Eating before early morning rides

by jova54   May 5, 2014  

I'm after some advice on eating before early morning rides.
Being self-employed my normal routine is; have breakfast about 7.30 (cereal, fruit juice, tea, toast), do some paperwork, prep for up-coming work, or housework and then get out for a ride once the early morning traffic has died down around 9.30 to 10.00am.
I could go out around 7.00am but I'm not sure whether I should eat before going out, and if so what, or take some gels, nutrition with me or wait til I get home.
Rides are normally 60 to 90 minutes long.
I have breakfast every morning and generally can't function much past 10.00am if I don't, or at least my stomach tells me I can't.
Any suggestions, recommendations, web-links appreciated.
I'm 59 and overweight and cycle purely for pleasure with an average speed of 15-18 mph.

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Porridge is your friend! I like mine with peanut butter and golden syrup.
To be honest, with rides of 60-90 mins you don't really need to eat on the bike. Maybe take an emergency bar or gel, just in case you bonk on the way home but your body holds onto enough glycogen to power your muscles for at least 60 minutes of hard effort, so assuming your pace is somewhere below threshold, you should be ok - and presumably since you're a bit overweight you want to get into the fat burning zone anyway? A more effective strategy for that might be to have a slightly more protein-y breakfast, perhaps an egg or two, and minimise carbs. Go out more gently, and the protein will help your body to use the fat stores as an energy source. If you try any hard efforts it'll really hurt though with this tactic!

posted by bashthebox [647 posts]
5th May 2014 - 16:00

3 Likes

I would suggest you read "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sissons. It'll probably change the way you think about nutrition and exercise entirely.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Primal-Blueprint-Reprogramme-effortless-boundles...

posted by Joeinpoole [302 posts]
5th May 2014 - 16:43

0 Likes

The real answer here is, no two people are the same, whatever works for you.

Eating early makes me feel Moby Dick, but I can tolerate iced gingerbread and coffee, took a while to find that out!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [650 posts]
5th May 2014 - 16:45

3 Likes

For me, I only tend to get out on weekends for 4-6 hours at a time. The main criteria for me is keeping my wife happy by going as early as possible, so I've gotten used to eating a lot early and then heading straight out.

My breakfast recommendation of choice is 3~ scoops of ground oats with 1 scoop of protein shake (I use www.myprotein.com, cheap stuff but have been using them for years with no complaints). Mixed up with milk it makes a substance that is somewhere between readybrek and porridge. It's what I eat every day and w/o exercise will tide me over until lunch - if I'm out on the bike I supplement it with a jam sandwich every ~1.5 hours. I read somewhere that a jam sandwich is just as effective as the gels you can buy - contains glucose in the jam for an instant hit, along with some long-chain carbs in the bread.

YMMV, and of course you can't easily eat a jam sandwich on the move Smile

posted by sergius [82 posts]
5th May 2014 - 17:08

2 Likes

It depends on what your aims are - what are you wanting to achieve with your morning ride?

My aim switched from just getting to work, to losing some weight. Whereas before I had breakfast before going to work, I now switch that around.

I do a 50 minute loop which has the least number of junctions and other stops that I could find so that I spend all my time actually pedalling. Yes, there are days where I feel like I've got empty legs and the smallest hill leaves me wheezing, but I know I'm not training for endurance or speed - I'm exercising.

When I get in, I have my usual bowl of oaty cereal and a yoghurt and a cup of tea and I'm good for the morning.

The change has worked well for me - a steady drop of 1kg per month, without changing anything else. My hill times are steadily improving even though I'm don't think I'm trying harder - it's just that there's less of me to haul up the incline.

Like I said, works for me. Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [203 posts]
5th May 2014 - 17:12

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I'd suggest getting your body used to at least starting a ride without food. Most people have enough glycogen for a couple of hours of steady riding so you shouldn't really need anything for 60-90mins. I usually have just a glass of warm water before leaving the house.

I think gels are a waste of money except for racing; normal food works perfectly well unless you're riding really hard but others like the convenience.

Why not try the early start and see how it feels? No harm in giving it a go, you might be surprised how well you go. Find a route that's quiet and enjoy the early morning.

Cereal, fruit juice and toast are high GI foods that will make you more prone to snacking. Adding protein to brekkie makes it more filling and don't bother going for 'low fat' options, they're packed with sugar. As neildmoss shows, positive changes can be made easily.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2029 posts]
5th May 2014 - 18:19

2 Likes

Cheers for the advice guys.
I know we're all different I was just a bit concerned about going out with little in the tank when I'm used to eating early most days.
I'll do as you suggest Simon E and try an early start and see what happens, although 'quiet' routes in Surrey are not that easy to find.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [628 posts]
5th May 2014 - 19:45

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FWIW on Sunday I usually leave for my 4-6 hour ride at 07:00, and before that I have a big bowl of porridge. Perfect.

posted by eurotrash [80 posts]
5th May 2014 - 19:55

1 Like
Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2029 posts]
5th May 2014 - 20:23

0 Likes

bashthebox wrote:
Porridge is your friend! I like mine with peanut butter and golden syrup.
To be honest, with rides of 60-90 mins you don't really need to eat on the bike. Maybe take an emergency bar or gel, just in case you bonk on the way home but your body holds onto enough glycogen to power your muscles for at least 60 minutes of hard effort, so assuming your pace is somewhere below threshold, you should be ok - and presumably since you're a bit overweight you want to get into the fat burning zone anyway? A more effective strategy for that might be to have a slightly more protein-y breakfast, perhaps an egg or two, and minimise carbs. Go out more gently, and the protein will help your body to use the fat stores as an energy source. If you try any hard efforts it'll really hurt though with this tactic!

Good advice, some people are ok with absolutely nothing in their stomach, but if you're not one of them then having some food with protein/good fats can help, just to feel like you're not running on empty, yet after a while you will be.

Scrambled eggs or omelet with vegetables or meat is a nice choice.

posted by J90 [160 posts]
5th May 2014 - 22:09

1 Like