I know the phrase second breakfast from the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. And I normally eat second breakfast when I ride to work. Before the ride I eat a banana (~51 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat) and drink some water. After the ~1 hour ride, I shower and eat breakfast in my office – typically a cinnamon cereal with 9 grams or less of sugar and soy milk. This combination seems to work well for me. This morning I forgot the banana and found myself sluggish in the middle of the ride and when I tried to push up the last hill my legs just didn’t have it. It seems I was really missing my first breakfast banana.
I did a little searching to see what other people say about eating or not eating before morning exercise. Some say it depends on the kind of exercise. If weight loss is your goal some think that you should not eat. Others think you should eat lightly with carbs but low fat and protein (like a banana). The general consensus is figure out what works for you. Thanks for nothing internet.
Here are some links I found:
Tips on eating and exercise from the Mayo Clinic. They never get around to mayonnaise at all.
If you are planning on eating big, this NY Times article is interesting. They come down on the don’t eat given their scenario.
Also on the don’t eat side is this weight lifting site. I can see some cyclists trying to get extra lean like a weight lifter, so you might want to check out the study they site.
The Today Show is firmly in the eat some carbs (25 grams) before your workout and then eat a solid breakfast afterwards. Sounds like second breakfast to me.
Enjoy Your Pedaling.