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Don’t workout on an empty stomach in the morning! Follow these simple techniques for fueling before an early morning workout, with 3 simple suggestions that come together in 5 minutes or less and won’t upset your stomach!
Finding the time for fitness isn’t always easy, and many find the early morning hours to be the only suitable time to get a workout in. Since sleep is a precious commodity, it’s likely you hit the snooze button as many times as possible, only to roll out of bed, throw on your workout gear and head out the door. But doing so means neglecting a key element from your workout –fuel! In honor of National Orange Juice Day, I’m sharing some of my quick and easy strategies for fueling a morning workout in less than 5-minutes.
Why you shouldn’t workout on an empty stomach
Working out on an empty stomach is like trying to make a car move without gas in the tank. Sure, you can push it along, but it’s going to be a painful task that requires maximum effort. The body is an amazing machine that can store fuel in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. After fasting for 8+ hours while asleep, these glycogen stores are basically depleted. In order to have the energy for exercise, you need to eat something.
Don’t get me wrong–you can workout with your gas tank on empty (i.e. fasted), but the workout will feel more difficult than it is, you’ll fatigue quickly and you won’t perform at your best. Since you probably exercise for just an hour a day, don’t you want to make it as efficient as possible?
I’ve discussed fueling guidelines in many posts, but here’s a little reminder–carbohydrates, like those found in fruits, vegetables and grains, are the primary fuel source to power you through a workout. The body can digest carbohydrates quicker than protein and fat, so they provide quick acting fuel for morning exercise. What and how much you eat depends on how far out you are from your workout. For example:
If you wake up 1-2 hours before a workout, opt for carbohydrates with a little bit of protein. This will provide long lasting fuel that should stay with you for a few hours. A good example is a piece of toast with nut butter.
If you wake up 30-60 minutes before a workout (and let’s face it, this is much more likely), opt for a simple carbohydrate (like that found in fruit) because you can digest it quickly and it won’t sit in your stomach.
Simple suggestions for early morning fuel
The good thing is that you don’t have to eat an entire meal to reap the benefits of fueling. As a matter of fact, I recommend choosing a refreshing beverage with natural carbohydrates and no added sugar to power the fuel in the early morning. Here are three simple options:
1.Glass of Florida Orange Juice
Since a glass of 100% orange juice is made from just oranges with no added sugar, it’s got exactly what your body needs to get the job done. Plus, a glass of 100% OJ provides plenty of potassium, an important electrolyte that aids in hydration. So if you’re in a real hurry and don’t even have time to chew, opt for an 8-ounce glass of Florida OJ!
2. Homemade sports drink
If you’re working out for longer than an hour, you may need to replace the sodium lost in sweat. That’s where electrolytes, like those found in sports drink, come into play. Many sports drinks on the market contain unnecessary additives, colors and flavors, but you can make your own at home with just three key components–fluid, electrolytes and carbs. Luckily, you can get all of these elements from Florida Orange Juice, water and a dash of salt [Get the simple recipe here].
3. 100% Orange Juice Smoothie
Maybe you like something a little more substantial in the morning with a frozen tropical twist. Well then I’ve got just the recipe for you! This 100% orange juice smoothie has just 3-ingredients–Florida Orange Juice, frozen peaches and frozen mangoes–and it comes together in less time than it takes to throw on your sneakers. Rather than breaking out the measuring cups in morning, portion out the fruit the night before, put in a plastic baggie or Tupperware and store it in the freezer. In the morning, take the baggie out of the freezer and blend with 100% orange juice to enjoy your quick frozen fueling drink. Since this smoothie is made from just fruit, it provides quick acting carbohydrates without weighing you down.
Orange Juice Smoothie
This refreshing 3-ingredient smoothie has everything you need to fuel for a workout anytime of the day!
- 1 cup 100% Florida orange juice
- 1/2 cup frozen peaches
- 1/2 cup frozen mangoes
Place the orange juice, peaches and mangoes in a blender and blend until smooth.