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Morning Training.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 1:56 am
by daniel4738
For the past couple of months I have been training in the morning. This means getting up at 0600, eating between 0605 and 0620. By 0630 I am riding to the Gym and arrive at 0650ish. I change and am on the floor training by about 0700. Breakfast will generally be a small bowl of muesli and a cup of tea with 15g sugar in, or 2 bannanas and an apple and some tea.

So why do I do this. Well, for the past couple of months I have been training a 'crossfit' style of training, something I like to call 'random daily undulating periodization'. This involves 30 minutes of high intensity resistance circuits, with each day varying the exercises, weights and reps, most of the exercises are compound movements and those which use the core muscles quite a lot.

I like to do this type of training in the morning for a couple of reasons:
1) To get the space because the Gym isn't packed, 2) to avoid the 'ego monsters' who sneer at me for doing this type of training while they drink their 700kcal shake during their 200kcal workout and 3) By forcing myself to get up in the morning I am forcing myself to do the training, it's all too easy to 'I'll have a rest day today'. This also gives me more time to train endurance wise in the evening as I compete in multi day adventure races.

I would like to know people's opinions on early morning training, paricularly with regards to being in a semi fasted state. I have already discovered that I have very little energy first thing in the morning, my run times are slower and I can't lift heavier weights. Is there any scientific literature regarding am training?


Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:55 am
by Ironman
You don't have as much energy then. You are just coming out of a catabolic state too. It also takes you muscles a couple hours to get lose. You have to be careful in the morning.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:17 am
by TimD
Daniel, you will get a lot of varied opinions on this. I do it similar. I'm into crossfit, but don't think there is enough emphasis on ME stuff, so I like using the ME blackblox approach by coach Rut. I don't get p real early, because I train at home. Also, I don't have to be a work until 1 PM. So for me it's natural to go after having some coffee, surf the net, then workout. The semi fasted state doesn't phase me at all, in fact I prefer itMy diet is somewhat Zoneish (although i never count blocks or anything ) Just stick with meat,, some fruits, lots of veg and good fat, and my energy levels are pretty stable. I just can't workout after a large meal, espeailly before doing some of those sprint/bodyweight Metcon things. There are times though, when doing a heavy ME thing, some people might want to eat an hour or two prior, but for me, it just doesn't seem to matter.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:55 am
by stuward
Daniel, I train in the morning as well. I'm in the military so I can train during business hours. I get up at 6 and after getting the kids to school and driving in, I get to the gym at 8. The difference between your schedule and mine is an extra hour to warm up and wake up. I generally have a large bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with walnuts and raisins. It's about 600 calories. I find that if I don't force myself to eat a big breakfast I run out of energy, especially if it's deadlift day. If I don't train in the morning I find it too hard to push myself away from the desk later and after work I'm too beat. I usually do some lighter training in the evenings.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 9:42 am
by daniel4738
Well, the major thing I am concerned about is my body going into a mode where it thinks it has to put store some fat to save up for the morning workout :)

I tend not to have a huge bowl of muesli in the morning, about 150g. I do have extra sugar in my tea in the morning to give my blood sugar levels a kick start. The trouble is I really cant be bothered going to the gym in the evening because its just hard to get the space and equipment. If I do miss a morning session, I tend to change the evening session to a more 'regular' weights session with 3-5 sets of 3-12 reps.

I literally start warming up 10 minutes after eating though, as I ride to the Gym. It's a very gentle warm up of about 2km downhill then 4-5 km on the flat.

Is there any scientific literature on this subject out there? A google search comes up with many many differing opinions.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 10:03 am
by stuward
Dr. Squat's Zig Zag diet basically requires you to eat for the upcoming 3 hours activities. On days you workout you should be eating more than on the days you don't, hense the ZIg Zag. It's simple and allows you to build muscle and lose fat sort of at the same time. This means eat more before your workout. If you match you intake to your expected requirement you shouldn't be storing fat.

Here's a link to Dr. Squats calculations for estimating your caloritic needs: ... &Itemid=28

From this a 200# man (me) would burn 712 calories in a 1 hour Med weight training session. This would suggest that I should eat even more for breakfast. Anyway, it gets me to 10 AM but that's probably why I find it hard to gain muscle.

Posted: Thu May 10, 2007 3:34 pm
by Ironman
If you want to loose weight I would stick with complex carbs and sweeten your tea with something other then sugar.

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 2:16 am
by daniel4738
I am perfectly happy with my weight. I am 75kg and probably 10% body fat (just an estimate). I probably don't eat enough protein, but thats an after workout problem.

What I am concerned is that 30 minutes of hyper-intense activity while only having eaten at 45-60 minutes before is sending my body into a post workout state where it thinks it must store fat. The extra sugar gives my blood sugar level a kickstart so that it doesn't immediately go into a state where it will begin burning protein as an energy source, it has time to go through the blood/muscle glycogen - fat as an energy source. I was wondering if anyone with more knowledge than me (99% of the population :p) could give me some help :D

I am also interested in whether this will lead to greater injury rate as the muscles are not warmed up properly, even a 20 min ride to the gym doesn't use all the muscles in the body.

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 4:42 am
by Ironman
Oh, my mistake. It's just that from the workout you are talking about, it sounded like you are trying to lose weight. If weight loss isn't your goal, you might do better with something else.

Yes, morning lifting is more likely to cause injury because your not loosened up yet.

So anyway I made an assumption about your goals based on your workout. So let me go back and do what I should have done to start with, and ask you this in order to give better advice. What are your goals?

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 5:56 am
by daniel4738
That's OK. I'm always grateful that people take the time to reply and I am probably not the most 'concise' person anyway :p

So my goals are basically functional fitness. That is the ability to adapt to anything anywhere, particularly with regards to Endurance sports. I like to compete in Adventure races, particularly multi day races which this year will be up to 50ish hours non stop. The events are generally off road running, mountain biking, kayaking, swimming, inline skating, caving, rope work, climbing, canyoning, trekking etc etc. Pretty much whatever the organizers want to throw in. I am also not ashamed to admit the ego monster in me likes to go for a walk down by the beach/river without a top etc ;)

I am a big beleiver in resistance training as an aid to any sport for a variety of reasons, injury prevention being one.

For the past years I have generally followed a periodization program (for resistance) focussing on 8-12 weeks strength, 8-12 weeks endurance. I would generally train in the evenings with 20-60mins CV works followed by 60ish mins of resistance training and then stretching etc. I would try to fit 4 resistance workouts, 2 skills workouts (martial arts/climbing) and 5 CV workouts into a week.

The problem is I work in academia and probably spend 1 week in 5 away from 'home'. If I am away for 2 weeks + a bit either side this eats into my training, if I am away I can generally squeeze in some training although not as much and obviously not with weights.

I recently changed my resistance training to crossfit style training, that is each day was a different set of exercises (in a 2 day split) and at a different number+intensity. Over 8 weeks (with 3 away) I have managed to increase my 1RM for the basic 5 strength standards. Now I know a little more and have had some time to think about it, I am trying to substitute my resistance training for crossfit. The problem being that crossfit is effectively interval style training and I do not think I can do it effectively before a 60 min run. So in the past 8 weeks I have been trying to train in the mornings for a majority of the time.

My aim for the next 8 weeks is
4x Crossfit per week in the morning.
2x Skills training (typically ninjitsu/climbing) which isn't physically taxing. Evening
3x Run, 2x30-60min in the evenings (week dependent) and a 120min run at weekend
2x Ride, one based around interval style in the evening. 1 based around 4hour endurance ride at the weekend.

Swimming is quite expensive and not so important, but I will try to fit 1 session per fortnight in exchange for a ride or run, depending on how I feel. I also ride for 40-60 mins per day to and from work/gym/pub etc.

So with the AM training which I intend to do the crossfit style training, with a longish warmup (15-20min ride), but only 45-60 mins after food, what effects is this going to have? both performance, body composition and injury wise?

And sorry for the essay :p

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 6:41 am
by TimD
Daniel, a lot of people here aren't all that familiar with crossfit, and some of the terminology. Have you gone over to the crossfit boards and aske over there? You'll get some good answers over there as a lot of people on that board are into what you are. I've read several threads over there concerning the food issue, and most of the answers were like mine, they didn't really have a problem with it. If you must eat, a small low GI load meal would probably be the ticket. Most crossfit Metcon's are very intense, and doing it on top of a lot food would cause me problems. As to injury, yes, it's definately more of a pronounced danger right after waking. It get's more pronounced the older you get. Just do a longer, more thourough warm up.

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 7:03 am
by daniel4738
Cheers for the reply. I do know the crossfit webpage but as my origional question wasn't really based around the crossfit, more around morning training I decided to post here. I find that the exrx website is based on scientific research whereas crossfit (imo) application of the science but without the requirement of knowledge.

Just a question on low GI foods, surely I want to pump up with high GI foods before a workout? Low GI would simply give me energy a little while after?

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 7:13 am
by hoosegow
Depending on what you are doing, I think a good combination is the best. For example, about an hour before I workout I drink a protein shake with 1 scoop of whey and 1 scoop of casein. I pick up a bottle of gatorade on the way to the gym and fininsh right before I walk in. Seems to work pretty well for me.

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 9:02 am
by stuward
Just a question on low GI foods, surely I want to pump up with high GI foods before a workout? Low GI would simply give me energy a little while after?
I believe you want low GI before a workout like oatmeal and protein. This will give you energy throughout the workout. High GI during and after a workout for glycogen replacement helps avoid burning protein for fuel. take some protein after with the high GI carbs. Best is to drink the carbs, i.e. like gatorade, etc.

Todd Wilson explained it quite well on the Dr. Squat site. He also writes for on the Deisel Crew site.

Posted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:37 am
by Ironman
You're not lifting real heavy or anything so I think you'll be fine. Just have a big breakfast to fuel it.