Early Morning Workouts


In the past I have preferred to do my workouts in the morning to start my day off right. But over the past couple of years with jobs that had an early start (5am) and now a 4 month old, it’s been challenging. I might be able to one in occasionally but it really depends on how he sleeps. Here’s to hoping he’ll be sleeping through the night soon!

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Morning training has been a staple for me. I have read a lot of what was already said (I don’t have time to read every thread), and I like a lot of it. One question I have is that when I wake up, I (usually) don’t eat or drink anything. If I do eat something, it is a SIS gel with 75g of caffeine. I only drink water (no powders added). I’ve been doing this for over a year.

As was stated in this weeks podcast, I train in the morning, first, because if I don’t do it in the morning, it will not get done; second, because most of my races start in the morning.

But my question is, will I see better results if I eat and drink (coffee [caffine]) before I get on the bike? I am (basically) doing a fasted ride every morning. I haven’t found a workout that I cannot do (an hour to an hour and a half) fasted. What are the pros and cons of my training routine?

Final point, I’m a morning person so waking up is easy for me. My wife is not; she does all her workouts (running) in the evening/night time. I hope it gets easier for those non-morning people. I always have a massive sense of achievement if I’m off to work and already done with my workout.



Simo429, was “cutting” a typo? I hope so.


  1. Caffeine is your friend when you’re training. I would say it is indisputably a performance enhancer.

  2. I believe there are studies out there that show caffeine actually enhances the impact of training impacted.

  3. If you want to train fasted and drink coffee, be extra careful about what you’re putting in your coffee. Anything with carbs/sugar in it would knock you out of that fasted state. I’ve seen some talk about drinking bulletproof coffee before a fasted training session, but I don’t know enough one way or the other about that to say that it’ll work.

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Hi Chad. Thanks as always for sharing your knowledge and experience. I was a little confused about what you said on your systems stores and energy levels.

I always thought rest (mainly sleep) was a way for the body to repair damage/fatigue and replenish glycogen levels but (If I understood correctly) you said that you actually are depleted after a long sleep. I understand the being slightly dehydrated but shouldn’t muscle and liver glycogen be topped up?

Maybe this is a podcast subject and the reply would be too lengthy for the forum. Sorry if it’s a dumb question.



My family and work life means that I have to be finished and back upstairs to get the kids ready for school by 6.30. The only things i would add is

  1. Make sure you eat properly the night before so your muscle glycogen stores are stocked up.
  2. The warm up and the first interval usually suck. If you can grit your teeth and get through them then I generally find that i can do the session.
    Like everyone else said it comes down to being prepared and establishing the routine.
    Good luck.


i leave everything ready the night before. I usually wake up at 5am and, depending on my motivation, it will take me between 20 and 30min to get to the bike. Cafeine helps a lot, i used to have a cup of coffee and recently i started to take amino energy from optmium nutrition and its been working for me. It fires up the system quite well.



No it’s a common term



I guess I buck the trend… While morning workouts do suck pretty much I am pumped to get them in the bag when training is going well. I guess compared to the nights I was sleeping when my daughter was waking up 2-3 nights a week and needed someone to sleep with her, I am loving this.

Double shot of espresso is your friend!

And as I’ve said before and Nate also said during the last podcast, in the early morning workouts, proper fueling is key. I use those morning sessions to get my gut used to a 3-400 calorie/bottle/hour sports mix I used when racing and it keeps my motivation up there.



Hey, @commanche20. I was just referring to liver glycogen since the brain is pretty much a glucose hog and during sleep utilizes much of the small amount your liver stores. And it’s not so much sleep that replenishes glycogen as ingested carbohydrate (and potentially protein, lactate, etc. to varied extents) that reloads the muscles. Sleep provides the inactivity that facilitates that replenishment though!



Pro tip for those that have espresso machines: set them up on a Wifi outlet that you can program. You can start the machine an hour before you get up so the machine and water is at a stable temperature for perfect shots right away.



Wake up 6:00.
Kit up.
Turn expresso machine on as I head down to basement.
Do the warmup section of the workout, pause 2 mins before first real interval starts.
Run upstairs, pull nice double long shot of espresso and grab a banana.
Couple sips of espresso.
First interval.
Eat banana and finish espresso.
Finish 1hr workout 7:25 or so…
Cool down easy pedal to work.

Without coffee I found the RPE of morning training to just be too hard. I aborted on many a workout back in 2016…

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yuuuuup. dual boiler is fully up to temp and ready to pull shots at 5am.
Only thing sucks is when you decide to get up and forget to program the machine to turn on early as well. Waiting for them to warm up is a frustration beyond any other.

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Managed the Early Morning workout today - was with trepidation as it was the first session after an FTP ride.
Coffee and banana at the start to get me going. What I found was that I became dehydrated by the end – I need to take the above advice and put some electrolyte in the water to combate this. Nice feeling to be have it done by 7am



After reading this topic I started doing early morning workouts for 2 of my 3 TR rides in the morning.
I am currently following the SSBLV2 plan. When I was still running (a year ago) I always enjoyed the runs more in the morning than in the evening due to the traffic so I have a bit of experience with training in the morning.

So I took a few tips to heart hat I read in the post and I basically do the following:

The night before:

  • What ever I can prepare the night before, I prepare it and make sure that it’s in a logical place
  • Eat something an hour before going to bed; currently eating vegetables that are baked in the oven (I eat them cold) usually baked them earlier that day or the day before. Usually a mix of (sweet or regular) potatoes, broccoli and carrot. It’s quite easy to prepare, mix the vegetables in a bowl with two/three tablespoons of olive oil and put them in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes on 180 degrees turn half way trough.
    After that add some salt, pepper and squeeze a lemon on them.
    The lemon helps keeping the taste fresh.
  • Go to bed at a proper time and get the amount of sleep you know you need to feel rested.

On the morning itself

  • Don’t snooze, just get up
  • Drink an espresso
  • Start my music up before getting on the trainer and putting my gear on to wake me up
  • Put my gear on
  • Get on the trainer and start the workout
  • During warm-up I will drink more water with electrolytes added than that I would normally do on a evening ride. I takes a bit of time for the body to absorb it and put it to use
  • Finish the ride and feel good about yourself that you already accomplished something that day
  • I have a post ride drink to help with the recovery; advanced post workout from XXL Nutrition

I do have to remark that I only do the 1 hour rides in the morning, I leave the 1,5 hour rides for the evening. So I am not sure if I’d be able to follow a mid or high volume training in the morning.



I can relate!



Hi guys,

I have been doing Early Morning workouts (05:30 AM on the bike) for a while, from late December, but I am worried about my progress or the lack of progress.

So much so that I started SSB LV 1 for the second time after completing most of the workouts in SSB LV 1 and 2. And my still relatively high HR and experienced RPE tell me I did not get much stronger or fitter in the last couple months.

After the last podcasts with the fabolous Amber I started to ponder about the saying: “Do not diet on the bike.” So maybe this is fuel related. On the other hand Coach Chad often says there is no need to fuel for workouts that last 60 mins or less. A bit confused about this point, possible I didn’t get it right.

My current situation is as follows:
I am now 67kg with an FTP of 180 (2,7 watt/kg). This FTP was the result of a Ramp Test in October. The RPE of the latter workouts in SSB LV 2 was so high I assume this number is still correct.

As I said I workout in the morning and my nutrition strategy is as follows:

During the day I try to restrict CHO intake. Trying to only take in CHO around the workouts. MyFitnessPal says I run a 300 kcal deficit daily. This seems to be correct as I lost 4 kgs in the last 2.5 months.

I eat a normal dinner (pasta or potatoes with vegetables) around 07:00 PM the day before, after that nothing untill the next morning. I do drink water (0,75 litre) in the hours before bed to stay hydrated. I try to get in 7 hours of sleep.

In the warmup of the workout I take a SiS Cola gel with caffiene (for CHO and to lower RPE, but this doesn’t seem to work) and one bottle with one SiS HYDRO tab (for electrolytes). In the half hour following the workout I take a protein rich (22gr) drink and eat some CHO (15gr).

Can you provide me with some advice?

Thanks so much!



This right here will mostly likely be the answer. For many people, simply maintaining power while losing weight is the best they can ask for. It is really hard to gain fitness while losing weight. Mornings are especially tougher in my experience when dieting. I fuel more on the Amber side of things for my morning workouts, but still don’t eat as much as she suggests since I am on the bike at 5. I wake up, pint of water, have a clif bar with my coffee, feed/walk dogs, get ready for bike and will have a bottle of my preferred sports drink on the bike which is 3-400 calories. On my easier days, I am close to matching calories burned, but on the bigger days I am a bit off.

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Thanks for your reply!

I suspected the weight loss as a root cause and also my fueling. Problem is that I would like to lose body fat.

In normal day to day diet I intake a lot of CHO. I like bread and I have an Italian girlfriend so pasta is our go-to diner option. If I also take in a lot of sport nutrition with high CHO content, will I still be able to lose bodyfat?

If so I will add in the sportdrink option you mentioned. This will be SiS GO Energy (189kcal / 47gr CHO). Do you think this will already help?

I am currently happy with my overall weight of 67-68 kgs. So maybe there is no need anymore to be on a daily kcal deficit?

Thanks in advance!



My opinion, focus on power improvements and forget about weight. Your body is better at becoming its optimal form then your are at making it that way.

Eat to fuel your rides, build big power, let your body do its thing.

Unless you are trying to climb mountain stages with the front of the group your weight is more often then not a secondary issue. We are normal humans we need more power not less weight. Fuel! Baby! Fuel!