T Nation

Pre-Morning Workout Food


I’m one of those people who like to train very soon after waking up. I usually have 30-60 minutes between me waking up and actually starting the warm up set in the gym (because it’s like 2 minute walk from home). This means I tend to train either on empty stomach or possibly a cup of coffee to wake me up a little if I feel too sluggish in the morning.

This has been working out just fine but after hopping on a more demanding program I have noticed my energy going down the drain towards the second half of the workout. I’d like to remedy that and the most logical solution to me seems to be eating something before I go train. However, I feel like most foods are out of the question since the time window I would have between eating and training is not enough for the digestive process to take place.

The only solution I see is having a protein shake and hoping for the best. Are there other alternatives?


I get up at 0445, eat 2 pieces of toast with raw honey, and start lifting at 0500. You should be able to adapt.


Breakfast cereals, fruits, or carb powders (dextrose, waxy maize) are pretty quick to digest.

So as Protein shakes & BCAA’s.


I just recently added a banana to my pre-workout routine. I am up at 445, as well. On the treadmill to get my heart pumping by 515. Very ripe bananas have quickly digested carbs, so I’ve read.


I have also been down this path. As soon as I changed my program to a more anaerobic workout, coffee just could not cut it.
What currently is working for me.
Carbion is a supplement that taste great and has a decent amount of carbs you can consume pre and during your workout.
I would also eat quite a bit of carbs the night before (generally low glycemic) when I know I have an anaerobic training session the following day.
On the contrary, if your doing a cardio/aerobic session you want your body to utilize the stored fat in your body as energy. Ideally the coffee and fruit would be best.


This is what I do as well. Coffee and a banana works great.


Bcaa product in green tea


Coffee + 2 scoops Plazma. Never fails.


Espresso, blueberries sprinkled with cinnamon, and occasionally a small slice of my GF’s “nuts, seeds and honey” slice.

BCAA’s once I get to the gym.



In a situation like that, you either can wake up earlier for a meal, or the second option is to utilize something ideal like cyclic dextrin/BCAA.

Cyclic dextrin is fantastic having a low osmalality, going through the stomach to be digested and utilized rather than having to sit in your stomach and make you feel bloated like other carbs.


This may be a dumb question, but how do BCAAs help with energy for a workout? Are there specific ones to look for?


Theres not much between them just find one that you find refreshing, Xtend and humapro have been popular on these boards.
Some people respond very well to ‘Leucine heavy’ amino drinks also…


@jonkovach: Not entirely sure if BCAAs actually do much for myself, but from what I understand is that prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue into their small components (BCAA).

Im not sure if it would help with providing you with any “energy”. If you feel your lacking energy I would eat more at your last meal the night before.



Really it works?


Yes, a banana and coffee work great for me. Now, I personally don’t take BCAA’s, pre-work PLAZMA, cyclodextrins, etc… I have in the past tried these (or similar), but I transitioned to eating whole foods and cutting out all isolated supplements. You know what I found? I felt better, looked better, and saved a lot of money. I enjoy a cup of good quality coffee, ripe fruit (maybe a handful of raw nuts if needed), and it adds to the enjoyment of life. When I was slamming down artificially flavored raspberry pre-workout powder, it did not enhance my life in any way.


Before my morning workouts I love Garuka bars (google them), they’re made with raw honey, peanuts, peanut butter, cranberries, whole grain flakes, etc. Taste good, good energy. If you don’t want to spend the money, I’ll sometimes buy the ingredients individually and mix them all together in a Tubberware or Pyrex and refrigerate until I need them. Works great for me, but depending how much you eat, it can be a little heavy. Just an idea!


For those drinking coffee in the morning - have you ever tried Kimera Koffee? I have heard good things about it.


An hour before- hot rox, tuna, apple,

Before I leave the house- plazma and drink it all the way through the workout. My workouts have felt great since I’ve been doing this


Like canned tuna? You, sir, are impressive to get and keep that down first thing in the morning.


They’re flavored packets that taste a lot more fresh than canned tuna. And they actually taste delicious. I don’t usually like tuna at all,but I get the flavored ones (BBQ is especially good) and it doesn’t actually taste a whole bunch like tuna. Plus it’s a dollar lol