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When I get up in the morning I have no appetite for food until I've been up and mobile for at least a couple of hours. The problem is that when I go to do an hour workout in the morning I find myself feeling light headed and queasy as if my body is running on empty.

I've tried forcing myself to eat something when I get up but that leaves feeling sick and feeling full.

So my question; what can I eat when I get up in the morning that is a small quantity but enough to keep me fuelled for an hour workout session?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The problem is that, on waking, there is very little blood in your stomach or digestive system until the body realizes that it needs to get some blood there ready to do some digestion.

It's the same effect as running on a hot day and getting a bit dehydrated. In that case, much of your blood is in your muscles and skin (to keep your muscles moving and lose heat) and not much in your digestive system.

The result is that trying to eat is difficult and your body reacts by discouraging you from eating with nausea or vomiting.

My fix is, much as suggested by @Moses and @TheChaz, to use liquid nutrition. I use an off the shelf meal replacement product. One bottle is 350 calories which is enough for about 2 hours for me. If I'm doing longer then I'll take two. Water can also work because it gets the body to realize there might be more food coming into the stomach so it had better get ready. It can take 15+ minutes for this though.

The liquid works because it takes less effort for the body to process and your stomach doesn't have time to balk at it.

Based on your description of being light-headed and quesy I would agree that you need to get something down.

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+1 for the detailed explanation of why this is happening and how the solutions given above work. Thanks –  Brady Feb 16 '12 at 17:30
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First, I would recommend drinking 16oz (.5L) of water soon after waking. This is not a fun experience, and it might take a minute or two to get it all down, but it will grant you (at least) two things:

  • Improved workout
  • Increased metabolism/hunger
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If you don't find yourself up to eating something filling like oatmeal, eggs, or toast, I would suggest a fruit/protein smoothie. For instance you could quickly blend together something along the lines of:

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of assorted berries
  • Tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of oats
  • Some protein powder
  • Milk / water / ice

While this is normally my post-workout shake, I have used it before for when I didn't have time to eat a full breakfast. This recipe might not be to your liking (it tastes good, but not amazing) so feel free to change it; the general idea is that you just blend together something of substance to serve as a placeholder until you're ready to eat breakfast.

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Thank you for the suggestion I'll definitely give it a go. Could you elaborate on "Some protein powder"? What type and how much? –  Brady Feb 16 '12 at 16:24
    
(Unsolicited) - "some" protein powder for me, when making such a pre-workout smoothie, means at most one serving. If you put all the other ingredients that Moses lists in a blender and just added (unflavored or vanilla) protein powder "to taste", you'd probably arrive at a similar formula. –  The Chaz 2.0 Feb 16 '12 at 16:29
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@Brady The amount of necessary supplemental protein varies greatly from person to person, and the amount of protein you get per serving varies greatly depending on what brand you buy. I purposefully left it unspecific because you should ultimately be the one who decides how much, if any, protein powder you need based off your current diet, weight, amount of exercise, etc. –  Moses Feb 16 '12 at 19:07
    
@Moses - Thank you for clarifying that for me. –  Brady Feb 16 '12 at 20:52
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