5 Simple Ways to Maximize Your Morning Workout

Eating a pre-workout breakfast before a workout is always a good idea. Proper nutrition helps the body generate more energy for a workout and offsets the muscular breakdown that happens during a workout, especially a muscle enduring work out like The Bar Method. Eating breakfast before class can lead to more calories burned during and after the workout!

There are three things you want to try to incorporate for breakfast when fueling up. That is carbs, protein, and fiber. But there are a few tips that I have before we even get to breakfast because if you’re like me, trying to convince myself to wake up to have breakfast (especially when I’m not hungry) before a workout is a bit of a task!

Give yourself time to wake up

First off, give yourself some space to wake up. Avoid waking up and rushing out the door to class. I know it’s tempting to hit snooze until you have to bolt, but your first moments in class shouldn’t be about waking up. You want to be ready to hit those first set of push-ups or a plank with confidence. Your body is less engaged and it won’t be a strong start if you’re tired. Wake up 20-30 mins before heading out the door allows you to give yourself some space in the am to wake up, move your body and your mind. The best time to eat before a workout is about 2-3 hours, so waking up a little earlier will allow some time for your body to properly digest breakfast and metabolize in your body.

Drink Water First

Have water either next to your bed when you wake up or a glass left out in the kitchen that you can easily fill in the morning. Depending on what type of workout I’m doing, my water intake varies. If it’s intense and cardio-based, like Bar Move I’ll probably have about 8 oz. If I’m taking a bar method or advanced class I try to have double that at 16oz. And never forget to bring water to class. Sometimes I even add lemon, cucumber, or lime for a little extra detox.

Why Have Water?

Proper hydration and a little fuel before a workout has so many little benefits that improve your body’s ability to hit those moves, hold them longer, stay in the muscle, and stretch deeper!
Water revs up your metabolism. Make sure to have atleast 2.5L to 3L a day to flush impurities out and free radicals that release during the workout.

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How To Properly Fuel Up

My lifestyle is heavily focused on low carb, and high fiber. So when I’m working out I make sure I double down on both, that way I’m staying full and properly energized before and after my work out. I love to have something light before I take class- and even teach- so I’m not starving after class which tends to lead to overeating after class!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can stay low carb and high fiber, feel free to subscribe to my blog or check out my online course, Glow Carb Mindset, that was inspired by my journey with exercise, food, and the Bar Method that led me to (finally) sustainably lose weight, without sacrifice!

I don’t tend to count calories, but for reference, I would keep your breakfast roughly 200 calories or less before a workout, especially if the window is tight from eating to taking a class. Enough time will help your metabolism start its engine. Your body is constantly prioritizing voluntary and involuntary tasks. If you’re digesting food at the same time as your exercise, your body’s tasks are now split. It’s like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. It’s hard to do! No matter what, you should feel fully satiated before working out, even though it’s not much. Never go into a workout starving. This is to prevent famished feelings during and after a workout. One of the biggest things that I learned while going through my own journey was smarter choices and portion control add up over time (i.e. atomic!). And just because I worked out like a fiend, doesn’t mean I was able to eat anything I wanted with no consequences. Lesson learned! It starts in the kitchen, and there aren’t many people that can avoid this rule.

And for good measure, I wanted to highlight some supplements I use for joint health and muscle recovery.


Now, I’m not a supplement junkie, but there are definitely a few things I like to take to maximize my workout for muscle recovery and joint health! Collagen is something that I have every day, whether it’s in a smoothie or my hot coffee, it does more than just provide benefits to skin and nails.

Collagen relieves joint inflammation that’s most likely caused by exercise. It can also help with arthritis! Collagen is for people who like to play the long game, which means you rarely see short term effects, but long term benefits. Depending on the brand you like, it can be packed with amino acids that support joint health and protect your body from free radicals that release when working out. I purchase this collagen powder from Amazon and throw it into my hot coffee, tea, or smoothie almost every morning!

For similar benefits like joint pain relief, I also take a turmeric supplement every morning with breakfast. Like collagen, turmeric helps with smoother joint functionality. Turmeric is a multi-faceted spice that has a lot of benefits outside of joint health! It helps lower cholesterol, fight infection, and provide balance to your body’s antioxidants.

B-12 is another supplement that I pop in my mouth in the morning, it’s one of the first things that I do. I keep it out on the counter so I don’t forget it. I would actually like to think that every time I have B-12 in the am I can forego coffee, it’s one of the best natural supplements to have for more energy. One of the reasons why is because it regulates blood cells. It also helps keep your nervous system in check by providing an additional layer to protect your nerves when B-12 levels are low. Not to mention just overall skin, sight, and oral health. B-12 makes you glow naturally!

What To Eat Before A Workout

A few of my favorite breakfast go-to’s are fruit, vegetables, yogurt, or roughly half of a protein bar. Again, I like to keep it super light in the am so my body can focus on working rather than have my body focus on digesting food. It takes energy to do both and I would rather prioritize my workout. Here are a few ways to hit those three food groups, carbs, fiber, before a work out class:

Carbs & Fiber:

  • Berries: ~1/3 cup of either blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
  • Vegetables: ~2-3 stalk of celery, ~1/2 sliced cucumber or 1/2 sliced pepper
  • High fiber granola: KPX or Julian’s Bakery Pro Granola

Protein, Carbs, Fat & Fiber:

  • Bars: 1/2 protein bar. My favorites are raw rev, dark chocolate kind bar, No Cow, or Truth Bars
  • Smoothies: 1/2 smoothie with your favorite protein powder, greens, and seeds.

Pre-Workout Breakfast Recipes

Smoothies (1/2 pre-workout, 1/2 post-workout):

Go For Green

  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 1-inch peeled piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach or kale
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or plain Greek yogurt**)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • + Ice, water if needed and blend!

PB and G Smoothie

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 TBSP of nut butter
  • 2 TBSP of cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • + Ice, water if needed and blend!

Yogurt Parfait:

Two Good Yogurt topped with raspberries or blackberries, a sprinkle of chia seeds, topped with a squirt of coconut whipped cream!

Sliced Vegetable Medley (select one of the following):

  • 1/2 cucumber sliced with hummus
  • 1/2 sliced pepper with guacamole
  • Baby carrots with hummus

Egg Cups:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Whisk 4-6 eggs in a bowl and set aside
  3. Spray down muffin tin with coconut oil, place your desired combination of veg fillings into each muffin cup.
  4. Season each cup with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour eggs over veg filling until the liquid almost reaches the top.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. You should have 2-3 servings of egg cups to have before class.
  8. Enjoy!

If you want to know more about this lifestyle follow Atomic She on Instagram or subscribe to her blog to get notified on low carb and high fiber recipes and lifestyle tips.

Hey there!

I’m Nikki Rothman, a barre instructor, fiber-lover, Jeep-mom, and founder of Atomic She. It’s nice to meet you!