Questions for people who start exercising between 4:00 and 5:30 a.m.

Posted on 19-01-2019 , by: Nancy Clark , in , , , 27 Comments

I am interested in learning more about if, what, how and when early morning exercisers eat. If you start your training between the hours of 4:00 and 5:30 a.m., thanks for answering these questions in the comments area below:

  1. Do you eat and/or drink anything before your early morning workout?
  2. If your answer is no, why do you not eat? drink?
  3. If your answer is yes, what and how much do you eat? (If you know the amount of calories, super.) What do you drink?
  4. How soon before starting exercise do you eat? That is, do you get up 60 minutes early to allow time to eat? Do you eat a granola bar 5 minutes before your run?
  5. How do you eat: nibbling on an energy bar in the car on the way to the boat house? standing in the kitchen, quickly eating a banana? relaxed at the table, while reading the newspaper? Do you brew your own coffee or pick up a coffee on the way to the gym?
  6. If you have switched from being a non-eater before exercise to being an eater, what influenced that switch?

Just curious…


Sample response: I always eat at least 300-400 calories before I workout at the gym. I typically have an English Muffin with peanut butter and a coffee with extra milk about 15 minutes before I start to exercise. I eat this while checking my emails. I get up early to allow time to fuel; I’ve learned it helps keep me from getting lightheaded and have a better workout.

27 Comments found

  1. I always have a medium banana with about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 cup of water. I’ll eat this at 5:15 am standing in my kitchen before heading out to run at 5:30 am. I run anywhere from 5-10 miles.

  2. I get up at 4:30 and am off for my run at 4:45. I do not eat or drink anything before I run. I don’t eat or drink because I don’t tolerate it well and it is too early for me to even consider it. I don’t feel like I need it and I do try to eat a high carb snack before I go to bed (usually around 9:00 p.m.).

  3. Do you eat and/or drink anything before your early morning workout? If I plan on a hard workout or running for over an hour.

    If your answer is yes, what and how much do you eat? (If you know the amount of calories, super.) What do you drink? If I am running, I drink a glass of orange or tart cherry juice, along with a cup of tea. If I am biking or lifting, I will eat a date energy bite or a banana.

    How soon before starting exercise do you eat? That is, do you get up 60 minutes early to allow time to eat? Do you eat a granola bar 5 minutes before your run? If I am running over 10 miles, I’ll wake up 60 minutes beforehand and eat rice cakes, pb and banana. If I am running less, biking, or lifting, I will have a glass of juice and tea 20 minutes before.

    If you have switched from being a non-eater before exercise to being an eater, what influenced that switch? I used to not eat when running for about an hour in the morning since I have a sensitive stomach. I switched to at least having some juice, which seems to help for the last 10 minutes or so of my run.

  4. I get up between 4:30-4:45 every weekday morning to train and do not eat or drink anything before I begin. If my session is under 1 hour, I will have water. If it is more than 1 hour, I will drink Nuun. The only change to this is on very long bike rides when I will nibble on a bar during the ride or before races when I will eat and drink water beforehand. My stomach doesn’t do well with food in it when training. For a few years I did eat before training, but often had reflux or cramps.

  5. I wake up at 4:30 for a 5 am work out. I consume 180 cal from a half a bottle of boost plus about 15 to 30 minutes before my work out. I do a full hour of strength training, with active rests of cardio. My workout last an hour. Moderate to high intensity workout.

  6. I wake up @ 4:30a and consume 180 cals from a 1/2 bottle of boost plus,~ 15-30 min before I workout @ 5am. My workout is a full hour of strength training with active rests of cardio.

  7. If I’m going to be running more than an hour, I’ll eat a mini kind bar (100cal) while getting ready. I’ll eat it around 5 and I’ll start running by 5:15. If its less than an hour then I don’t bother to eat anything

  8. I get up most days at 4:00am and I’m out the door for my run by 4:30am. I usually drink 6-8 oz of Gatorade 10-15 minutes before running. I also eat a snack just before bed, usually a banana with peanut butter and a glass of whole milk, which helps me feel good during my morning run.

  9. I do not eat before exercise because there isn’t enough time between taking synthroid and starting my workout. I generally have some coffee with a splash of milk on my drive to the gym/track. I eat breakfast (oatmeal) at my desk about an hour after finishing my workout.

  10. I swim at 5am a few times each week. For swims of an hour or less I only have water before/during. Over an hour I’ll drink some UCAN with protein before. I have my usual breakfast of oats with almonds, some fruit, and almond milk within a few hours of finishing the swim (once I’m at work). On days where I run or cycle, I tend to start later so I can eat and digest my oatmeal fist.

  11. I wake up at 5:15am and work out at 5:30am. I drink about 16oz of water prior, but I do not eat anything. This is because eating right before working out tends to give me GI discomfort (reflux mostly, also stomach cramps). I never feel that I need to eat to have a better work out so I don’t bother. Typically if I work out later in the day after I’ve had a meal I don’t feel as good during exercise even if an hour has passed since my last meal. I drink water during my work out and eat breakfast within an hour of finishing.

  12. Hi Nancy. If I work out before 6:00 am, it’s either a run or a session of HIIT. I only have coffee first, brewed at home, 2 cups, 1/2 tsp sugar plus half and half per cup. If I do a long run starting after 6:00 am I’ll get up an hour early and have an English muffin with PB and jelly. And coffee. If I don’t have time for th PB&J, I’ll eat 1/2 a bar, 150 kcal and 10 g PRO, 20 g CHO. Then supplement with Gu or Gatorade chews.

  13. I have tried many combinations as I would tell others it’s important to fuel your workout. But I get up 30 mins before my workout so I found it’s not enough tome to allow digestion- I start regurgitating, burping and it generally interferes with my workout. I found a small glass of low-fat milk works best. And overall making sure I’m well hydrated has ensured better workouts than eating prior to.

  14. Yes, I eat a quick snack. It is typically something around 150 calories- granola or energy bar, dried fruit, piece of calorie dense bread. I eat my quick snack in the house before I leave for the gym. I’m usually eating while walking around and getting ready to go.
    I try to eat about a half hour before starting exercise. Sometimes it is only 15 minutes.

  15. 1.) I will have a cup of coffee, nothing to eat.
    2.) My stomach can’t handle food before a workout.

  16. Depends on the workout. They range from bike trainer alone, bike trainer prior to weight lifting, weight lifting alone, yoga alone or yoga then weightlifting. I dont eat anything unless prior to weightlifting and I’ll only eat then because I can’t take my pre-workout without something in my stomach. All I’ll eat then is some bread, always a specialty, between 150-300 cal.

    My gym is in my basement so no drive time, just 14 steps. I’ll eat then workout with little time in between, enough to stoke the fire and set up the mat.

  17. I’ll get up 45 mins early and eat 1 piece of toast with pb and banana, and coffee to drink .

  18. I usually only drink black coffee before. Make it myself at home. Just not hungry first thing in the morn and don’t want to mess with making food. Occasionally will have half of a Clif Builder bar or a hastily made pb&j (one piece of bread folded).

    Whether I eat or not, it takes me at least a half hour to get everything ready, get dressed, visit the facility, and get myself out the door.

    I can lift or run a couple hours without eating anything and be just fine, and I can eat something immediately before running and not have any discomfort. I’m good either way.

  19. I do not eat before I hit my training in the morning during the week. On Saturday morning I typically have my oatmeal a couple of hours before I do my long run for the week but I also wait for the sun to come up after eating so that is about 2 hours between meal and training. I simply do not want to eat that early in the day. I do eat oatmeal with a scoop of whey and pumpkin puree in it with coffee directly after my training when I get home.

  20. No. Typical morning is 4 miles at 4:45am and I don’t eat because any thinking beyond getting dressed that early might warrant crawling back in bed, lol.
    Post workout is two eggs, half an avocado with two slices of whole wheat bread.

  21. I always eat before I exercise. I have a plant based protein drink (I can’t do lactose or casein) 170 calories, 28 f protein and 10 carbs mixed with water and highly branched cyclic dextrin which is 29 carbs. I drink 2/3 of the 24 oz drink in the car about 20 min before getting to the crossfit gym. I drink the last 1/3 immediately following the workout. I never use to eat prior to a workout but started following RP food plan which required it. I wake up at 3:40 and get to the gym by 4:20. I work on skills from 4:30 to 5:15. Then do a WOD from 5:30-6:30

  22. 1. Do you eat and/or drink anything before your early morning workout? Yes, I typically eat two boiled eggs, grits or oatmeal, and a piece of fruit. Some days I add a muffin. About 255 calories for the eggs and fruit. I eat the oatmeal or grits at and the eggs in the kitchen while my tea brews. I can’t drink caffeine so I have water and hot tea.
    I get up at 4:00am and exercise begin exercise at 5:00 -5:30

  23. I usually eat half a banana (about 50 calories) at the house before I teach BodyPump at 5:30am M/W or 5:45am BodyCombat. This is 30 minutes before. Before a 5:15am Fri Cycling class, I don’t have anything, but think I need to. Just don’t like the idea of getting up any earlier. 😉 Thanks!

  24. Weekdays, I usually wake up 30 minutes before my 60-minute workout, so I can relax with 2 cups of coffee with sugar and eat either a gel, banana, or 2 fig Newton’s so I have 150 to 175 calories before I bike on my trainer at home. I consume another 250-330 calories of Infinit during the workout. I get up early to allow time to fuel and clear my G.I tract. Having enough fuel is critical if I am doing VO2 Max intervals or threshold work. If I don’t fuel, I struggle to hit my targets.

  25. Do you eat and/or drink anything before your early morning workout? – One cup of black coffee

    If your answer is no, why do you not eat? drink? Time restricted, 4:30 wake up is early enough and I can survive okay without food for 60 minutes. I’ll have peanut butter on toast once I get home, sometime an egg on toast.

  26. 1 yes
    2 NA
    3 A small banana with 1 1/2 tsp natural PB, ~1/3 to 1/2 cup black coffee
    4 Eat about 1 hr before exercise. Don’t wake up early to exercise. Exercise that early because since menopause I wake up around 03:30 and used to bike commute to work, now different job and cannot bike commute ride trainer before work
    5 at the kitchen table, eat first while coffee brewing
    6 used to try to just drink coffee but started eating too years ago for better stimulation of gastrocolic reflex and found can train harder

  27. Usually have a small roll and piece or piece of bagel with honey or preserves 30 mins before run. 200 calories. Have coffee and water, but in summer lot more water. Eat reading emails and doing some seated stretches. Have been doing this for years.

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