Kristen Arnold sports dietitian cycling coach Team USA Sports Director

Author Profile: Kristen Arnold
Kristen Arnold MS, RDN, CSSD 
sports dietitian, cycling coach, Team USA Sports Director
IG: @kristenknarnold



Whether it’s hitting the highest weights, running/riding/swimming the fastest splits, or burning the most calories, fueling for workouts is essential to perform and get the most out of your training. Chargel gel drinks provide an easy-to-digest quick fuel source for these early morning sessions.

Fuel for dawn morning workouts Chargel

Do I need fuel for a very early morning training session?

No matter when the workout starts, fuel is essential for performance. While there are mixed results as to the benefits and effects of either fasted or fed (calories taken in before and/or during exercise), studies exist showing that athletes who train in the fed state perform better in certain conditions. You can fuel either before or during the workout.

Glycogen/energy stores and fluids are lost during sleep and athletes rolling out of bed to complete their workouts before the sun rises need to consume calories and fluids either pre-workout or during the workout. It can often be challenging to choke down solid food or make the time to prepare a snack or meal this early. Chargel delivers a digestible and fast fuel source that helps prime the muscles and brain for these workouts.

Carbohydrates are essential to fuel all types of workouts with a few exceptions (intentionally restricting carbohydrates for health or training adaptation reasons). Glucose in the blood (from eating carbohydrates) and glycogen stored in the liver and muscles (from eating carbohydrates and protein) are the body and brain’s preferred choice for fuel. For the body to absorb and utilize carbohydrates as a fuel source during workouts, it is best to use products that include a variety of types of carbohydrates, so the cells are not overloaded by any one type of carbohydrate source.

Chargel for Running Marathon Triathlon Cycling

Researchers who published a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2019 found that performance during a resistance exercise workout (strength training) was worse for athletes who fasted going into the workout, compared to athletes who ate breakfast. Another study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism in 2013 investigated the effects of mouth rinses on performance in a cycling time trial. Twelve competitive male cyclists completed a 60-minute simulated cycling time trial after fasting for 2 hours versus having a meal 2 hours before. They then had the participants swish around a carbohydrate drink mix or water. The participants who completed a mouth rinse (swishing around the carbohydrate drink mix and then spitting it out) had statistically significantly better performance when compared to the participants who had just water. This demonstrates evidence that some carbohydrates pre-workout may improve performance compared with none. An enzyme called amylase lives in the mouth which immediately metabolizes carbohydrates and provides a beneficial rise in insulin for perceived energy and performance.

What if I want to lose weight?

Evidence exists to support the practice of fueling before workouts to lose weight. It is commonly believed that exercising fasted will enhance fat burning, while some studies suggest otherwise. Researchers who published a study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2011 found that participants who completed a moderate-intensity training session after breakfast had enhanced fat utilization throughout the day compared to participants who completed the same workout fasted.

Chargel carbohydrate energy gel training pre workout

What if I’m working out in the morning and the afternoon/evening?

For athletes who complete double-day training sessions, the recovery period doesn’t end with the recovery shake after the workout. Fueling before and/or during the first workout will help the athlete maintain a productive fueled status for their second workout. If the window between workouts is very short, such as 2-3 hours, there is not necessarily enough time to refuel between sessions. Fueling before and/or during the first workout helps to go into the second workout well-fueled and ready to perform.

How are Chargel gel drinks different from other pre-workout formulas and products?

With a blend of easily digestible carbohydrates, Chargel assists in covering the basis of the body and brain’s needs for pre-workout, plus it tastes great and is easy to grab. Chargel also has a modest ingredient list, unlike many pre-workout formulas with a cocktail of unstudied and questionable ingredients. There is also no caffeine in Chargel. This allows the athlete to add caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, or other products to take in the amount of caffeine that works well for them individually or stay away from it if they choose.

If your main goal is to perform during your training session, fueling before and/or during will likely help.