar) really got my blood flowing and loosened up my joints.

I learned that solid foods did not sit well pre-workout, that early.

I pre-blend a shake the night before. (Milk, Oats, Peanut Butter, Honey, Protein Powder, and sometimes Carnations Instant Breakfast for some extra protein and fast digesting carbs.)

I make a double dose. One for pre and one for post.

If you can’t make it home after the workout, take some boiled eggs and fruit with you for a solid food breakfast.

Good luck with the change of schedule.

Bill Pearl worked out at 3 am for decades. Drink something that will raise your blood sugar about 15 minutes before your workout.

[quote]Mr ian wrote:
I am asking for advice/help from all you guys who go the the gym very early in the morning. I recently changed jobs and have normal hours (8-5), I also go to school after work Mon through Thurs. By the time I get out of school/work my gym is closed. Its only going to be for the next month, but I can not accept not going to the gym for a full month. Here are my options + questions.
I can get up and make it to my gym by 5, then head back home eat and head to work. Alot of driving, and between driving all over the place, work, school I might get tired.
Another option is I could join the YMCA for a month which is right next to my house and not so far away.

Questions for you guys are:

  • Do you have a shake before you go to the gym in the morn?
  • If you go straight from the gym to work, what do you have for breakfast at work?
  • Anyone have a schedule like mine? If so how tired are you, and are you able to study.

Appreciate any help/info guys. One way or another I need to hit the gym, just wanted to hear your early morn experiences and how it effected your day/school/eating[/quote]

I just switched to early morning also. The warmup is even more important to me and I take my time with it to make sure everything is ready to go. I actually like the morning sessions now that my body is used to them.

I usually eat a slice of whole wheat toast with Peanut butter on it and a glass of milk 30 minutes prior. That seems to stay down really well and give some energy during the workout. Then a protein shake and oatmeal afterwards. Had to change my schedule to go to bed earlier to get enough sleep.
Good Luck with it.

[quote]Mr ian wrote:
I am asking for advice/help from all you guys who go the the gym very early in the morning. I recently changed jobs and have normal hours (8-5), I also go to school after work Mon through Thurs. By the time I get out of school/work my gym is closed. Its only going to be for the next month, but I can not accept not going to the gym for a full month. Here are my options + questions.
I can get up and make it to my gym by 5, then head back home eat and head to work. Alot of driving, and between driving all over the place, work, school I might get tired.
Another option is I could join the YMCA for a month which is right next to my house and not so far away.

Questions for you guys are:

  • Do you have a shake before you go to the gym in the morn?
  • If you go straight from the gym to work, what do you have for breakfast at work?
  • Anyone have a schedule like mine? If so how tired are you, and are you able to study.

Appreciate any help/info guys. One way or another I need to hit the gym, just wanted to hear your early morn experiences and how it effected your day/school/eating[/quote]

I switched four years ago for the exact same reason as you. The effects on school and work were all positive, more energy throughout the day, and I just felt more mentally acute.

Good advice given so far. I just scramble a couple eggs as soon as I get up and have a little oatmeal to go with them. I workout around 5:30am, then shower up at the gym, drive to work, and have a shake and some fruit as soon as I get there.

One thing I sometimes do in the morning to warm up is take a hot shower before I head out. Going to bed early and getting enough sleep is essential though. I do not deadlift in the mornings, I save that for weekends when I can get in a little later. I make sure to warm up properly, and spend more time working up to my work sets, particularly with squats.

I am done with school now and continue to work out in the mornings for several reasons:

Great crew of people that I work out with, very dedicated, and always have good spotters.
Energy levels are elevated through out the day, it feels good to get something accomplished before most people are out of bed in the morning.

No gymbicils at that time in the morning
Gym is not crowded, nothing to wait on, and people are always willing to let you work in if on the rare occasion equipment is in use. I am a little spoiled now, I cannot stand to be in the gym when its crowded.

It did take a week or two to get used to working out at that time in the morning, my lifts went down initially, but came right back up again pretty quickly.

Good luck!

Thanks guys for all the really good advice. The YMCA is out of the question. They want $65. I know that may not seem like alot, but its not the right time, and I am not paying that for what they have. I think Iam going to try to do as much as I can out of my house, I have an Olym bar with 300lbs in plates, as well as a bench with preacher curl pad, and ez curl bar. I have a few walmart DB’s that can prob go up to 40 lbs. Not a whole lot but going to give it a try tomorrow morn. Try out Back/Bi’s. Kind of see your point on the Dead lift thing, So I am going to go lighter then usual. We’ll see what I can mix up to try to get done at the house, also the suggestion about Thurs-Sunday sounds like a REALLY good idea too. Its just for a month. Thanks alot everyone I appreciate the help.