Crossfit Nutrition Advice for Morning Training

Getting out of bed and being ready to smash a WOD at 6am takes some dedication. However the sense of achievement to get your workout in before most people have wiped the sleep from their eyes is an awesome feeling!

Properly fuelling exercise at this time of the day is a tricky task. Get the right nutrition advice and you can supercharge your gainz, get it wrong and you risk feeling hungry, bloated and battling brain fog all day. So lets start by breaking your nutrition into 3 phases:

  • pre-workout
  • Intra-workout
  • Post-workout

PRE-WORKOUT NUTRITION ADVICE

Getting up at 4am to make your breakfast isn’t appealing and often people cannot stomach a large meal before training at 6 or 7am. However you still need to fuel your body so the focus here is on the food being quick to make and easy to digest. Yes I know there are a number of experts saying that you can train fasted to burn fat etc etc but for CrossFit I don’t advocate this.  

For a large number of people a liquid meal or shake can provide the answer. This is a great way to get a lot of nutrients in without huge prep time. There are a huge number of pre-workout powders and pills but I like to keep it simple at first then you can experiment with other ingredients in the future.

TRY THIS – COFFEE PROTEIN SHAKE

  • One cup of strong coffee
  • 1 large scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or MCT oil
  • 2 scoops (8oomcg) Tyrosine powder
  • Blend together in a nutribullet.
Coffee pre-workout shake
Coffee pre-workout shake

You can substitute the coconut oil for a dextrose or waxy maize powder if you like. I seem to find that the addition of coconut oil or dextrose allows people to push all the way through the session.

The night before an early morning session is also crucial. Some of my clients have had great results from eating a large carbohydrate meal in the evening before a morning session. This ensures muscle glycogen levels are optimal so you can blast your way through the workout. This can also be extremely beneficial in inducing healthy sleep.

INTRA-WORKOUT

If eating pre-workout just doesn’t work for you then turning to intra-workout nutrition may help your performance and recovery. Liver and muscle glycogen stores are depleted overnight and if you train in a fasted state, your body can start to use muscle tissue as an energy source. This is not a good idea whatever your goals are! Consuming amino acids at the start or during your workout can preserve your muscle and boost your recovery. Their effects on increasing performance are inconclusive when it comes to CrossFit style training.

Hydration is often overlooked when we discuss nutrition. As little as 2% dehydration can cause a drop in performance and 5% losses can result in a drop in work capacity of 30%.

A large glass of water upon awakening and then sipping on water at intervals during your session is recommended. Pop an electrolyte tablet in if the workout makes you sweat alot!

POST-WORKOUT

This is a crucial time of the day if you train in the morning. You haven’t supplied your body with that much food and you have just nailed your workout, your body is going to need replenishment! A rule of thumb is to try and get at least 0.6g/kg/BW of protein into your shake/meal post workout. So if you are 75kg then you will require 45g protein.

Check out my infographic on How to construct your post workout shake.

As with all nutrition advice “it depends” on certain factors such as the intensity of the session, your goals, what are you doing for the rest of the day etc. Use these few tips to help guide you in making the correct choices.

  • Higher intensity or volume = Higher carbohydrates. 
  • Lower intensity or volume = Lower carbohydrates
Crossfit Nutrition Advice
Crossfit morning nutrition advice

YOU HAVE TO EARN YOUR CARBS

If you are on a double training day it is CRUCIAL you get some form of carbohydrates in after your morning session.

Recipe suggestions

Higher carbohydrate

  • Overnight protein oats
  • Greek yoghurt and granola
  • Eggs on sourdough bread
  • Chocolate protein banana smoothie

Lower carbohydrate

  • Chia seed protein pudding
  • Greek yoghurt, nut butter & berries
  • Omelette
  • Salmon and avocado

I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

When I work with clients the main focus is about how to find a routine that produces maximum energy levels, supports their goals and is easy to implement. It can take some manipulation, but when you find what works it will be raining PB’s!!!

If you enjoyed this Article, then check the second installment: ‘Crossfit Nutrition for Evening Advice & Sleeping Well’, also by Liam Holmes.


Coffee pre-workout shake image © Liam Holmes

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About The Author

I am a performance nutritionist with over 9 years experience working in elite sport. My experience ranges from working with elite footballers, CrossFit athletes and power lifters to helping the general public reach their goals through nutrition coaching. Greg Glassman put nutrition at the base of the CrossFit pyramid, this shows you how important nutrition is!

Having originally trained in Sports Therapy, I completed an MSc in Exercise and ...

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