Tips For Fueling Your Early Morning Workouts
To fuel or not to fuel? VIDA Member & Guest Blogger Paulo Sibaja sits down with our in-house Registered Dietitian, Addie Merletti, to get the scoop!
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
“But I just put my head down!”
“How is it 6 a.m. already?”
“Where the heck is the snooze button?!”
The struggle, it is real. For those early birds who work out in the morning before heading to the office, the morning routine is jolted by a good gym session that wakens even Sleeping Beauty. I sat down with Addie Merletti, VIDA’s Registered Dietitian (RD), to discuss the type of fuel your engine needs in order to have a successful morning workout.
“Oh! I workout late in the afternoon/early evening?”
Don’t worry, got you covered. We’ll address evening pre-workout meals for the night owls among you in another article. Stay tuned!
Americans currently average fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, significantly less than previous generations. However, the hours-long fast remains about the same. They call it breaking the fast for a reason, or breakfast, and what you consume will help determine the quality of your morning workout.
We all know that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A 1944 marketing campaign launched by Grape Nuts manufacturer General Foods promoted the importance of breaking the previous night’s fast with a bowl of cereal, they also popularized that saying. But is cereal the right food to eat prior to your workout?
Luckily, Addie knows a thing or two about proper nutrition (actually she knows a lot more than a thing or two). While a customized meal plan is best because each person’s body processes food differently and each person going to the gym in the morning has different fitness goals, the following information is what Addie considers a good general guideline for a morning pre-workout meal.
Addie stresses not just eating right but hydrating as well, an equally important task. She said, “Proper hydration begins the evening before your morning workout.” And while it is recommended to wake up to an 8 ounce glass of water, it is important to keep in mind that proper hydration begins way before your walk to the gym. So drink up… the night before.
After having fasted for about 7-10 hours, our body requires fuel in order to get moving again. You hit the snooze button once —shame on you— it is now 6:09 a.m. and you are getting up to get to the gym by 7:30 a.m. Addie recommends eating 45 minutes to an hour before you start working out. And depending on your fitness goal, she recommends consuming between 30-60 grams of carbohydrates and some protein, although not nearly as many grams.
“Why is the morning pre-workout meal so carbohydrate-heavy?” I asked Addie.
“Think of carbohydrates as quick fuel for your muscles,” Addie replied. After several hours of fasting the body needs fuel, carbohydrates deliver that fuel. Protein helps repair and build, while healthy fats help keep your body running smoothly. Addie recommends reducing your healthy fat and fiber consumption in your morning pre-workout meal because both the fat and fiber slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and may cause an upset stomach.
After my interview with Addie, who is a great resource at VIDA, I reviewed my notes and biked to my local grocery store. I walked up and down the Health & Nutrition aisle and picked up a handful of bars to analyze their content. Most bars were carbohydrate-heavy, had some protein, and hardly contained any fat or fiber. Interesting! Because whole foods are better than half-foods (Bad dad joke? Yes!) Addie recommends eating one medium-sized banana, a sprouted grain toast, and a slice of turkey 45 minutes to an hour before your workout.
Next up, what to eat after your early morning gym session!
Paulo Sibaja is a marketing & communications professional with a keen understanding of America’s Hispanic market. If Paulo is not drafting strategic marketing and smart communication plans, he is likely on the water paddle boarding, on the road biking, or at the gym lifting weights. To learn more about him visit www.PauloSibaja.com.