Should I eat breakfast before cycling?

This question is about Cycling

Elle Penner, MPH, RD

To get the most out of your workout, research suggests that you should eat breakfast (or at least a small snack) before cycling [



When you first wake up, your body’s carbohydrate (or glycogen) stores are low, so eating breakfast helps to replenish those stores and provide quick energy to your muscles so they can  perform more efficiently. 

One study showed that filling up on a high-carbohydrate breakfast well before endurance exercise can increase exercise capacity by 9% compared to fasted exercise [




]. Without breakfast, your body will turn to fat to fuel your cycling exercise, which can cost you speed and slow recovery.

If you want to cycle your best in the morning, consider having a light, carbohydrate-rich breakfast 30-60 minutes before heading out the door.

bowl of granola topped with fruit


  1. Spriet, L. L. (2014). New Insights into the Interaction of Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolism During Exercise. Sports Medicine, 44(S1), 87–96.

  2. Edinburgh, R. M., Hengist, A., Smith, H. A., Travers, R. L., Koumanov, F., Betts, J. A., Thompson, D., Walhin, J.-P., Wallis, G. A., Hamilton, D. L., Stevenson, E. J., Tipton, K. D., & Gonzalez, J. T. (2018). Preexercise breakfast ingestion versus extended overnight fasting increases postprandial glucose flux after exercise in healthy men. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 315(5), E1062–E1074.