Early morning workouts are great because you get them done and out of the way. On the down side, they are difficult to fuel for because you'd rather get a few more minutes of shuteye than worry about your morning pre-workout meal.
But it's important to fuel your body properly with easy-to-digest food. No matter how tired you are, you can't show up to your workout on empty.
Here are five easy ways to fuel your morning workouts.
1. Choose easily digestible carbohydrates
Simple sugars provide quick energy for your body. Maple syrup is a healthier alternative than white sugar, because it's unprocessed and rich in antioxidants and nutrients, including manganese, riboflavin, zinc and potassium.
Use maple syrup anywhere you'd add sweetener, like on a piece of toast, in yogurt or on oatmeal. Maple syrup contains antioxidants, which give it another advantage over sugar.
2. Ready, set—grab 'n go
Five minutes in the morning is plenty of time to get the fuel you need. Spread some peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, wrap it up and eat it while you tie your sneakers.
Before you go to bed, place a piece of whole fruit—like a banana, apple or pear—and an English muffin topped with almond butter on your night stand. As soon as that alarm goes off in the morning, fuel up.
3. Prep now, eat later
Don't underestimate the power of a little planning. Take advantage of your days off to shop and prep one recipe to last all week.
Put together "overnight oats" (a.k.a. "yoatmeal") after dinner. Simply combine plain yogurt, plain instant oats, cinnamon, fruit, and 1/4 cup maple syrup. The oats will soak up liquid from the yogurt. No cooking required.
4. Take shortcuts
Blend fruits and veggies. This helps to break down some of the tough fibers in these nutrient-packed whole foods, making them easier on your stomach.
This banana split smoothie is one of my favorites—it's like eating dessert for breakfast! Stick to 1-2 cups of fruit—less if your workout lasts under an hour.
You can also zap a packet of instant oatmeal or grab a 6-ounce low-fat yogurt. To make sure you get your carbohydrates, add a drizzle of maple syrup and fresh or dried fruit.
5. Use last night's leftovers
You can take any leftover food and turn it into your morning fuel.
Pop leftover sweet potatoes in the microwave or use leftover rice for easy "energy bites," made with just three ingredients: rice, peanut butter and pure maple syrup.
Leftover pizza and pasta taste great right from the fridge and give you the carbohydrates and sodium you need for your workout.
- Why Athletes Should Avoid a Protein-Focused Pre-Workout Meal
- Pro Plates: Breakfast
- What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock