Early morning exercise

(Andreas Beier) #1

Hi folks, (TLDR below)

I’m fairly new to the ketogenic lifestyle and i used to train early in the morning, like 4am early.
On a standard diet there’s several precautions to make this possible:
First, you have to warm up meticulously, for at least twenty minutes.
The reason for this post though, I usually ate an amount of fruit, so that i could boost my blood glucose for the workout bout.
Obviously, that’s no longer feasible on keto, and I wanted to know whether someone has any experience with really early workouts and if I can go ahead and train fasted, or whether I should eat something specific before working out.

Thanks in Advance,

TLDR: When training at 4 am, eat anything, or just go fasted?

(Scott) #2

I have been running fasted for years. But be ready for some lackluster workouts. Until you are fully fat adapted you will feel weak and without any fuel in the tank. It will take months to get past this but it will happen.


It’s very individual what works. I can’t train not well-fasted but I do that in the afternoon as I am very much not a morning person.

You are new at it so there may be harder to train for a while, it depends, probably, I never noticed that but my training isn’t very strenuous and I got the vast majority of my calories from fat before keto.


Welcome, @Andy_Beier!
I always train fasted, as do most LC/Keto folks. The idea of eating before a workout is very strange to me now.
Please watch your electrolyte levels and, as others have mentioned, be aware that you may have an adjustment period in your workouts. Glucose is a quick and easy fuel and it can take the body a while to learn to tap into fat as a fuel source.

(Allie) #5

I can’t train after food, makes me :nauseated_face:

(Kenny Croxdale) #6

Warm Ups

The objective of a warm up is to do the minimum amount of work required for you to achieve your top set. that elicits the greatest training effect.

You want to preserver your energy and strength for that top set.

Thus, you do not need a meticulous warm up.

Dawn Effect

This means a increase in cortisol occurs upon waking. Cortisol naturally increases blood sugar to get you up and going.

Secondly, on the Standard American Diet (high carbohydrates), you have plenty of glucose stored in the muscle when you wake. You burn very little if any glucose when sleeping.

Third, consuming carbohydrates prior to training blocks lipolysis (fat burning). It was/is counter productive.

Early Morning Training

I’ve trained around 4 am for years. My best training is in the morning.

That driven by…

Circadian Rhythm

This is the determinate factor of why some individual are Early Birds (like me) and other are Night Owls.

Circadian Rhythm has to do with fluctuations in body temperature based on genetics. It’s not something you can change.

You perform best (physically, mentally and emotionally) when your body temperature is at the top of normal or a little higher.

With that in mind, let look at…

Increasing Body Temperature

Upon waking, your body temperature starts climbing.

To assist it,

  1. Take a little time to wake up.

  2. Taking a warm shower will help increase you body temperature.

  3. Putting on sweat pants and shirts or a coat will increase body temperature.

  4. Having a cup of warm coffee will help, The caffeine definitely jumps starts you heart rate, blood flow.

  5. Having something like a drink of Bullion (sodium) hydrates the muscles; which helps them work more effectively.

Kenny Croxdale

(Andreas Beier) #7


You guys are fast! Special thanks to KennyCrox though, because raising body temperature is exactly the answer I was looking for and these tips will help a lot!!
I’m a real morning person too, thanks again for the great, detailed answer.
Nice first day in the forums :smiley:


(Scott) #8

All of this get the body ready talk. My routine is to get out of bed at 4:30 am, splash some water on my face and out the door to run. I used to do this as my warm up running the one mile to the gym but with covid I have skipped the gym.

(Edith) #9

Maybe just have a little salt preworkout. I don’t exercise quite as early as you, but I’m definitely a morning person. Every once in a while I will wake up hungry, so I have a slice or two of bacon before I get started. That does seem to help.


Fruit actually does a really bad job at that, it’s mostly sucrose and metabolized in the liver and doesn’t do much to your blood levels. That’s why people use Dextrose. Burns as rocket fuel almost as fast as you consume it, and won’t store as fat as it’ll burn off during your workout. That’s what Targeted Keto is.

Whether you train fasted of fed is 100% preference. I’m in around 0430-0500 daily as well and I like something in me. Do what helps your workouts and has you feeling the best. That’s a much better judgement than assuming. My typically pre-workout meal lately is 2 scoops of Oatmeal Cookie protein, about 100g blueberries, and 1/4cup oatmeal. That gives me some protein to start the day, some fruit flavor and some medium speed burning carbs for the workout. Many keto people that don’t lift would view oatmeal as a 3 layer chocolate cake, but in real life it’s not even close. You’ll find for those of us who lift seriously we typically wind up on a tweaked version of keto. You can have all the benefits of keto without the in the gym downsides. Just gotta see what works for you. I also still do the post-workout insulin spike with 20g dextrose in my recovery drink. I’ve noticed a huge difference in recovery and how much I (don’t) pee back out stuff post workout since starting to do that again.

(Bob M) #11

I exercise in the morning, and eat afterward. For instance exercised this morning at 6:30-7:30 am, ate first meal at 10:15 am. I eat when I’m hungry.

I’ve done many workouts like this, and many more fasted 32 or so hours. But I’ve also been low carb/keto 6.75 years now.

I tried a TKD (targeted keto diet), where I ate carbs the first meal after my workout. I think if I worked out more, it might be helpful. But since I only work out 3 days per week (edit: AND I’ve been low carb so long*), I don’t find the TKD helpful.

Edit: * TKD might help if you’re not as fat adapted as I am.

(Andreas Beier) #12

Hi, that answered a lot of questions. I‘m only in my third day, but I already feel so much better, especially regarding hunger and post meal feeling.
A question that really bugged me was Whether or not I could use dextrose to spike insulin post workout, without detrimental effect on Keto.
So, exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks for being around, I joined the forums because of people like you!

(Julie ) #13

I normally do early workouts for as weights and yoga without food. If walking (Competitive half marathon training and races) due to some of the distances I will have a light snack before hand since I am not interested in eating afterwords often.

(AJ) #14

That was greatly informative. Thank you for taking the time to clear up some of those questions I had.

(Nicolas) #15

Yep, Im here, doing 30 min jogging at 70% Maximum Hearth Rate.
It is so difficult to rewire everything to fat, it is super difficult, your quads just get showered in lactic acid, but because I have stick to it (the jogging and the keto) Im seeing improvements, cardiovascular improvements but I think Im not fat adapted yet.

I dont know how to know if one is fat adapted, but @Rclause here is right, doing exercise when starting keto is like trying to run a car without fuel mostly, it is the time (And I really think it could take months, Im 1 month and a half) it will take you to get fat adapted when the body have fuel.

(Scott) #16

Yeah, it wasn’t like hey I am fat adapted now. It was wondering one day if this keto thing was going to work for me as I was walking because I had no energy to run. One day and I have no idea how many prior before it dawned on me “hey I am running uphill and this doesn’t suck now”. I just assumed this was the beginning of fat adaption.

(Bob M) #17

I think this is an indication of fat adaptation. Both my blood and breath ketones are much lower now than they were over 3 years ago:

(Scott) #18

I guess the problem I have is I don’t measure anything. It seems to be working for me though. Keto I thought was easy but carnivore simplifies that. All I need to do is eat meat.

(Nicolas) #19

This is something Im seeing on fat adapted people.

Ok, Im 1 month and 2 weeks into Keto diet, Im exercising 30 min, one day off, one day on, every time I measure after exercise my ketone levels are > 5 mmol/L and BG < 70 (Hypo).

If you think about it, it makes some sense, as exercise induce lypolisis? maybe? thus you create Ketone Bodies.

But fat adapted people have the contrary, which also makes sense because they are USING the ketone bodies to fuel their bodies, the part I dont understand is why their BG goes up? Are they eating more Carbs? are they eating carbs before exercising? are they eating < 20 Gr Carbs? what is the bodily process that makes your BG to go up? Does that mean you have an Insulin Response when you exercise to lower that amount of BG?, does that mean that you ara anabolizing fat WHILE you are using fat as fuel (aka burning)?.

I want to be fat adapted already so Im not hypoglucemic everytime I jog.

(Pete A) #20

I will work out in the morning fasted, but I try to lift before a meal. I will also hike/yoga/resistance train fasted (anytime), or often an hour or so after eating.