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morning workout fuel suggestions?

i start a new job in roughly a month, which will significantly shuffle my workout schedule. i would like to run before i go to work, but such an endeavor inevitably requires you to have a good amount of energy quickly after you wake up.

so what i need are suggestions from you chowhounders: what do you eat to quickly have something on your stomach, refuel your body's energy, and get going in the morning? i'm planning on waking up at roughly 6am, and will only have an hour or so for whatever i eat to settle and give me some energy to burn.

my morning runs are intense--usually 1-1.5 hours, sometimes with some lifting--and so it will need to be quite a special breakfast (quick, easy on the stomach, energy-providing).

any help?

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  1. Egg whites, a banana or a Tablespoon of peanut butter?
    Everyone I talk to says you don't need to eat before your workouts, it's more important to eat after them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rabaja

      i wake up pretty hungry, and i definitely need the energy pre-workout. i have also read that the post workout snack is really important, but if i didn't put something on my stomach first thing in the morning before a 1.5 hour run i don't think i'd be able to finish.

      1. re: beelzebozo

        I agree that it would be hard to eat a huge breakfast BEFORE a run but I do understand needing something. Maybe a bowl of cereal and some fruit (something light that won't feel heavy when you run). Then after the run, bring in all the rest of the components.

        Greek yogurt also sounds like a good idea.

    2. How about some greek yogurt (high in protein) with fruit and granola or nuts? Or a smoothie with protein powder in it?

      Homemade power bars? You can also make steel-cut oatmeal overnight. I do it in a slow cooker but have seen people describe other ways..I make a big batch once a week at eat leftovers on other mornings (it's even good cold in warm weather...add fruit, nuts, whatever you like).

      1. I'm in the same boat. A banana, plain bagel, English muffin, fruit shake with juice and a bit of yogurt, chestnuts, leftover pasta, an orange, or jook/congee. I'm in it more for quick digestion and lightness than taste (gasp).

        1. I don't usually eat before I run, but I understand that a 90-min. run might require some fuel. My runs w/o breakfast are typically <=45 min. But I do a long run on the weekends and will sometimes eat an apple or half a bagel before (and take a sports drink-water mixture along too--that makes a world of difference for me!) I'd go for the carbs. Maybe a smoothie that's heavy on the fruit and lighter on the protein?

          1. I'm a cyclist, not a runner, but have pretty much the same pre-work out meal needs. I nuke a potato and top it with butter and cheese, to get some protein and some fat, which slows absorption. Butter and salt also contribute salt. Post work out food is a combo of carbs and protein, to re-stock glycogen stores and re-build muscle.

            Also, check out yesterday's NY Times for a recipe for home made rice bars that elite-level cyclists eat. Oddly enough, it's in the style section, not the sports section.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Erika L

              i like this potato idea very much. i think my body craves carbohydrates before i run, and your tips about the butter and cheese are also choice.

              does anyone have any experience with energy bars of any kind? not speaking specifically about store bought ones, per se--homemade recommendations also welcome