Early morning rides - breakfast?

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Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby misterhorsey » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:52 pm

I've recently converted to being an early riser (for me) and am now thinking of doing a few early morning training rides. Probably 60km max, of reasonably high intensity.

I've always been a night person. Going to bed around 1.30am and waking at around 8.30am. I live 4kms from work so the morning commute is more like a bus ride than real cycling.

Anyway, who knows how long it will last but I've kept the habit of waking up early(ish) since the brutal 4am wake up for Around the Bay.

So, just wondering how people deal with getting food into you at such an early hour and then cycling long distances. I appreciate its probably not much different for those who have 25+ commutes in a morning. But I'd rather avoid trial and error and rely on your tips!

Thanks in advance.
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by BNA » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:10 pm

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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby gabrielle260 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:10 pm

Great question!
I should start by saying that ideally you have brekky before getting on the bike. However sometimes you can't, so....
In my time I have done both extremes and a few options in between.
Nowadays I can do 60km before brekky reasonably comfortably. Anything more than that and if I can't eat before leaving, I take a low GI bar with me and eat it in the first 10 to 15km.
A few years ago I would do 200's starting at 5 am. The most effective routine for me was to take a drink bottle of Endura Opti which is like liquid food. That plus a banana in the first 10 or 15 km would get me through the first 100.
One trick I would recommend learning is how to eat on the bike. It is good to get your body used to digesting food while you are pedalling.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Ozkaban » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:39 pm

If I have a decent early ride (say 50k+), I would typically have a 2/3 size brekky. That would be 2 weetbix, a small handful of nutrition grain and some fruit (like sultanas) .

Any more and I'll puke at some point. Too much less and I'll bonk...
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby JustJames » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:41 pm

1 slice thick raisin toast with butter and jam, washed down with a glass of apple juice diluted 50:50 with water.

That sets me up for a ride of 60-90km.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Ken Ho » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 pm

Cup of tea and a piece of toast and Promite on rising, every day, more like religion than religion itself.
Then I can do 50km easy. Hot coffee in a thermal mug in the second bidon, bananannaannanana in my pocket if it's going to be a longer ride.
For the IM 70.3, I got stuck into a nice brekky of fruit and pastries, after the tea and roast. That got me through the swim and bike easy.
The trick to eating early is to make it warm food. Cold food on an early morning tummy is not as nice. Hot porridge rather than cold cereal, for example.
In Canada and the US, on the ski hills, they sell banananananananana cake with choccy chips, which keeps the legs going all day. It's a super yummy boost. I always keep one in my pocket to avoid bonking.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby munga » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:50 pm

anther fan of banana bread here, or jam on toast, although tbh, my usual 4:30am sat brekky is a double espresso, bottle of water - add a banana if there's any left.
i'm only going for a ride, not breaking segments!
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby duds2u » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:11 pm

My mid week rides are 55 and 65k and a fairly good pace including a couple of full on uphill sprints. My pre ride prep is a 300 ml glass of half OJ and half water.

I had been doing that for years as a runner before I took up cycling and found that it sat well on the stomach and gave you enough to get to you out there and home again. Sometimes I will have or take a banana as well but it really doesn't make that much difference. It's mostly what you have trained your body to accept. Even on my usual 100k Sunday ride I'll only have banana sandwich before I hit the road.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Becker_11 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:36 pm

Not personal experience but for anyone who's watched Graham O'Bree's doco he swore by marmalade sandwiches before his morning commute

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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Redbull » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:37 pm

60kms twice a week before work.
Breakfast 3 bits of toast, yogurt and a cup of coffee afterwards.

Nothing before or during - its not far enough.


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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby jasonc » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:41 pm

when commuting - nothing before (do up to 47kms depending on the route)

for a big ride (brissy to gc, coot-tha challenge), I'd have 2 pieces of toast with jam
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby jacob_T » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:43 pm

I too am slowly warming to the benefits of early morning rides.
I'm still experimenting and trying to find the balance with breakfast.

I did 70kms the other day without any breakfast, and really felt it for the last 10.
Force fed myself a bowl of porridge before a 4:30am ride earlier this week. I hit a pretty brutal hill, and felt like I was going to vomit all the way up, but once I got on top I managed to push out 100 kms.

Another time I took a muesli bar out and ate that about halfway through and that seemed to help.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby human909 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:48 pm

I can't do anything before a massive bowl of muesli or 8 Vita Brits. That most definitely includes cycling.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Redbull » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:03 pm

60kms twice a week before work.
Breakfast 3 bits of toast, yogurt and a cup of coffee afterwards.

Nothing before or during - its not far enough.


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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Le Velo » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:12 pm

Nothing regardless of distance ... I get all of the nutrition needed in my custom endurance mix (infinit) and no need to carry bars, gels, etc as its all in the bottle. At times I carry a banana when going for a 150km+ but tend to have it when I get home cause it's a bit squeeshed from being in the back pocket :D and the wife would kill me if I was to put it back in the fridge :mrgreen:
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby briztoon » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:04 am

I ride for fitness and enjoyment. I don't eat before I ride. I get up, have a shower and head out. I can push out 80km without feeling the need to eat. Usually have two plain water bottles on 60km rides. If I'm going further, the second bottle has a mix of powdered gatorade in it. One thing I make certain is that I know where I can refill water on my rides, especially now that's getting hot. On longer rides I'll carry a Gatorade pre-game gel, a Winners energy bar and a banana. Usually gel first, then banana and save the bar if I really need it. If I'm stopping on a long ride, I usually just buy a chocolate milk and eat my bar, and buy a liptons ice tea to fill one of my water bottles. If it's down the Gold Coast and back I'll look for a bakery or Maccas cafe for a apple or peach pastry.

I just shop at my local Woolworths, so buy what they have on the shelves. I haven't looked in to specific cycling foods and gels.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby RonK » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:11 am

I never have a appetite at 5:00 am, so I don't bother.

A 40, 50, or 60 km ride is not a problem and I'm definitely ready to eat at the end.

For a 100 km ride I need to find a bakery or cafe along the way, or I'll bonk.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby bychosis » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:56 am

I normally eat breakfast before commuting as I don't get back home afterwards. When I started some 6am gym sessions then returning home I found that I had to have at least something before going, and then the remainder of breakfast after getting back home while cooling down for a shower. Normal breakfast is 5-6 weetbix, per-gym is 2 weetbix, at least half hour before the session starts. I need at least half hour before exercising after breakfast but that fits in well to the morning routine.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby jasonc » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:16 am

briztoon wrote:I ride for fitness and enjoyment. I don't eat before I ride. I get up, have a shower and head out.


you have a shower BEFORE you ride?
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby JustJames » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:38 am

jasonc wrote:
briztoon wrote:I ride for fitness and enjoyment. I don't eat before I ride. I get up, have a shower and head out.


you have a shower BEFORE you ride?


Just crazy!

Next he'll be saying he wears clean clothes to ride in.

Like that will ever catch on!
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Scarfy96 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:23 am

Morning group rides can be anything from 60-100km for me.

I like my sleep so cut it as fine as possible to meet the group (but never late!). So I make up a sandwich of peanut butter and honey on a grain bread the night before. Don't knock it until you have tasted it! Leave it in the fridge overnight and stick it in my back pocket with an apple and head out the door. On my ride to meet the group (about 3km) I eat the sandwich and am usually just finishing the apple (core and all - again don't knock it until you have tried it) as I pull up at the meet point.

Fluid is usually just water but if I know we are doing a longer ride probably a half mix of the isotonic Endura mix up in one bottle and water in the other.

If I plan on running 10km off the bike (yes, triathlons...) then I will take one or two muslie bars with me and eat mid way through the ride.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby boss » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:32 am

I am experimenting with food before.

I find that a banana before my pre-work ritual 40km ride with a pretty solid 15km climb does me fine. Two water bottles on board, usually get through them. That ride usually takes 1:30-2:00 at a reasonable intensity.

If I'm heading upwards of 70km then I have two bananas, take a couple more with me, and a chocolate bar or something sweet.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby misterhorsey » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:56 am

Hi all!

Thanks for all your 'feed' back

(sorry).

I'm impressed with how little all of you eat considering the amount of riding you do. I guess a little bit of food just before a ride isn't going to do as much as a wholesome meal the night before. Everyone's different. I'm pretty slim but I eat a lot of food, still, I'm inspired to cut down on the breakfast a little and perhaps feed as required rather than trying to jam as much in there before a ride.

I'm starting to appreciate its a balance of getting the right amount of energy and ensuring comfort, as well as trying to increase or limit according to any medium term weight goals.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby Ken Ho » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:19 am

Well, truth is, exercise does not burn as much energy as people like to think it does. MOst of our energy consumption is basal metabolic rate. Takes a big ride to burn a few Tim Tams.
Plus, we are all hard-men...................LOLZ !!!
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby boss » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:56 am

Ken Ho wrote:Well, truth is, exercise does not burn as much energy as people like to think it does. MOst of our energy consumption is basal metabolic rate. Takes a big ride to burn a few Tim Tams.
Plus, we are all hard-men...................LOLZ !!!


Spirited rides on a bike net approx 500-750 cal burned p/hour.

On a regular day I burn 1700 cal p/day, something like that. Body weight is maintained at this level. I.e. my BMR is 1700ish cal per day.

2-3 hours on a bike means that, whether I like it or not, I have to eat more than on days where I don't.

My foot strategy is as follows:

- For me, my morning ride of 40km / 600m elevation / 1:40hr requires no food beforehand, and porridge and milo afterwards, followed by a couple of bananas.
- I am then fueled to ride another 30km / 200m elevation / 1:00hr. After that I usually eat a couple of tuna or chicken sandwhiches. A banana later in the afternoon.
- I'm then good to ride my 10km / 100m elevation / 0:15hr commute home

I find that intake to be the bare minimum to avoid bonking. There have been times where I haven't eaten because I didn't feel like it, or I've eaten enough but done 30km / 500m elevation instead of my usual 10km... and I've bonked, quite hard.

On days where I don't ride as much, I don't require anywhere as near food to feel right.

My advice would be to not listen to any of us on here (or do so with a grain of salt) - but to go out, ride your bike, experiment with fuelling levels, and work out what is right for you. Get in tune with your body!

And if you are riding on a lean fuel day, make sure you're not out in the sticks, and make sure you've got a few bucks on hand. If you bonk and hit the wall, it's as easy as stopping into a service station or similar and grabbing some treats.
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Re: Early morning rides - breakfast?

Postby singlespeedscott » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:01 pm

I can't eat anything until 11 or so. I just don't feel hungry. I do eat like a horse from lunch till dinner. Which is probably why I don't feel hungry in the morning.

Morning rides up to 100km are fine on a couple bottles of water. Any further requires some food. I usually take fruit cake on these rides.
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