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early morning - what to eat before I workout?

Lately I've started to workout in the mornings, but I have just been drinking water before I start my cardio workout. Anyone have suggestions on something quick to grab to eat before an early morning workout?


Fri. Jan 6, 10:49am

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I sometimes work out really early too and my trainer recommended that I eat at least 1/2 hour before I get to the gym. His #1 choice is to have oatmeal. Just a little pack of instant oatmeal is fine. A breakfast bar with a good amount of protein would be good too.


Friday, January 06, 2006, 11:34 AM

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Something light

I usually have a banana or an 8oz glass of OJ pre-workout. It gives you a nice boost first thing in the a.m., and it's good for you. I save the oatmeal for post-workout.:)

Friday, January 06, 2006, 8:20 PM

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try coffee

Have a big cup of hot coffee if you start your workout early enough so that you will finish by 6:00 a.m. Coffee is all you need for an early morning workout.


Friday, January 06, 2006, 8:47 PM

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Just the h20

According to my personal trainer and other material I've read, you maximize your work out if you work out on an empty stomach (especially true for cardio).
So grab the quick things mentioned AFTER your workout:)

Friday, January 06, 2006, 9:29 PM

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I asked my nutritionist about this and I was told exact opposite of the above poster. I was told its very dangerous to exercise with nothing in your system as it can result in dizzyness, lightheadedness, effects your blood pressure, etc. I was told a half a piece of fruit, some milk, some juice....something light to get you going and keep your blood sugar up through the workout.

Saturday, January 07, 2006, 5:45 PM

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Just H2O?? - the advice is suspect

Research around this topic varies far too much. I think if you're doing any sustained cardio, you need at least 100-200 calories in your system. If your blood sugar is low, and you do some hard cardio, you could easily "bonk" because of low blood sugar.

A glass of orange juice, a slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, a 140-calorie kashi bar is really all you need.

Saturday, January 07, 2006, 7:24 PM

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The previous poster is right on. I have exercised with my less active friends and they start getting light headed after about 20 mins. so I ask, "did you eat anything before we started?" they always answer, "no". They have learned the hard way. Nothing like exercising and feeling like you're going to pass out. Just get a little something beforehand, your body will thank you.

Sunday, January 08, 2006, 12:52 PM

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I attended a running seminar.
They recommended the following.

1) Drink water or sports drink (preferred) prior to working out. This will help keep you from getting dehydrated and getting a dehydration head-ache.

2) Make sure you eat something before you work out. - Preferably something with carbohydrates--not a full meal, but sometihg small, so that you don't cramp up.

Note: They told us that our bodies run on stored glycogen the first 15 minutes of an intense work out. It is only after the 1st 15 minutes of running or other intense activity that you start to really burn off the calories...

3) Drink sports drinks while you are working out, because of the electrolytes lost in sweat.

4) When you are finished working out and post-workout stretching, eat something like a sports bar or something like that immediately AFTER working out-- within the 1st 1/2 hour. The reason for this is that it replenishes some of the stored glycogens--If you have ever noticed feeling extremely exhausted the day after working out, it is because you didn't replace some of the stored glycogens. I guess it's because even after you're done working out, your body continues to burn energy (your core body temperature will be slightly higher--it takes energy to keep your body cool.)

You will find that by eating something post-workout will help you feel fresh and energized for the next day.

We were surprised at the high-carbohydrate/protein granola our running coach gave us for after our run. The key is that you don't sit down and gorge yourself, but to just have some food to reload after you are done exercising. I like to take the "Emergen - C" vitamin drinks immediately after my workiouts, along with a piece of fruit.

Sunday, January 08, 2006, 1:23 PM

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Also, I've found that if I drink a sports drink while working out, vs. water, my hands will tend to swell less. It's because drinking plain water changes the electrolyte balance in your system... The calories ingested through the sports drink will pretty much be burned off during your work-out.

Sunday, January 08, 2006, 1:25 PM

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My favorite pre-workout snack is lowfat fruit yogurt.

Sunday, January 08, 2006, 10:54 PM

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handful of pecans or walnuts, or some dried mango.

Coffee not such a great idea...

Monday, January 09, 2006, 2:55 AM

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You should always eat something before you workout. If you do it on an empty stomach, your metabolism is really low at that time. If you eat something, the metabolism gets a kick start!
My favorite is a couple of dates, almonds, walnuts. Some oatmeal might be good but you have to wait for at least 30 mins before you can workout and I cant really give that much time.

Monday, January 09, 2006, 6:19 AM

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someone at work said I should eat protein - this can't be right, can it? All I'm doing is about 30-45 minutes of cardio.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 7:01 AM

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I would stay away from anything acidic (sp?) like OJ. This always makes me cramp up and increases acid reflex. I would stick with oatmeal, protein shake, bananna, yogurt, apple, etc.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 11:41 AM

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While all of these are decent suggestions, I'd say you just have to figure out what works for you. Try something (one of the suggestions above, or whatever you happen to have in your fridge) for a week, and if you feel good working out, go with that. If you feel tired, sluggish, cramped, or whatever, change it up the next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 12:43 PM

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something w/protein

Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 3:14 PM

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The best thing is a protein shake. Small, light, full of energy and helps sustain you. I drink one before my morning walk.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 3:23 PM

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a banana is great to eat before working out. it satisfies you and keeps you from getting dizzy from a empty stomach. at least thats what I do.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 3:25 PM

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small amount of protein and carbs

a piece of fruit and a hard cooked egg or a couple of egg whites
fruit and a scoop of protein powder - make a protein shake
oatmeal + a protein protein
slice of whole wheat bread or a bagel, with 1 TBSP peanut butter
small whole wheat pita with sliced turkey and mustard

You just need a little bit, but it should definitely be carbs and protein.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 3:44 PM

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There was a great article recently in Runner's World about three people trying the same thing eating-wise before runs and each had a different response. One was energized, one was nauseated, and the other...I forget...the point being there's no one size fits all. I trained for marathons and did fine running 10-20 miles at a time first thing in the morning with nothing more than some water and a packet of GU before I hit the trails. Obviously this does not work for everyone - my husband would be one of those people fainting if he tried that. I do best waking up, drinking my water, and doing my workout - and then I eat the protein as soon as I'm done.

Who digs up these old threads, anyway?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007, 10:48 PM

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As a NeWb...I'm glad "old" threads get brought back up and dusted off!
Thanks! =)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007, 6:52 PM

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I went to the gym for the first time in a long time yesterday and got nauseated and lightheaded at one point and had to go to the restroom thinking I was going to vomit. I was fine up until that point. They also told me it was probably because I didn't eat 1/2 hour or 20 min before coming. They said to eat protein and carbs. Small snack just to make sure there something on your stomach. The above ideas were very helpful. Thanks! If anyone has more, please share. I am looking for variety so I don't get bored and end up cheating.

Sunday, November 04, 2007, 10:13 AM

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coffee works for me

I'm the complete opposite of a morning person. I can get up early and be awake, but my mood is do you say...oh yes: HOMICIDAL. But, I know that if you work out early in the day, it boosts your metabolism. Grrrr.
My solution: Put coffee on a timer, drink a cup(black, no extra cals) while I'm in bed. About 1/2 hr later, I get up and workout. then shower, and then breakfast.
Also, the poster who mentioned that no 'one size fits all' has totally got it. This works for me.
If you're the type who hates eating (or indeed doing anything) early in the morning, this is a good way to get going, without giving in to your more..uh...violent moods.

Sunday, November 04, 2007, 11:59 AM

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What to eat before you workout?

To be quite honest most people do not realize how important eating is when it comes to weight training. A simple cup of coffee has absolutely no nutritional benefits for working out. For gaining muscle, the best advice I can give you is to eat, or drink, as much carbohydrates and protein as possible. The best way to load up on carbohydrates and protein is to eat some yogurt, and some fruit. Fruit has lots of simple sugars that give you the preferred energy source your body needs for your workout. Carbohydrates are the bodies preferred energy source, but, if there are not enough carbs in your body to sustain your activity, your body will start to consume secondary energy sources, like protein and muscle. If you don't eat correctly before your workouts you will see little to no results. Also it is good to load up on protein and calories 30-60 minutes after your workout as well.

Thursday, March 05, 2009, 3:06 PM

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If you can eat about 30-45 min before your workout I would recommend eating a banana and a small handful of almonds (non-salted kind). That way you get the carbs from the banana and some protein from the almonds.

I actually just read an article about how bananas are now thought to give you more energy than apples, so I have started eating them pre-am workouts!

Good luck!

Friday, March 06, 2009, 4:16 PM

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I second the banana.. I love smoothies too..


Sunday, March 08, 2009, 8:05 AM

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I have a fruit bottom yogurt and a banana before working out. If I'm out of them, I'll have an instant oatmeal or some hard boiled egg whites. I ususally have a bowl of cereal with skim milk within an hour or so of working out.

Monday, March 09, 2009, 3:15 PM

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8:20 PM

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It sounds that you are a heart patient I think you should get assistance from a personal trainer. It will be more beneficial for your body and health.


Thursday, May 24, 2012, 6:50 AM

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eating on an empty stomach

The truth is you do burn more calories from fat if you work out on an empty stomach- however, you burn more muscle too, and you wont be able to work out as hard or for as long. Working out on an empty stomach also alters the levels ghrelin and leptin in your body for hours afterward, making you MUCH hungrier, and if you are like me, much crankier (especially if you are a woman). Finally, your recovery will be slowed because of the lack of glycogen in your muscles.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 4:30 PM

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I usually eat a banana and drink a bif cup of coffee, I suppose bananas is ithe best product to eat before working out. I drink sports drink during or after working out, but not before it.


Thursday, May 16, 2013, 2:12 PM

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What to eat before a workout

I'm currently getting ready to run a half marathon, and like to do my runs onthe morning. I will suffer from low blood sugar if I workput on an empty stomach, but I think you should have something to eat in order to burn the calories in fat rather than in muscle. My favorite prerun breakfast is a piece of whole grain toast with 1tbsp of peanut butter topped with fresh bananas:) after a long run , I'll usually have a 8oz glass of chocolate milk or a 6oz chobani greek yogurt!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 4:45 PM

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what to eat before a workout

I've experimented with several pre-workout, or in my case pre-run meals. At first I started with a protein shake w grape juice, because of the dextrose in the grape juice and whey protein but i thought i needed more carbs. Now i hve 2 go 2 pre meals. 1Wheat or multi grain waffle w peanut butter and half a banana, or Zone Perfect(blueberry pomegranate) w about 12oz of Gatorade. I llike my coffee in the morning and have a feeling that its help my wrkout. Post- wrkout i make my own chocolate milk( carton chocolate milk never last) / protein shake w 12oz of 2% milk, 2tbs of Hershey's chocolate syrup, the other half of the banana and 1 scoop of EAS recovery protein. 1-1/2-2hrs later its brown rice or Quinoa with chopped chicken and peas or other vegs. I also do my big stretch somewhere around bed-time. BTW milk and hershey's chocolate syrup are the ingredients for choc. milk. make yr own.

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