Top 10 Snacks For Early Morning Workouts

My first boot camp starts at 6:00am… that’s early for a lot of people! I think we can all agree, that we don’t LOVE waking up before the sun has started to peak above the horizon.

But, for many people getting your workout done before the hustle and bustle of the day is by far the easiest way to go about. There is little room for excuses, I mean what can “pop” up on your schedule at 6:00 in the morning, and there is a feeling of pride that many early morning exercisers get from being done with an awesome workout before most people have hit their snooze button for the first time.

But there is one catch… when you wake up and head straight to your workout, it can be a challenge to figure out what to have as a pre-workout snack.

In fact, this is the #1 question I hear over and over and over again from my clients…

“What should/can I eat before a workout?”

The problem is that most pre-workout meals are enjoyed 1-2 hours before working out, giving plenty of time for the food to settle. But for the early morning warriors, they don’t have that luxery, often it’s less than 20 minutes that separates the time when they rolled out of bed to the time they walk into my studio.

After just a few minutes of exercise, they begin to feel the food that enhaled on their car drive over begin to creep it’s way back up.

It’s not a pleasant feeling, I can assure you.

So to help, I’m going to share a few of my favorite early morning pre-workout meals/snacks. And if you have anything to suggest, I would love to know so please share in the comments!

Top 10 Favorite Early Morning Workout Snacks

*A quick note… these are just snack ideas and are not full breakfast. These are for those of you who don’t have time to eat a full breakfast BEFORE a workout or simply can’t stomach a lot. Make sure to eat a complete, well-balanced breakfast after your sweatfest.

1. Nothing.

I know what you’re thinking, “gosh, thanks a lot,” but stay with me. For those people that wake up extremely early, they may not need anything at all. A glass of cold water might suffice.

I have a set cutoff… If I meet up with my friends for a track workout before 6am, then I don’t eat anything. I get dressed and head out the door. I feel fine and enjoy a full meal when I get home. However, if we meet after 6am, then I will wake up and have a little something. For some reason, before 6 and I am fine… after and I feel my stomach talking to me letting me know it needs food!

Everyone is different… if you’re not sure, try it out. It really comes down to experimenting to see what works for you.

2. Toast


It’s bland, it sits well and it’s easy to take down. Add some peanut butter or a drizzle of honey for extra staying power!

3. Muffinlets


What the heck is a muffinlet? It’s a muffin meets omelet.

A client introduced me to these a few years ago and they have been a big hit! On Sunday, prep a big batch mixing together 6 eggs, 2 tbsp shredded cheese, chopped spinach, and tomatoes. Pour the mix in to nonstick muffin tins and bake on 350 for around 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Then enjoy 1-2 before a workout. Easy, right?

4. Overnight Oats


Oats tend to settle pretty well for most people, which is why I suggest these. Plus, the fact that it’s a cold version of a normally hot meal also makes them a bit more bearable during a workout and on digestion.

Here’s the recipe: Overly Simple Overnight Oats

5. Scoop Of Peanut Butter & Honey


This one is really easy but I would say it’s the #1 pre workout snack of my boot campers because it’s so easy, fast and delicious.

Are you ready this? It’s really complex… it’s a spoonful of peanut butter with a little drizzle of honey on top. Eat it straight off the spoon! Just make sure to stick to 1-2 Tbsps!

6. Fruit & Hard Boiled Egg


Fruit is a great fast source of energy due to it’s sugar content and for a lot of people, it’s very easy to digest. If you’re worried it might lead to a bathroom break mid workout, avoid high fiber fruits like apples and pears.

Great options… bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, and other melons!

Fruit is also great because it is high in water to help hydrate.

The egg serves as a quick protein and fat source to help slow the digestion down a bit!

7. Energy Bites Or Granola Bar

nut and seed bites

Energy bites and granola bars are generally easy for most to stomach. They help provide a quick source of energy while not bouncing around in the stomach too much.

A few energy bites here: 

When trying out granola bars, opt for an all natural “oaty” bar over a protein bar texture. 9 out of 10 clients say they handle Kashi Bars much better than something like a Cliff Bar or Quest Bar.

8. Plantain Bread


French Toast Recipe up at FitWomensWeekly

This has been one of my early morning go-tos lately. Plantain bread is so good and so easy, I am extremely thankful that these ladies shared their recipe!

I’ve been using 3 plantains, 2 eggs and a dash of baking soda to make the batter. I pour it into silicon muffin molds and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

This is a great gluten-free bread alternative and has really been great in my stomach. As you can see, I’ve been getting a bit creative with my muffins… but feel free to top them with anything: Hummus, guacamole, nut butter, etc.

9. Cinnamon Coconut Rice


This sounds so weird, I know. But I promise it’s delicious!

Grab a 90-second Basmati Rice package and heat it up. Mix 1/2 cup of the rice with a sprinkle of cinnamon, coconut and a splash of vanilla and coconut milk (or other milk). It’s awesome! Reminds me of my mom’s famous rice pudding!

10. Coffee.


Oh coffee, how I love you.

Coffee has been linked to increase energy and performance if enjoyed within 30 minutes of a workout. And for some, just sipping on it can make our bodies make it through a workout.

Of course, coffee can have an affect on the intestines, so you might have to experiment with this one.

I just started drinking coffee before runs within the past year as it helps my body to wake up.

What Doesn’t Work

Here are a few things that I have heard over and over don’t work for many people.

  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Protein bars
  • Milk & thick juices (i.e. orange juice)

When it comes down to it, you really just have to experiment to see what works for you! Each person’s stomach handles food differently.

Do you have a favorite pre-workout snack for early morning workouts? 



  • we are sooo your number three around our house!!

  • A little coffee and half a banana usually works for me but I still prefer doing workouts later in the morning after eating a bigger breakfast.

    • I am the same when given the choice! I prefer a good hour to let my stomach to it’s thing before hand.

  • Toast, PB, banana is my go-to pre-workout snack. Peanut butter is definitely a staple, and if I’m still feeling a bit hungry, I just eat it off a spoon (or finger). It’s okay because I’m the only one who eats out of the (massive) jar 😉

  • YES! When I teach my 530 AM classes, I either try to eat a little more before bed and go with option #1, or I eat an apple sometimes with nut butter!

    • Wow, you beat me and my early mornings!

  • Sheena

    I prefer nothing! In the army we used to get up around 5:30, do PT, come back to the shacks, inspection and THEN breakfast. Inspection was a bit rough on the tummy but I find it really difficult to eat in the mornings let alone before working out 😛

    You should try putting a slice of ham inside the muffin tin before pouring your egg mixture in, it’s divine 😀

  • Grat post! I alwayssss have my coffee before morning workouts, and I actually find protein bars or yogurt is the best for me pre-workout!

    • I can handle yogurt and bars pretty well too! But I can understand why some people wouldn’t them in their stomachs when jumping all around.

  • Caroline

    Nothing it is! I usually have 15 minutes to get dressed and try to remember my water bottle. I love that this was the first one. All of my other trainers and boot camps in the past made me feel bad about not eating before a morning workout. Now I don’t have to lie about it 😉

    • Haha, no need to lie! We are all different!

  • Lauren

    great post! i have been struggling with this as i have tried to cut back on carbs (a piece of toast with PB used to be the go-to for me) – i am going to try that plantain bread!

    • Definitely try the plantain bread, it’s delicious and so simple!

  • I had a friend tell me the other day that she ate yogurt before running, and I can’t even imagine that! Then again, I know a guy… it’s actually my friend’s son… and when he ran high school cross country, he would run to Chick Fil A, get a milkshake, drink it, and run back to the school (school was maybe 2 miles away from CFA). Just hearing that made my stomach turn!

    I usually have my pop tart if it’s a longer run… if it’s short or something like a track workout, usually just my coffee. Anything an hour or less I typically don’t eat before the workout. I think oatmeal and bananas are good options too.

    • Oh my, I can’t imagine that either. I know there is the Krispy Kreme run that just makes my stomach churn thinking about it! It has to be simple! When we ran super early I wouldn’t eat anything but a piece of toast. Now that we’re doing track a bit later, I eat a breakfast before hand!

      • I really hate that you’re having to do track without me for awhile :(.

        One of the guys I coached with back in Florence did a 5k in Columbia that was similar to Krispy Kreme, except it was a Moe’s Homewrecker Burrito. I wouldn’t even eat that anyway, much less in the middle of a race. Yuck! I think that’s worst than ice cream OR krispy kreme.

  • Most of my workouts are done VERY early in the morning. I simply have a glass of water with a sports energizer supplement. No time for anything else. But, if on the weekends, there’s a bit more time, I go with that hard-boiled egg and fruit combo. Although, I am now thinking that coconut rice would be good.

    • Which energizer do you use?

  • I’m all about the toast in the AM before a workout. I like adding PB with sliced banana on it. If I’m just running in the morning, some days I won’t eat anything. I do love making my own protein bars/bites too – just need to make them again, it’s been a while since I have!

  • i totally do the coconut rice. It’s so easy to digest or plantain bread!! or a smoothie.

    • For so long I was anti-rice… it’s great to have it back in the rotation now! It’s amazing what educating yourself on nutrition will do to you! haha

  • so glad you are liking the plantain bread!!

    we love having coffee before working out

    • I am addicted! Even made pancakes the other day.

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