T Nation

Early Morning Lifters

Good morning all. I have a question for you early morning lifters. What would you consider your must-have supplements for an early AM workout?

I have always been a later afternoon/early evening lifter but a new schedule has put a stop to that. For the last month I’ve been at the gym when they open the doors at 6am. I’m really liking the early AM thing, but I just don’t feel like the intensity is there. Never really been an early riser so getting up at 4am so I’m fully pumped at 6 just isn’t going to be an option.

Right now I’m up around 5:15 with a little mobility work and then off to the gym. Since I’m rarely hungry that early, I’ll have a bowl of oatmeal or a banana if anything at all. I know I should be having something pre-workout but honestly I’ve been off the supplement train for a while and cooking my typical breakfast that early isn’t happening.

As I’ve gotten older (mid-thirties) I find that I’m less interested in drinking all of my meals. My diet is pretty solid, just lacking the multiple Biotest jugs that used to fill the cabinets. So without buying up 100 different sups, what would you early AM guys not go without?

I’m at the gym most mornings at 5:30am. I’d go earlier if I could, but this is when they open. Never used to be a morning lifter, but I will never go back.

I usually have some type of peri-workout shake as soon as I wake up.

Also, stimulants. Caffeine, Ephedrine, and a pre-workout powder that has creatine, beta-alanine, and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine.

I will put more of the pre-workout powder in my water bottle for the gym, and also some BCAAs for good measure.

I lift first thing in the morning.

These days (for the past few weeks and for long stretches throughout my training years), the only thing I have is a double espresso.

I give myself a full hour in the gym, so even if I start out moving a bit slow, I feel like I can get enough quality work done by the end of the hour.

My first meal is usually a nice, big breakfast, but I don’t stress about when that happens…usually within about an hour after my workout.

I switched over to morning in September. I do save heavy squat or deadlift workouts for mid mornings on the weekend. I get up about 6:00 am and have a shake with 2 scoops whey protein, 1/2 cup oatmeal, and frozen fruit. I then help get the baby ready and usually have time for some lacrosse ball and foam roller work. I start working out about 7:30 am and have some anaconda/mag10 during the workout. It took some getting used to but I now really like the morning workouts. I get to work around 9:15 and have a huge breakfast, veggie omlet, fruit, bagel with peanut butter.

I haven’t yet tried taking any Caffeine or Spike prior to a morning workout.

I was never an early riser either. I used to get up about 8am. I think having the hour and a half between waking and working out gets me ready to go. If possible I would see if you could go to bed a little earlier and get up a little earlier and get a meal in before training.

If I have to train early morning, usually all I have is a black coffee or espresso shot. Obviously, everyone is different but I never notice any bad effects from training on an empty stomach.

What I do notice is that if I train within an hour of eating, I burp constantly and always feel like I’m about to see that meal again :frowning:

I’ve converted to mornings.
I usually have an espresso shot and about a litre of water.
I snack on some raisins as I walk to the gym, and drink bccas while I workout.

My tip is to do mobility work in the evenings, so that when you wake up early a quick mobility routine will suffice, as you have already done a quality mobility session the night before.


Double shot coffee with a tbs of extra virgin coconut oil and two tbs of full cream


I grew up an athlete and we trained early mornings as well as afternoons every weekday. For whatever reason, I always felt stronger in the morning sessions. More than ten years later, I’m still training before work each day and can’t always muster up the same energy in the late afternoon when I’m forced to lift after work.

Strategic caffeine consumption is your friend: take/drink enough to make you alert but not so much that you’ll crash in the afternoon. Vitamin C for pre/post-workout cortisol management is also an idea.