Pre-Workout Energy Drink Ideas - What is Best to Eat or Drink Before a Workout?

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist

In today's Lean-Body Fitness Secrets Ezine, I wanted to tackle a question that I received recently from a subscriber. I've had similar questions from several people, so I thought this might be of interest to you. It has to do with pre-workout energy drinks, and morning workouts on an empty stomach.

Q: "Hi Mike. I was hoping you could give me some advice about my morning workouts. Because of my busy day, I find that the only time I can realistically squeeze my workouts in is in the mornings before work. My problem is that if I don't eat anything, I have no energy during my workout and I feel really weak and sluggish. On the other hand, if I eat even just a bowl of cereal or bagel, I end up getting cramps during my workout. Any suggestions you have, I would really appreciate. Thanks,
Brian F., Calgary, Canada"

A: First of all, if you're really serious about getting lean for good, I'd recommend ditching the bagels and cereal altogether... They are just empty refined carbs that will only add blubber to the old belly!  You're better off with greek yogurt and berries/nuts as a healthier breakfast than cereal.

Another topic that this brings up is whether doing your morning workout on an empty stomach is really a good idea or not. Some people swear by morning cardio on an empty stomach as a great way to burn fat, since you don't have any immediate carbohydrates in your system. From my experience though, and working with hundreds of people who have tried this, I haven't really seen good results with empty stomach morning workouts.

Personally, when I tried a month or so of morning empty stomach workouts, it resulted in a loss of lean muscle, which I believe ultimately lowered my metabolic rate, making it easier for my body to store body fat in the long run. Again, for me (and others I've talked to) morning empty stomach workouts backfired, although some people claim it has worked wonders for them. I guess you won't know if it works for you unless you try it.

Back to Brian's question about how working out in the morning on an empty stomach leaves him weak and sluggish, whereas eating some cereal or a bagel gives him cramps during his workout...here's my solution to the problem:

Try getting just a small amount of carbohydrates and protein in liquid form when you wake up. Shown below is my own little concoction... you can call it "Geary's pre-workout energy serum". This is 10x better than any ripoff energy supplements or any other crap that the supplement companies will try to lure you into paying top dollar for.

My pre-workout drink will give you the energy to make it through your workout, plus it will help reverse the catabolic state you are in upon waking in the morning, where your body is breaking down muscle tissue in order to supply other areas of the body with necessary amino acids.

My suggestion is to try mixing about 6 oz of an unsweetened iced tea mixture (preferably green, white, oolong, yerba mate, or rooibos teas) with about 6 oz of a PURE berry juice (keep it to no more than about 20 grams of carbs), and about 15-20 grams of a quality whey protein powder. You can also add a teaspoon or two of coconut milk as that will add some quickly digestible medium chain fatty acids (a source of healthy fats) for immediate energy for the workout.

For the juice, try to find a PURE berry juice such as blueberry, blackberry, or even a pure pomegranate or cherry juice. Make sure they do NOT contain apple or grape juices.

Keep in mind that I'm usually against drinking fruit juices at all because I believe you need to eat the whole fruit to reap the benefits, as you're missing out on the fiber and other nutrients when you just drink the juice. However, I've found some of these pure berry juices at whole food or natural food markets and they contain some fruit puree and a couple grams of fiber per glass, so I think they are ok for the purpose of this pre-workout drink (since the amount of carbs is fairly low at approx 20 gms).

I've found that this type of pre-workout liquid mixture gives people the needed energy to make it through their morning workouts without cramps, while also helping to prevent the excessive muscle catabolism (breakdown) that might occur during an empty stomach morning workout.

If you enjoyed today's tip about my pre-workout morning energy drinks, feel free to share this link with any friends or family you know that will find it useful.

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