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Your alarm goes off early in the morning, and instead of snoozing, you decide to get up and go straight to the gym. However, halfway through your training session, you start losing strength and feeling sick to your stomach. This is most often due to not eating anything before your workouts.
It all looks so effortless in movies and TV shows – news anchors get up at half past three every morning, exercise, get ready, then work their fingers to the bone until 7 pm, and somehow survive. You may feel motivated to try, but you'll soon realize it's not as easy as it seems.
If you have a habit of skipping breakfast before workouts, read on to find out why it's not such a good idea and what you could eat before your training sessions to avoid sickness and loss of energy – and somehow manage to push through the busy day.
Why You Should Eat Before Workout
Perhaps, you figured that exercising on an empty stomach may help you burn fat faster and improve your performance. However, studies suggest otherwise – no snack or breakfast before training will hinder your performance in certain types of exercises.
This is because your blood sugar levels drop after a long night without food, making you feel sluggish and tired in the morning. Food is our fuel. Carbohydrates are especially important pre-workout because we draw energy from them. When you do more intense exercises or have longer workout sessions, it's simply necessary to have a small carb-based breakfast or snack before.
However, eating right before training can cause an upset stomach since the food may not be digested properly. Also, you simply might not have enough time for breakfast early in the morning or have no appetite whatsoever.
No worries, here are several early breakfast ideas for your morning workouts that are light enough but will give you enough strength and energy.
What to Eat Before Morning Workout
The food you might want to go for before working out in the morning will depend on your personal preferences as well as the intensity and length of your training sessions. However, some general rules of thumb would be to:
- Go for fast-digesting carbs: In the morning, you'll need something that will digest fast, give you bouts of energy, and not linger in your stomach for long;
- Avoid too much fat: Fat will take much longer to digest – so avoid peanut butter toast pre-workout;
- Add protein: Having protein-based meals before and after a workout will give you strength and help rebuild muscle tissue.
And finally, here are ten pre-workout breakfast ideas that dietitians recommend:
A classic bowl of oats is always a good idea. It's packed with good carbs that will give you enough energy for your morning workout. Plus, there are endless variations and additions to make it more appetizing for no-appetite mornings, like berries, bananas, fruit yogurt, and protein powder. Also, soaking your oats overnight in yogurt will make them much easier to digest.
Smoothies with fruit, honey, yogurt, and almond milk are a great meal replacement for all of you having a hard time eating early in the morning. Blend some almond milk, banana slices, berries, honey, and a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, and you'll get a quick and tasty bomb snack, perfect for lighter training sessions.
Bananas and dates are easy to digest, and they are full of slow-releasing carbs and sugars that won't spike your blood sugar levels. Instead, they will give you a steady energy supply and enough fuel for 30 to 60-minute workout sessions.
#4: Granola Bars
For all the busy bees, having a quick granola bar snack before a workout might be a very appealing option. It's tasty, healthy, doesn't require any preparation, and will give you enough energy for workouts of medium intensity. In addition, it's a perfect snack to have on your way to the gym.
#5: Rice Cakes
Another ready-made snack to grab while running out the door. If you have a bit more time on your hands, have them with sliced banana or strawberries, as well as yogurt, some hummus, or avocado spread. This way, you'll get a fast and light meal packed with healthy fats, sugars, and carbs.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is an excellent early morning meal. It's rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics that will give you some energy boost without being heavy on the stomach. Plus, there's an endless possibility of mix-ins since yogurt has a pretty neutral taste and goes with almost anything. So, for more sweetness, you can have it with banana slices, strawberries, figs, cornflakes, and/or peaches, as well as some honey.
Bagels are a carb-packed and pretty delicious snack to have plain first thing in the morning. However, if you have several minutes to spare, you can top it off with an egg and avocado spread. That way, you'll be adding some extra protein and healthy fats and have a really nutritious pre-workout snack.
#8: Avocado Toast
You can't go wrong with a classic avocado toast. Avocados are chock-full of healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins – everything your body needs for a good workout and post-workout recovery. Add a piece of whole-grain bread into the mix, and you'll get a hearty snack with plenty of healthy carbs too.
Hands down, eggs make for a perfect snack before your workout in the morning – both scrambled and sunny side up – as long as you have them at least one hour before. This is because they are rich in protein your body needs for an energy boost and faster muscle recovery. However, steer clear of hard-boiled eggs as these are quite heavy on the stomach and will take longer to digest.
#10: Whole Grain Crackers
Whole-grain crackers, with some banana, hummus, or cottage cheese on the side, are easily digestible and filled with energy-boosting carbs. As long as you don't overdo it, they should be just filling enough not to cause you any discomfort while exercising.
Except for eggs, all of these meals are made up of fast-digesting carbs that won't weigh you down but will give you the boost of much-needed energy throughout your workout. However, each individual's nutritional needs are different. So, it's best to listen to your body and choose the foods it likes best. In the end, you need to feel good and satisfied to get the most out of your training sessions.
What is the best thing to eat before an early morning workout?
It would be best to eat something that digests quickly, and that will give you enough energy for your workout. Some quick snacks for an early morning workout could be a smoothie, granola bar, rice cakes, or some fruit like bananas or dates.
What should I eat 30 minutes before a morning workout?
Have some ready-made easily-digestible snacks that you can quickly grab half an hour before a workout. Those could be rice cakes or whole grain crackers with some hummus spread or avocado.
Is it OK to work out in the morning on an empty stomach?
For some people, it's OK; for others, it's hard to work out on an empty stomach. Having no fuel in your tank may cause you to lose energy quickly, making it impossible to finish your training session. Also, you might get dizzy due to the lack of sugar in your blood.
What should you not eat before a morning workout?
You should avoid eating foods that take longer to digest, like boiled eggs, greasy foods like fast foods, as well as high-fiber foods. These will make you feel full and uncomfortable, and you might not be able to do all the exercises you want to do.
How do I get the energy to work out in the morning?
To get enough energy for your morning workout and ready your body for exercise, try having a light snack that's rich in fast-digesting carbs. Those could be a banana, a small avocado toast, or rice cakes with hummus.