For some, the thought of eating a full breakfast before a 6am workout is too much to stomach. And as someone whose appetite has always been a little slow to wake up, I get it.
On a normal workout day, say a casual 3-4 mile run or 30 minutes of cardio at the gym, holding off on breakfast until after doesn’t phase me a bit. But for these longer, more intense marathon training runs, I know I’ll be in trouble if I take the same approach.
When thinking about fuel for those more aggressive early morning workouts, small portions and simple carbs are best. Aim to get in 100-200 calories within 30-60 minutes of starting. Adding a little protein and/or fat is great but keep in mind that, because these are slower to digest, overdoing it can lead to cramps, or worse…
That reminds me. Hold off on any high fiber foods until after too.
To help wrap my head around the idea of eating a mini-breakfast at 5:30am tomorrow, I put together a quick list of super simple foods to fuel an early morning workout.
All of these baby-sized breakfasts take less than 5 minutes to assemble, and probably even less than that to eat.
A whole wheat English muffin with nut butter. Toast, smear, eat and enjoy. Eat half or have it all depending on what you feel you’re going to need.
Avocado toast with sea salt. Mash the avocado while your bread is toasting and top it off with some flaky sea salt. YUM.
A 1/2 cup of yogurt and some yummy granola. Skip the fat-free and low-calorie yogurt, mmmkay? A little fat and sugar is good before a morning workout! Go for regular, vanilla, or whatever flavor tickles your tastebuds’ fancy.
A 1/2 cup of Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit. So simple but so good! Especially with pineapple.
Applesauce, a banana or even a packet of pureed baby food. You know, for when it’s a grab and go kinda morning. I’m not gonna lie, those packets of pureed sweet potato are pretty good.
Oh, and after your workout, don’t forget to follow up with plenty of fluids and a more substantial breakfast afterwards. A 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein within 30-60 minutes of finishing your workout is great for muscle recovery.
Over the next couple weeks I’ll be experimenting with some yummy whole food alternatives to power gels and blocks during my long runs. If you have any favorites I’d love some ideas!
Have a great day, friends!
How’s your pre-workout appetite? What’s your go-to fuel food?