Question: For reasons beyond my control, I have to change my lifting to mornings, rather than evenings. Not really pumped about it, but it’s either change, or don’t lift at all. I’ve been looking on the Internet for credible information about morning lifting (what to do, what not to do, in terms of nutrition, supplements, volume, etc). It’s one of those subject where I FEEL like I know what would/wouldn’t inhibit my progress; but there’s a reason I’ve not chosen to do it in the past and it had nothing to do with the alarm – I just wasn’t getting anything out of it. Do you have any recommendations for my situation?
Answer: With early morning training (and here I’m talking here about resistance training specifically) there are a few issues that need to be taken into account. One of them is food intake and here there is a lot of variance. Blood glucose is usually on the lower side in the morning and not everyone performs at their best under these conditions.
In this situation, getting something (ideally with some carbohydrate and protein) before lifting is a good idea (I’d mention here that the studies which found that pre-workout carbs/protein were more anabolic were looking at morning fasted training so this is one place where getting something into the system is probably ideal from a training adaptation standpoint). This isn’t universal and some people do just fine without eating.
But let’s say you’re one of those people who needs to have something in them to lift at their best. Now we have another issue, some people don’t do well with food in their stomach during high-intensity activities. At the same time, others can eat a big meal and go train and have no issues. Some of this depends on the type of training as well: folks doing low repetition work with longer rest intervals don’t tend to have the same issues as those doing more ‘metabolic’ type work (with higher repetitions and shorter rest intervals).