What should I eat for a 6:30am HIIT workout?

Asked on October 12, 2016
Created October 11, 2016 at 5:50 PM

I have been extremely active all summer but haven't done any HIIT for several months. Today I did a HIIT workout at 6:40am and got destroyed. Due to lack of planning and not wanting to work out on an empty stomach, I ate half a clif bar at 6:15. 

Nearly passed out (was seeing spots) and threw up. The workout wasn't anywhere near at maximum effort so I'm wondering what was going on. I have previously done HIIT at a WAY higher effort level later in the day and had no problems. I think maybe my blood sugar plummeted. 

I've read that it's best to eat an hour before working out but I really don't want to get up at 5am so I can eat by 5:30. I'm concerned that doing HIIT fasted will make me pass out and/or make me lose muscle. 

I'm thinking about making my own energy gel (trying to be as paleo as possible) and eating it at 6am. What do you guys think?

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1 Answers



on October 12, 2016
at 04:34 PM

You won't lose muscle mass when you work out because as you work out, you're purposefully damaging muscle fiber, which gets rebuilt, not when you work out, but when you sleep and rest.  Even a post-workout meal isn't necessary as long as you do get more than enough protein to rebuild that muscle when you do rest, and as long as your lest long enough to allow the rebuild process to build slightly larger muscles.

In fact it's very useful to train fasted and to not consume a post workout meal for a couple of hours - this  improves insulin sensitivity for example, and also helps trigger autophagy.

Your performance will suffer a bit when you do this, and you may feel like a zombie for until you do recover.  One trick to recover faster is to take 10g-20g of glutamine powder in water.  This won't add too many calories and shouldn't affect insulin too much but will help speed recovery.

But you should be able do work out this way without passing out.  If you feel light headed, you could try ensuring that you have enough electrolytes.  Salt/potassium/etc. but without the sugar.

If you are working out beyond your capacity you probably will need some carbs as well, but that means you're not tapping into your fat cells, or aren't yet producing enough ketones to be able to run your body. i.e. you're not yet adapted to burning fat instead of relying on glucose stores.

It's also possible that you're stressed out from overtraining and haven't recovered fully yet, so this one morning workout is just too much.

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