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What to Eat for Early Morning Workouts

Morning exercisers are more likely to stick with a workout routine because they get it out of the way before day-to-day responsibilities have a chance to build up, says fitness expert Jessica Smith on the "Shape" magazine website. What you eat can have a big effect on how you feel during your workout. Certain foods may provide early risers with more energy for a morning workout.

Lack of exercise coupled with eating the wrong foods is second only to smoking as the most common preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A nutritious diet can provide the energy needed for exercise, whether it's running a marathon, walking briskly for 30 minutes or participating in a recreational sport. Morning exercises should get up at least one hour before a workout to allow time for healthy breakfast. Eat two hours before exercising if you plan a vigorous workout.

Early risers may experience a dip in blood sugar as most of the calories or energy from eating the night before has been expended. Working out without refueling your body can leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic. Eating a nutritious breakfast is of particular importance to refuel your energy stores that have been depleted during a long night's sleep.

Complex carbohydrates give your body maximum energy before morning exercise. Whole-grain cereals, whole-grain bagels or toast and low-fat milk are all good breakfast options. Also consider fresh fruit, raisins, fig bars, yogurt, granola bars or whole-grain crackers with peanut butter. Add a source of protein, such as a scrambled egg white, which aids in muscle growth and recovery.

The length and intensity of your exercise routine affects what and how much you should eat and drink. If you're simply are not a breakfast person, at least have a sports drink before exercise or consider eating a larger bedtime snack the night before. Drinking plenty of water also can help optimize your morning exercise routine. Adequate fluid intake helps prevent dehydration and maintain body temperature.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.