Working out first thing in the morning is an impressive habit to adopt. Of course, it’s one I’m not always able to maintain, since rousing from bed to get running with the birds can, at times, feel like a physical impossibility. That said, I can’t argue it’s a pretty great way to kickstart the day, so I’ve learned there are certain ways to prepare for such a badass habit that make it easier to sustain. For one, there are foods to eat the night before your workout that really support giving your all at the break of dawn.
It’s worth a reminder that a regular workout routine is always best supported by solid nutritional habits. Meaning, you just have to eat, and eat enough, to make sure you’re filled with fuel that can keep you energized, strong, and hopefully happy throughout your exercise regimen and the rest of the day. There are lots of foods (and food combinations) that you can try to best support whatever workout you like to do — from foods that support your bone density, to ones that make muscle repair easier.
And consider snacks that you really enjoy, too, as they may also provide some additional nutritional support. Foods like nut butters, dark chocolate, figs, guacamole, berries, or whole grain chips with hummus are all great options to start with.
But if you’re going for an early morning workout in particular, what you eat the night before can really make a world of difference. While it’s often recommended to eat at night, this is actually not the case for people who are getting up to cycle or jog to start their day. Here are a few foods to help you fuel up before you rise and grind.
1. Veggie Stir Fy
Try it with brown rice, or some crazy whole grain like farro or barley. And, of course, add tons of your favorite veggies.
Eating a hearty dinner like this is not only a great way to prepare for your morning workout routine, but it’ll also keep you fuller throughout the night so you don’t wake up totally starving.
2. Pasta And Tomato Sauce
Carbs like this are going to give you the long-haul boost you need for a long morning run, or even an a.m. HIIT circuit.
In fact, in general, carbs are the preferred energy source for your body when you’re working out. So, if you’re going hard, you’re going to need a lot of them. Bring on the pasta, baby.
3. Greek Yogurt
Top this with berries for your dessert after dinner. Maybe skip the honey or sweeteners so as not to cause a major blood sugar spike right before sleep, but the protein in yogurt is great for long, sustained energy, and calcium supports those bones.
A nut that often flies under the radar, pistachios definitely won’t be disrupting your sleep, and they’re packed with workout-supporting nutrients like fiber and vitamin B6.
The potassium in bananas is a sleep aide, but they’re also an easy-to-digest food that, paired with a fatty nut butter or handful of walnuts, make for a great combination of sustained energy that will get your morning moving.
6. Lean Proteins
It’s true that carbs do make some people feel super sluggish in the morning, so pay attention to what foods make you feel good for the type of workout you’re doing.
Lean proteins, like chicken and fish, paired with veggies and avocado are a safe bet here.
Breakfast the night before, perhaps?
Oatmeal is an oft-suggested food for athletes, and as a night-before food, the magnesium, potassium, and silicon promote sleep while providing a sustained release of energy as a low-glycemic carb (aka, carbs that don’t spike the blood sugar) with protein. Just in time for your morning grind!
So, you ready to try that 6:30 a.m. hot yoga class now that you have your evening snacks ready to go? I thought so.