Training early in the morning has it's benefits; not only can it help boost your metabolism and help with sleep, you can continue your day knowing you've ticked off your workout before most people are even awake. However, training first thing can be difficult if you don't know how best to fuel. In this blog we will talk you through some key tips on early morning nutrition to help you get the most out of your sessions, and start the day off right.
Why do we need to think of fuelling early morning sessions?
During exercise, our body primarily uses carbohydrate stores to fuel the exertion. Glucose in the blood is absorbed by your body's cells and used to produce ATP. ATP is then used to power the contraction of muscles. At lower intensities, fat is a preferred fuel source, but there is always some glycogen used, meanwhile at higher intensities, glycogen is required to meet the demand of ATP synthesis. This means your typical CrossFit or gym session requires a lot of glycogen to keep you going.
Although you will have stored glycogen in the body from the day before, when you first wake up, your glycogen stores are decreased and you are dehydrated, meaning your body is in a sub-optimal state for performance. Fuelling properly first thing can help to combat this, and means you can get more out of your workout.
To eat or not to eat, that is the question
For a lot of people, eating first thing in the morning just isn't possible. Your body needs time to digest food, so if you eat too close to working out, you're often left feeling sick. Instead of focusing on having a large meal, think what you can easily digest and aim to have this 20-30 minutes before workout out. Think along the lines of a banana, malt loaf, or a bagel - all easily digested carbs that won't sit too 'heavy' on your stomach. Still too much? Try drinking your carbs instead; a fruit juice or Xendurance Fuel 5 can do the trick, and give you enough carbs to fuel your workout without leaving you feeling sick.
Should I be fuelling during my workout?
This very much depends on the length of your workout. if you're just doing a 60 minute class, you should be fine with just some carbs 20-30 minutes before you start. If your workouts are longer than this, you need to consider taking carbs on board during your session.
Some people find it easier to eat as they progress through their training, so consider trying to eat a banana, a bagel or even some sweets mid way through your session; the key is to slowly eat it, a few bites in between sets, instead of trying to wolf it all down in one. However, for many people, this still isn't possible, and forcing food down will just leave you feeling bloated or sick. Again, this is where you should turn to liquid carbs, such as a few scoops of Xendurance Fuel-5 in a water bottle, or even try using a carb gel, like Xendurance energy gels, for some easily digesting quick carbs.
Caffeine or no caffeine?
A lot of people simply can't start their day without some caffeine, but drinking coffee on an empty stomach can lead to some health problems, such as indigestion, heart burn and even damage to the stomach lining. One way to prevent these problems is having caffeine alongside some carbs, whether as whole foods or liquid. Xendurance Focus is a nootropic blend for natural energy, which can be mixed with Fuel-5 to give you the ultimate carb and caffeine combination.
While it can take some experimentation to figure out what works best for you, if you're looking to improve your performance, fuelling your body before any workout is a neccessity. Your workout will be more productive, fatigue and weakness will be prevented and your recovery will be improved. Dial in your morning fuel to start reaping the benefits.