One of the most popular questions we get from clients is, "what do you guys eat before a morning workout?" Nutrition can seem overwhelming at times with the vast amount of info out there, but when it comes down to it, it's easier than you think. And remember, every person is different and we all find what works the best for our body (and our desire for food early in the morning.) Try out some of these ideas and adapt to what works for you.
We asked the instructors what their favorite fuel was before an early morning workout. Our most popular answer?
This pre-packaged gift from nature provides a quick burst of energy without being too heavy and just the right amount of oomph you need to kick butt in the studio. People got really excited about the banana ... Shannon said "Banana always!!!! Such a good little burst of carbs to get your energy going." And Liz W combined it with another burst to get her going, "banana and coffee!!"
Lots of Water
This was included in most every instructor's answer, crediting hydration as the best way to feel satisfied, comfortable and ready to roll into a tough workout. All day every day with the water.
Coffee or Energy drinks
Coffee was right up there in popularity with water. (Remember black coffee alone has zero nutritional value, so don't count this as your nutrition; use it as an additional energy boost or helpful routine to your morning. But it also has less than 3 calories per cup!)
Cara loves her Advocare pre-workout drinks like Spark, and Jos says she loves her Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition for a little jolt.
Protein Bars and Shakes
Francie gets going before she teaches in the morning with an Advocare protein shake, and Becca likes to eat half of an RX bar (her fave is mint chocolate.) Vega bars are also a huge seller in our studios, and lot of the girls prefer to eat half before and half after a workout.
The timeless peanut butter toast can get tastier and packed with more nutritional value if you change up the type of nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, sunflower, etc.) and stick to a whole grain or gluten free bread. Grains Galore by Farm to Market and Ezekiel are two favorites.
Combining nuts (unsalted almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.) with a fruit was also a common answer. Francie likes to add a small portion of protein to her banana breakfast, whether it be almonds or a few bites of a chicken breast. She says she knows it's not very interesting, but one thing that comes up time and time again is finding what works for your body and sticking to it. Yes, food should be tasty and satisfying, but remember it's main purpose is fuel for your body. So if you find that perfect meal or snack that makes your body feel good, stick with it!
Lindsay likes an apple with almond or peanut butter, or a banana with a handful of nuts; Shauna adds a small amount of oatmeal to her handful of walnuts; and Courtney grabs almonds with her apple or banana.
Good old fashioned eggs are always an easy way to get a ton of protein in an easy to make meal. Brooke says she "just eats an egg" before her later morning classes, and Darby loves her eggs made all kinds of ways. Hard boiled are simple to grab on the go! Shauna says following her early classes, she'll eat an egg and toast with almond butter and sliced bananas.
A few instructors preferred not to eat anything before a 5:30a workout, and we hear many clients say they feel nauseous trying to eat something beforehand. We get it - eating right after you wake up, and right before you go sweat it out just doesn't sit well with some people!
Shawna says gum helps relieve the nausea when working out on an empty stomach, or taking just a couple bits of nut butter and toast or a handful of nuts.
Brooke says she feels like it's what you eat AFTER that early am class and all day long that sets you up right. Her and Erica agree that planning the night before an early bird class is key. "If you know you're working out early the next morning, you need to make good choices the day before. A good balance of carbs, proteins and fats will set you up for a killer workout the next day. Of course a good night's sleep will power that early am class too," says Brooke. Erica says the night before teaching her early birds, she eats an apple with almond butter before bed. "I also get up and chug ice water on the way to the studio to hydrate. After the workout I refuel with a balanced breakfast."
Jos is another one who doesn't eat pre-early bird; "I prefer fasted cardio for those early morning classes."
Shauna drinks a cup of coffee and a big glass of water pre-workout.
Crazy Combo Breakfast
Jaclyn has a fave go-to that she says may sound weird, but is her sweet/savory delish combo to fuel up for a morning workout. (She loved this when she was nursing her babies and kept it going because it was so good.)
*1 piece of Ezekiel toast
*1/2 banana mashed, mixed with a little natural PB spread on top of the cottage cheese. Voila!