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Meal Timing Help, Early Morning Workouts

Hi everyone! Last year I did the Getjacked online camp and had some good success with it, I could have done better though and am going to do it again in 2 starting Nov 4th. The biggest problem I had was meal timing. I pretty much have to go to the gym very early. The meals were scheduled as such, meal 1) meal 2) then pre workout, intra workout and peri workout. Then meal 4 and meal 5. I sometimes did my first meal as the pre wo, which felt pretty heavy for first thing early and couldn’t train as well…any suggestions? What do others do when the WO is really early?

The logical conclusion is to move the all the workout nutrition before meal 1.

I have no idea what this program is, but meal timing is overrated. If you want to train fasted then do that. If you want to eat a little before you train then do that.

If I train early (5am) then I’ll eat a Clif Builder’s Protein Bar or have a shake and banana. I make sure to get plenty of food post-workout but I don’t worry about getting up at 3am to eat before my 5am workout.

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I agree with @JMaier31, timing meals is overrated. I eat some sort of bar before my morning workouts. Unless I’m doing something with jumping and burpies, then I need an empty stomach.

Gregg Doucette had a video where he said meal timing is stupid.

I’m not familiar with this program either but I would say do what works best for you. Everyone is different. For me I have to have a full meal before my workout or I feel flat and out of energy. On the other hand my son has to work out on an empty stomach or he will throw up. For most people the post w/o meal is the most important.

Another vote on overrated meal timing. If you’re trying to improve body composition I think about the only real meal timing of importance is to get something in not too long after waking and not to soon before going to bed.

I’ll preface this with agreeing with the other replies that you have already received that for most people, nutrient timing is somewhat overrated and might be considered minutiae but add some additional remarks from my Get Jacked experience.’

See bottom of post for ideas how to time your carbohydrates when working out early in the AM.


First, allow me to point out that if you do the Get Jacked-bootcamp and you ask the coaches in the community they’ll help you adapt the program (within reason) to your situation. I’m not a coach, just… nerdy. So, when in doubt, ask them. Secondly, you mention that,

this is not strictly true. It is the example that is given in the provided materials along with the program, but it is just for illustration purposes.

In effect, if we extrapolate from the example that is given it provides a structure for how to allocate your carbs during the day. I’ll leave the exact percentages out while acknowledging that carbs are ingested in the first meal (presumably to blunt cortisol), and then even more carbs are consumed intra-workout and the remaining percentages are split pretty much equally across intra- and post-workout, respectively (trace carbs and veggies are allowed to be consumed outside this window).

Carbs are most beneficial around your workout. Why? They help in releasing insulin which is a hormone that simultaneously has an anabolic and anti-catabolic effect. This serves to build and spare muscle, but carbs also have an anti-lipolytic effect. What does that mean? It means that consuming carbs, which elevates insulin, makes your body temporarily incapable of releasing and burning fatty acids. This is true when an individual exhibits elevated blood insulin.

We want to time carbs around the workout to maximize anabolism, and anti-catabolism, while maintaining long periods of low insulin levels during the rest of the day to allow for additional lipolysis to happen (mobilization of stored body fat)

Additionally, leaving the insulin argument out of it, carbs are
useful in yet another sense. How so? Once carbs are
converted to glycogen in the cells, they also drive amino-acids into cells (I’ll confess, this is a corollary of the insulin arguments - it’s the hormone that allows nutrition to go into the muscle cells). But! Carbs will also help pull water into your cells. For every gram of carbohydrates that go into your muscle tissue, 2.7g or thereabouts of water follow.

Why does this matter? Well, what it entails is that it’ll volumize your cells and the more the cells are volumized, the more protein synthesis
occurs. Carbs will save proteins from oxidation and will allow
dietary proteins to be stored for muscle purposes.

I won’t go into how insulin overrides cortisol because frankly, I don’t understand the mechanism well enough to write about it without potentially being wrong.


I workout in the AM, with no time for a solid meal beforehand, and as such I’ve moved more carbohydrates into my intra-workout shake and my post-workout meal. Then, the remainder of my carbs are reserved for dinner to help me wind down. You might find, as your diet deepens, that you’d need to move carbohydrates to the end of your day to help you fall asleep anyway.

I essentially follow one of the outlines here, except I don’t have a pre-bed snack: https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/the-best-damn-diet-for-natural-lifters so my take is as follows,

Training Early Morning (No Time For Breakfast)

  • Workout: Protein and carbs
  • Breakfast: Protein and carbs
  • Lunch: Protein and fats
  • Snack: Protein and fats
  • Dinner: Protein and carbs

Off-topic remark: My performance is better when I can have a solid meal before my workout, and slot the majority of my carbohydrates in beforehand, and splitting the remainder across intra-/post-workout. However, I also feel less mentally sharp when doing so, even to the point of being slightly less motivated in the gym - so the performance increase is physiological. Furthermore, I consider that scenario to be preferable nutritionally as most of my carbohydrates can be had from whole food sources then as opposed to powdered carbs. But, ultimately, the layout as posted above grants me the most enriching life because when I have dinner (usually with othe people) I don’t want to forgo carbs, and getting to relax and wind-down properly after a long day is worth the small detriment to performance as far as I’m concerned.

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This is awesome, thanks!