T Nation

That Early Morning Pump


Lately, I've switched to training to early in the mornings. Been at this for the past 3-4 weeks. I feel like my body has mostly adapted, strength-wise, but I notice a substantial difference in the "pump" during my work out, in that I don't really get a good pump going like I can when training later in the day. Is there a specific reason for this? Lack of sodium? Dehydration? Not enough carbohydrates or something else I might be missing?

For all you early morning trainers, do you notice the same thing? Any tips on achieving a solid pump early in the morning?

Due to a lack of appetite early in the mornings, I just stick with a shake and then head off to the gym. This is what it looks like:

Upon waking: 100-200 mg Caffeine, Vitamin D
30-45 min Pre-workout: 12 ounces milk, 1 scoop whey protein, 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Peri-workout: 50 grams of carbohydrates (in the form of Gatorade powder)

Any insight would be appreciated!


I wake up and am lifting within an hour. Upon waking, I usually immediately drink a shake of about 70g dextrose and 50g whey, and eat a handful of peanuts. So about 45 mins before lifting.

I don't have a problem getting a pump, I haven't worked out in the afternoon for a while so I don't know if the pump is any worse.

I would try having some carbs before the workout. Your getting some during, but I think replacing the milk with some carb powder might be worth a shot.


You most certainly are carrying less water in the morning than in the evening, so I'd try hydrating more.


I hate working out in the mornings. Can't wait until it cools down so I can work out at nights again lol...


carbs + salt + water IMO gives a huge pump
when I lift early in the morning it's

wake early, have caffeine immediately (cold coffee or caffeine pills)
have a protein shake or something light on the way out

I don't think it matters too much. When I was in HS I made sure to get some fast carbz and protein first thing, but it was more of a hassle than a boon. I think the best solution would be to go to bed carbed up.


Translation: Eat ice cream before you crash.


i train early mornings. in the gym 10min after waking, sip on BCAAs throughout the workout, and have no problem with getting a pump.
used to have a preworkout with caffeine, beta alanine and creatine which helped get me going before i was in the habit of waking early, but don't use it any more as i don't feel that its necessary.
i always drink heaps of water so am generally well hydrated even first thing in the morning


try get your hands on some Plazma or cyclic dextrin


When you train in the morning it is the last meal of the DAY BEFORE that will influence your pump. Your late night dinner the night before has to be very high in carbs, I used to train at 4am and know exactly what you mean regarding the lack of pump. It was actually a tip from Charles Glass to eat a huge meal at about 9pm and then go to sleep (or be asleep by 10, he said). I'd get up at 3:45, take a dump (sorry), have some water and coffee and during the session I had Gatorade with protein powder.

Pumps were mind blowing. Breakfast was low fat, high carb, high protein and rest of the day was low carb...

hope that helps a bit.


Why cold coffee?


I do agree with the water, salt and carbs point.

I wake up and work out within the first hour - Having a decent sized carb meal with plenty of added sodium, plus a fair amount of water beforehand - and boom, easily achieved. Also, I make it a point to get plenty of high(ish) rep warm-up sets before actually going in and getting to it, and REALLY emphasizing squeezing the muscles during my warm-ups.


Thanks for the tips everyone:

Will definitely be having a high-carb meal before going to bed. I'll drink more water in the morning and try to get more carbs in before heading off to the gym.

Does anyone have suggestions for a somewhat high-carb breakfast that's quick digesting? Problem is I don't have too much of an appetite in the mornings, and when I force feed myself I can feel it coming back up during my workout...


Fruit Juices, fresh fruit, or cereal.