Question

Healthy Eating For Athletes

For an early morning workout what should I eat?

A Answers (3)

  • It is important to eat a pre-workout or morning snack before you ride. After a night of fasting, replenishing energy stores is a great way to make these early morning workouts worthwhile. Ideally, these snacks should be heavy in carbohydrates. Eating eggs might be a bit of an over-kill in the protein department, just in that protein does slow down digestion and absorption of a meal. The point of this snack is to raise blood glucose levels to get you through your training session (which carbohydrates alone will do) and I imagine you don’t want to have to wake up too much earlier to ensure that your meal is completely digested and you’re ready to go at 7am. If your rides do not last longer than an hour to an hour and a half, a small snack is really all that’s needed (~200-300 Calories). The body has enough energy stored in blood and liver glycogen stores to sustain activity for about one hour's worth of activity. Anything under one hour of activity should not require supplementing Calories, and should really only focus on proper hydration. I would recommend eating a carbohydrate rich morning snack, as well as carrying a sports drink along with you on your ride. This will help encourage hydration during hot and humid days, as well as supplying the electrolytes (mostly sodium) that you may be losing through sweat.
  • Eat whatever you feel comfortable with as long as you eat something. Everyone's body will react differently to different foods specifically early in the morning. On a personal note, I used to get s tomach ache everytime I ate early in the morning. So I started small with just a piece of bread and eventually worked my way up to a couple eggs, toast and some fruit.

    The most important thing is to just eat something so you can awaken your body from a long night of being shut down without any food.
  • Some good foods to eat early in the morning include complex carbohydrates (fruits and whole grains are best) and protein such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt. These foods will give you the energy that you need without upsetting your stomach.

    (This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
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