We’ve all been there. You finally have the will power to get out of bed to hit the gym, but you either 1) forget that you are lactose-intolerant and down a bowl (or three) of Special K with milk or 2) eat half of a granola bar and find yourself barely making it through the first mile of your run.
Luckily, there are a few simple tricks to make sure that you are properly fueled for those 6 am sweat sessions.
1. Know yourself.
No one knows you better than you. Nutrition is about deciding what works for your body. Some people might be able to scarf down a tray of cinnamon rolls before a 10 mile run, but most people can’t and shouldn’t. Experiment with what works for you and what doesn’t.
2. Drink water.
Drinking water in the morning before a workout can ensure that you won’t be dehydrated and can also help get you energized. Don’t chug anything, but 8-16 oz. of water with your pre-workout breakfast can get you going.
3. Eat early.
It typically takes food about 45 minutes to digest to a point where it won’t become vomit during cardio. Whatever you decide to eat, make sure you do so 45 minutes to an hour before your workout begins. This will also create a buffer for foods that maybe weren’t the right choice.
4. Go for balance.
The best pre-workout meals are those with a balance of protein and complex carbohydrates. These two macronutrients provide fast-acting and long-lasting energy. Foods that are high in fat are not as beneficial for pre-workout meals because they take longer to digest.
5. Eat toast.
Here are some ideas to test out for your pre-workout breakfasts. Try toast combos: nut butter and fruit or cream cheese and nuts/seeds.
My favorite is whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana. Yogurt combos with fruit and granola or cereal can be awesome for those who aren’t as lactose-sensitive. If you aren’t feeling like assembling anything, nutrient-dense energy bars like Clif or Nature Valley can be great fuel too.
With the right choices beforehand, you can power through those morning workouts with the force of a great typhoon and the strength of a raging fire.