As an early morning person, it made sense schedule wise to workout in the morning. I'm up at 4:00am 4-6 days a week. Most magazines and web sites deal with afternoon/evening workout plans & tips. I thought I'd share a few things I've picked up along the way.
- Lay out your workout clothes and work clothes the night before. This makes it easier to stumble into the bathroom and get ready.
- Prepare your meals the night before. Things like eggs and chicken are easy to reheat and keep well overnight.
- Set the timer on the coffee maker
Nightly Snack Options
You need to put some sustenance in your belly before you nod off since you will be essentially fasting before your workout. Low fat cottage cheese, casein, oatmeal are all options here. I personally use 2 scoops of ON casein and a bowl of granola. Casein is a slow digesting protein that sticks with you overnight.
Every magazine, book, and web site will reiterate this over and over. You need sleep to allow your body to repair itself overnight. General rule of thumb is 6-8 hours. This isn't anything new. When you workout first thing in the morning sleep deprivation will not only make you feel like staying in bed, but it can also lead to injuries.
Break Your Snooze Button
That extra 10 minutes of sleep you are attempting to get by slamming the snooze button is not deep & restful. You will actually feel worse if you repeatedly hit the snooze. If you have to, put the alarm out of arms reach. If you normally wake to radio, try using the buzzer. Failing that, remove the snooze button completely.
Wake Up Shower
Most people take a shower after their workout and not before. Early risers can benefit from taking a shower prior to their workout. I prefer a shower that alternates cool & warm water. Just remember; this doesn't get you out of your post workout shower.
Caffeine in moderation is your friend in the morning. I prefer a pre-workout supplement such as Jack3d that contains caffeine plus additional supplements. Other suggestions include black coffee/espresso (NO sugar/cream), 5-Hour Energy, Gatorade Prime Gel Packs (really more like juice), and B vitamin complexes.
If you drink a pot of coffee a day already, this may not do much for you.
But I'm Starving!
Let me start with this fact: training while fasted (first thing prior to eating) doubles the magnitude of muscular growth signals. [Muscle & Fitness June 2011; European Journal of Applied Physiology].
That said, I train on an empty stomach (aside from "Pre-workout" below). See "Nightly Snack Options" above.
If you can't seem to function, whatever you eat needs to be quick digesting (~30 minutes). Here's a few suggestions:
- 1/2 cup oatmeal, plain
- slices of apple or banana
- toast with peanut butter
Whatever you choose, keep it light. Too much food can lead to cramps. You will need to experiment some to find the right balance for you. This is in addition to your pre-workout stack.
I'll keep this generic since everyone has a certain product/products they like.
You need protein before the workout. Plain and simple. An isolate or hydrosolate works nicely here.
If you don't want to do a product like Amino Energy, Jack3d, Assault, etc. you can always do espresso. However many shots gets you rolling (up to 4). Again, no cream or sugar.
That's all I'm going to mention here.
I like to hit the treadmill for about 5 minutes followed by a a quick set of mountain climbers or jump squats. Whatever you choose, just remember you need to get the blood flowing to the muscles. Otherwise, you will risk injury. You don't need to overdo it here. Some will skip to doing 12-15 reps at roughly 50% weight before. This is fine as well.
Here's some options:
- 4 Egg Whites + 1-2 Whole Eggs
- 46g protein (2 scoops) in 12oz skim milk
- Whole, Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- 3-4 Large Bananas
- Oatmeal (not sugared up)
For some, eggs will not be enough to fill you up. I try to keep it simplistic since time is of the essence. Often times, I will prepare all this while I'm waiting my 30 minutes prior to my workout. If you need to add some flavor to the eggs, try salsa or ROTEL.
If you can't get full, try adding a scoop of casein to your post workout protein shake. I typically rely on bananas. I follow that up with oatmeal a couple hours later.
There you have it. If you have any tips, suggestions, corrections please post below. I don't claim to be the expert, just trying to share the things I've learned.