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Pre-Ride Breakfast for Funky Stomachs?

DannyDrawsDannyDraws Posts: 8
edited September 2016 in Training, fitness and health
I'm wondering if anyone out there with a sensitive stomach has good breakfast tips for early morning rides?

Since I've been ramping up my mileage and intensity over the past couple years I've had a hard time nailing down my nutrition. I've always had a sensitive stomach in the early morning, and most of my rides, especially the big ones (60-100 miles) are too early for me to get down a proper breakfast. Now, I've done a lot of big rides with no breakfast at all, only relying on mid-ride gels and bars, but as you can imagine it's not ideal. I've bonked once but mostly just loose all energy and power or cramp like crazy. So I'm done with that. It hurts too much!

I've had the most success with smoothies, but it's still not enough for an 80-100+ mile ride. I've tried muffins or toast and when I take a bite I literally can't get it down my throat. I know it's weird... anyways, what would you guys and gals suggest?


  • Holland a Barret do protein breakfast powders that are pretty good.
    Trek,,,, too cool for school ,, apparently
  • DannyDraws wrote:
    I'm wondering if anyone out there with a sensitive stomach has good breakfast tips for early morning rides?
    Now, I've done a lot of big rides with no breakfast at all, only relying on mid-ride gels and bars,

    A sensitive stomach that isn't sensitive to gels?

    Oats usually go down well, a slice of granary toast or something. Soreen for the ride. A banana
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • HTFU... scrambled eggs on toast is the answer
  • I was going to suggest scrambled eggs and salmon or Eggs Royale.
    Or a croissant dunked in coffee
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • I was going to suggest scrambled eggs and salmon or Eggs Royale.
    Or a croissant dunked in coffee

    Number 1 grandson (14) came out on a first proper roadie ride with me last week, 46km with a break for a Cappuccino and croissant which he now thinks are cycling staples.
    Trek,,,, too cool for school ,, apparently
  • I'm the same. Anything too big or rushed tends to make a return journey. My advice is to get up earlier and eat slowly. Let your stomach wake up and slowly fill it.

    I read that scrambled eggs on granary or wholemeal bread. A little tip I read had IIRC paprika added to the eggs for a bit of a kick. Apparently it helps you wake up (stomach too), good nutrition and there's something in paprika that helps with exercise. Hazy on the details but could be muscle repair or anti-oxidants or similar. I find eggs easy on my stomach.
  • @ugo.santalucia: lol i would love to HTFU, unfortunately I have no control over my body immediately vomiting up my breakfast.

    @SloppySchleckonds: let me clarify. my stomach is sensitive before the ride. And a little bit in the beginning, but once I'm up and moving for at least a couple hours, I can get gels and food down. scrambled eggs could be perfect though.

    Thanks for the suggestions guys, a good protein powder might be good. Toast is great but that early in the morning I can't get it down. But I'll continue to keep trying that. Scrambled eggs with avocado sounds like it could work. Salmon too.

    All these suggestions "sound" delicious but in the morning before a ride, the more solid the food, the harder it is to get down. It's not just a general uneasiness, it's a lifelong issue I've had due to anxiety and things I won't get into. Was just wondering if anyone has a similar experience with breakfast difficulties, and has some solutions. Thanks again!
  • Very interesting TangeledMetal. I will definitely try some paprika eggs and waking up earlier. Very good suggestions!
  • Salmon and eggs is really nice too.

    If bread is an issue then look at oatcakes. They might be lighter for you to stomach.

    My best advice is to get up earlier to let your stomach settle and allow for slow breakfast.

    Another idea I tried was to eat a reasonable snack shortly before going to sleep. I've never had an issue over going to bed on.a full stomach. I found you were fairly full in the morning so didn't really need much for breakfast the next day.
  • Bircher muesli? Has the added advantage it requires no prep on the day. I tend to make my own so I know how much sugar goes in, and other ingredients. I find it ideal for a ride and a bit more interesting than porridge.
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    I occasionally put some poridge oats into my smoothie to make is really quite thick. It's easy to stomach but still keep you going for that good long time.
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • Good idea Lancew. I'll try some muesli in a smoothie.

    So here's a summary:
    - Wake up earlier to let the stomach settle more.
    - A fruit/veggie smoothie with a protein powder, some muesli and maybe half an avocado in it. Also maybe some almond butter.
    - Scrambled eggs with paprika and the other half of avocado.

    This sounds very doable guys thank you so much for the suggestions and knowledge!
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,208
    I have a similar problem DannyDraws.

    Try and find stuff that's easy on the stomach as mentioned. Scrambled eggs are but I don't find them very filling for longer rides. Have you got an acid/tannic acid intolerance? For example, does a strong cup of tea or orange juice make you vomit?
    Graeme O'Bree swears by toast and jam. I like heaps of toast with Chocolate Hazelnut spread. I have coffee but a cafe latte, rarely an espresso - too acidic. Muesli is excellent. Try a Swiss variety, it's not so heavy and a bit easier to get through a bowl of the stuff without your jaw aching. Porage with mixed fruit - I personally don't like the texture of the mixed fruit in Porage but it's a hot muesli I guess and many riders eat it.
    Do certain fats cause vomiting? For example, could you eat a croissant or a flapjack without being ill?

    If you are after a very very good protein/energy drink, I can recommend Reflex Mass. You can mix it with milk and it's very palatable. I like the chocolate one and there's a link to absorption of foodstuffs containing cocoa (a bit like Tangled Metal - I could find a link but cba).
    There are other supplements like 'Muscle Mass' and similar but they can be over loaded with Creatine and are marketed towards steroidal using body builders, so be wary. Don't choose the Reflex Mass Heavyweight for that reason. Reflex mass is totally organic. Shop around, you can get his a lot cheaper than the extortionate H and B. ... s-60082184

    I would use it in small doses though and try and find some foodstuffs that agree with you. I find nuts brilliant for energy and not too heavy if you pick say Cashew/Macademia nuts. Salted peanuts make you thirsty, so to be avoided before a ride.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • Wow thank you Pinno. A lot of great stuff.

    I don't think I have an acid intolerance, but I'm not sure. Coffee and OJ don't seem to mess me up in the morning. But I don't do morning coffee very often. Fats don't bother me either.

    Toast is hard for me in the morning, but I think waking up earlier can really help digest it. I'm a bread head, so toast and jam/hazelnut spread sounds amazing. I'm gonna try it.

    That protein powder looks insane! Thanks for the link, I will definitely check that protein out.

    Thanks again man!
  • Honey and banana sandwiches. The honey stops the bananas going black. You can mash it up and spread it to make very portable sandwiches. Eat them before leaving and perhaps another in cling film for a little into your ride. Bananas are easier to eat and digest I think.
  • I will try that as well. Maybe in a tortilla too. Thanks a lot man, really awesome suggestions.
  • Whether you ate sufficient carbohydrates the day before is more important to you bonking than breakfast imo. If you have stored glycogen, you don't need any food at all for the first hour, so long as you're proactive replacing the carbs on the ride.

    I would eat a piece of fruit pre ride and then eat more carbs whilst you're riding because that seems to be when you can stomach more food. This is what I do for fuel on rides

    According to other posters, protein and fat (eggs) gives you energy, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
  • I think the best course of action is to address the actual problem... common causes could be alcohol, lavish dinners, late dinners, insufficient sleep (as in you go to bed late, in relationship to when you wake up) etc...
  • LR010 is right about carbs being needed more than.fats and protein but that's easier said than done if carb rich foods don't stay down. I suggested eggs, along with other posters, purely from experience. I had the same problem as.the poster in.that very little foodstuffs will stay down. The experience I had is that I could eat eggs and that helped settle my stomach down to allow me to eat carb rich foods later on.

    My practise was to eat scrambled eggs on toast (I eventually built up the toast portion up to two slices over time). That was before long distance, challenge walks. The eggs settled things down so that by the end of the hour long plus journey i to eat bananas, cereal bar type energy bars, etc. For me that worked and provided I ate such carb rich energy bars, even cakes en route i completed these events in a decent time.

    Lavish dinners, lack of sleep, alcohol...never did any of these before challenge events. indeed I never had any of those during my primary school years when this issue first started. I think you've missed something in the original post. He's got a stomach that's not capable of holding down a good breakfast, possibly anything. That's a function of his body's reaction to waking and eating close to the time of waking. I've even read nutritional experts advise that you should listen to your body if it can't hold down food first thing in the morning. They suggest eating what you can then taking in food on the go later on.

    The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day really doesn't apply to everyone. That's the advise I read from articles in magazines written by respected sports nutritionists. It's my experience and since the OP sounds like he's in the same situation as me I'm passing on my solutions that work for me.

    BTW it doesn't have to continue like this, I've managed to build up to a bowl of porridge (those sachet ones but it's carbs and it's a step in the right direction). However some days that's not possible. I have some really bad days when even coffee won't stay down. Those days only extra time to allow the stomach to settle or wake up helps.
  • You could also suppliment your carb intake with something like the SIS Go Energy powder added to your water bottle, 50g's of carbs per serving.
    2010 Specialized Tricross (commuter)
    2014 Whyte T129-S
    2016 Specialized Tarmac Ultegra Di2
    Big Mitch - YouTube
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,208
    Good advice TM. There was a time when I could not eat anything before say 10am. I stopped riding in the mornings, I left that to later on.
    However, I think sometimes it's a viscous circle - you are fretting and anticipating problems. Vomiting after half a cup of tea for example gets weary and so on and so on.

    If I go out on a club ride say Sunday morning or planning a long ride with an earlyish start, I make sure I eat plenty the day before and then I eat bananas. One at a time and slowly. Then another a little bit later and another if I can. If I am eating the banana on the go whilst fettling with the bike/getting kit on/pumping up tyres, it seems to be easier, rather than filling the stomach up quickly.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • I'm glad, I think, that there's people like me with this breakfast issue. I got sick of defending my habit of skipping breakfast to mates. They never tired of telling me that "it's the most important meal of the day"! Not if it involuntarily fills the toilet bowl minutes after ingestion it isn't.

    We all know our bodies. My stomach just hates waking up that's all. I'm sure most people can understand that sentiment!
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,208
    My gripe is "Aren't you going to have a full English..., what's the matter with you?"
    Full English!?! One bite and I would be seeing it instantly. I also cannot understand why a cyclist would want one either and I know a few.

    Slightly off topic:
    I have had a good mind to eat the breakfast, puke all over them or all over the car upholstery - that'll teach em.
    If I have tea I have 'hospital tea' - so weak it's coming out on crutches and I get jip for it "Eeeugh, I wouldn't drink that, it's pish water..." etc. Despite the fact that I say "You're not drinking it, so what's the problem?". There is a friends house where the kettle is never off. The tea stews in a teapot, they top it up periodically. No matter how many times I say 'no thanks', they're making references to my dislike for strong tea.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • I'm the same as I suffer with chronic IBS. I hate eating breakfast but for long rides or sportives, I will soak oats overnight in semi skimmed milk with bananas, apples, berries and flax/sunflower seeds. If you like rice pudding my coach recommend eating a can of ambrosia rice 45 minutes before your ride and a mug of black coffee, all of which works for me. As for gels the only ones that my stomach will tolerate is OTE.
  • Sounds like a self help group for those with grumpy stomachs in the morning. Unless you have one you'll not really understand.

    Love the idea of the next time someone questions why you're not having a full English you demonstrate all over them. Worth the cost of wasted fry up! Bet they'll never say it again.

    BTW my old solution was to eat so much for dinner that it's still going through the system the next day. I stopped that after I realised if it's still in my stomach by the morning then any sudden movements will get it out again! Mind you eating over 200g dried weight of rice and enough chilli con carne sauce to go with it might just have been excessive. Plus it took over an hour to eat. I've got a good appetite being kind of big (tall with fast metabolism) but I have limits to one.sitting.

    Sorry for the gross posts. It's not pleasant describing the effects of breakfast on me.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 40,208
    ...a can of ambrosia rice...

    Rice pudding for breakfast, that's a top idea. I have plenty of pudding rice.

    TWM - Just plain, uncooked oats?

    Talking of fuelling up the day before, I eat 3 some times 4 Weetabix about 40 mins before bed. (Not as heavy as Chilli lol).
    ...or Shreddies or Shredded wheat. Easy on the stomach and easy to digest.

    I have seen me get up at 3am for a middle of the night snack - I cannot sleep if I am hungry.

    3 weeks ago, 35 mile ride to the Cafe. After a bowl of porage and some dark chocolate (not together I may add) for breakfast. Ordered 1 latte, 1 slice of Coffee cake. I decided it wasn't enough so had 1 espresso* and then I had an almond slice. 35 miles home. Excellent' Felt great. Took 10 miles after the Cafe stop before feeling like I wasn't an over inflated beach ball. Got home had a home made protein/recovery drink.

    *slight gamble that didn't backfire.

    Showered, Stretched. Had a snooze. OH came back with Kids. Cooked Lasagne and ate it with side salad. Later had Greek Yoghurt with fruit - great for IBS btw. I had that for 10 days once. I thought 'f*ck this for a game of soldiers; this is life changing' so I cut out all fats just as a possible cause/trigger - from butter to milk for the 10 days and it alleviated the problem no end. Now I eat yoghurt on a daily basis, no IBS. (Doesn't cure the root problem but helps cure the side effects).

    Ate my usual fibre fix at 10pm. Woke up at 3am starving hungry tossing and turning. Bowl of Shreddies and a banana later, I got to sleep again.

    Home made recovery/protein drink:

    1 spoon Cocoa powder (mix into a paste or it will float)
    Add 3 spoons of plain ice cream and 150ml milk.
    Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy (don't put this in a blender as it will go to mush)
    Add two whole free range eggs, Whisk. It's magic.

    I am 65kg's. I have no idea what the calories I ate during that 26 hour period, but I bet I could give those doughnut dunking fatties a run for their money (calorie wise).
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • Valid points for sure. Although, for me personally, I don't drink and I don't have any bad habits like that other than having a hard time getting to bed before midnight. I'm guessing ~6 hours of sleep for an early ride isn't quite enough to complete all the physical work the body does while we sleep. Thus, I wake up a little too soon and my body is in a slight state of shock and consequently has a hard time taking food. I don't know, just a theory.

    Thanks again and again for all the great info Tangled Metal. I think you're right on with everything. And I'm optimistic about some solutions for this issue now. I'm excited to build up to bigger meals too.
  • My doctor diagnosed IBS for me. It's a catch all name for random symptoms that they can't explain. My GP was quite honest about that.

    It was getting bad at one point and together with challenge walks resulted in diarrhoea and other stomach problems. After one such walk a friend told me what a doctor friend told her. If you suspect dairy could be a cause instead of trying to get a referral by your GP that will never happen without a fight. Don't cut out milk just switch to uht long life milk. Give it a year to 18 months then slowly re-introduce normal milk.

    Well I tried this and I'm now drinking semi skimmed milk whenever I want to without any IBS symptoms.

    I still get trapped wind and irritability in my guts but that's more likely to be related to the slightly vegetarian nature of my diet. I'm forced to have at least one vegetarian meal a week. Too much in.the way of fruit and vegetables results an irritability, trapped or untrapped wind.
  • pinno wrote:
    ...a can of ambrosia rice...
    TWM - Just plain, uncooked oats?.

  • Tried Weetabix drink or Up&Go?

    Easy to get down and has a few carbs too
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