My Breakfast Routine Before Workouts

I’ve been experimenting with different breakfast options for decades.

In 1998-1999, it was at least 80% fat while on a Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD). For the last 12 years, I’ve mostly consumed Slow-Carb Diet options shared in The 4-Hour Body (e.g. like this low-carb, high-protein, breakfast you can make in under 3 minutes, though I now use whole eggs).

I occasionally experiment with intermittent fasting, and the video below shares my current super-light breakfast that I use before most training and early morning travel. If hypertrophy (adding muscle) is my main objective, I still default to Slow-Carb and 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking.


Here are some of the products I mention in this video:

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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58 Replies to “My Breakfast Routine Before Workouts”

  1. Tim,

    Huge fan, thank you for all of your efforts, I have listened and read 90% of your work, the info has been life changing in many ways. Cannot wait for your new book to come out, I am equally as intrigued by the routines of ultra successful as you are and have found many to be very helpful in my own life.

    Random question here, completely off topic. Your long sleeve shirts are phenomenal and I cannot seem to find that perfect fit. May I ask where you get them?

    Thanks my friend,


      1. Tim, I notice the tea component of your diet…but have not researched your writings further (as of yet) regarding coffee…thoughts?

  2. Tim are you still having the PAGG protocol? I’ve been on it since the release of the 4HB, but curious if you’re still a believer? Thanks as always. Jamie

  3. Hey Tim, thank you for another great post. Do you take the C8 and Ketoforce everyday? I’m currently using MCT oil powder in my tea and don’t want to go overkill. Can you suggest a protocol (for example, 6 days a week on and 1 day off)?

    Side note: small typo in the first sentence of the post “while on a while on a”

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’m still figuring out the best dosing protocol for exogenous ketones, MCT, etc. I’ll keep you posted. And thanks for the heads up on the typo! Will fix now.

  4. You forgot to mention the four sigmatic superfood blend. I put it in my morning smoothie on a daily basis. Is it a product you use daily or just for specific circumstances?

  5. Great work again Tim! I know I am and many others are definitely interested in your current meal and supplement plans.

    Are you currently in a consistent state of ketosis? How long do you stay in ketosis for and do you cycle in and out? The reason I ask is because I know you enjoy your wine, do you stop drinking wine to stay in ketosis? Are there any tricks to get back into ketosis as soon as you come out for some carbs or wine? Do you stay out for a few days or go directly back in?

    Also, I’m extremely interested in your daily supplement plan. I think others are also interested in what your current supplement plan is as well. Could you please share this?

    1. I think that this is unnecessary. Especially since Rich Roll says we don’t need as much protein as we think.He is a “runner”, however it seems to me that this is too much

  6. hey Tim talk to me about beets, and their healing power , and boner power? I heard that beets lower blood pressure and increase energy , is that true? boner power, well thats just an added bonus

  7. Hi Tim, huge fan of your work and greatly enjoy the ‘shortcuts’ for lack of a better word, you’ve provided over the years. How would you adapt this breakfast for early morning bjj? Would you simply go with 30 within 30 (whey) before and the rest of the breakfast after? Something about whole foods before a good dose of knee on belly doesn’t sit right. As always, keep up the great work! Thanks, Anne

  8. Tim,

    I still remember the story in one of your books (podcasts?) of your dad, who was overweight at the time, and started eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up — and did nothing else — and lost a ton of weight. Sounded easy enough and I’m here to tell you that three months after adopting your advice for your dad I’ve lost ten pounds, without doing anything else. And feeling great.


    Carl Kruse

  9. Hi Tim,

    It’s 9:06 PST so I figure it’s a good time to catch you. In my mind’s eye you are entombed for the night, ready to crack open one of a number of fine wines gifted to you by your legions of fans (or that dick, Chris Saca. Okay, I’m bitter). But I thought I would help you by simplifying your morning routine. In my way of thinking – and others, like a guy named Steven Jobs – breakfast is meant to be utilitarian and frictionless. I get that you have an alchemical mix to start your day, but let me save you time, hassle, and money. Wake up, but don’t eat for at least 2hrs. Your body doesn’t even want to eat during that time as it is still trying to shake off the embryonic memories of it’s perfect, Morpheus-like past. Once 2hrs have passed, eat a cup of frozen blueberries (huge anti-oxident) and some hot tea. I like Tevanna’s English Breakfast. That should hold you til lunch when you’ll have some delicious and hip avocado toast. That sets you up to go crazy and eat whatever the fuck you want for dinner. Nutrition, I have found is simple…’s a math problem. No need to over complicate it.

    1. Brian,

      While I get your point, bringing up Steve Jobs was probably not the best person you could have chosen 😉 I have experimented myself with a vegan diet, and much like Tim (I suppose, not speaking for him here), I don’t think the benefits (which are still debated) outweigh the negatives — which are the sacrifice of many dating, social, and business opportunities while vegan.

      Listen to the last podcast, which featured some very smart and accomplished physicians/scientists, they explain that “eating a whole bunch of antioxidants”, have not lived up to scrutiny and research as having any real benefit.

  10. Tim: Thanks so much for your work and letting others know about what has worked for you.

    I’m just reading 4HB now and hoped you had the answer to a huge problem, or know of some research. I was good until into my 50s, lifting, walking, dancing etc, then I got sick and went from size 10 to size 18 in about 6 months. While I managed to lose most of the weight fairly quickly, significant chronic pain and fatigue has lasted almost 2 decades now.

    But the worst problem is skin. Skin doesn’t shrink back when the rest of you does when you’re older and it’s so ugly that I keep being tempted to gain the weight back just to get rid of the loose skin.

    Have you any ideas about that? Have you had older people with that problem who couldn’t afford cosmetic surgery and found some other solution?

    Any ideas or hints certainly appreciated,

    Thanks again.


  11. Hi Tim, great read, I’ve been listening non stop with your podcast! As a avid fitness addict myself nutrition is always the key.

    Not your typical breakfast but thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi Tim,

    I am simply interested in a healthy diet (not the ketogenic diet, etc.). Is this all good stuff to take in the mornings only if you are following the ketogenic diet, or it is good to take regardless? My diet more closely resembles the low-carb diet more than anything. Should I look into KetoForce, Brain Octane, etc?



  13. Tim,

    What would you say to the people who don’t like reading or writing? Although I have tried to help, I’ve seen through my experience, motivation and passion are difficult to sustain in diverse audiences. How can they follow in your footsteps?

    Love everything you do, thanks for being who you are.

    Kind regards,

    Christian D. Pareja

  14. So these are a few different options? Either the tea, or the protein shake or the lemon water with ketones? Or you’re doing all 3? I was doing a Whole 30 and drinking bullet proof coffee every morning, with ghee, coconut oil and an egg yolk blended. I was also eating a fair amount of hard boiled eggs as snacks throughout the day. I had some labs drawn at day 25 or so for an insurance thing and my cholesterol was high! Never had that in my life. The ratio was good but a tad high LDL and a tad high total. HDL was on the upper end of normal. I was also at 9.6% body fat.. (rough measurement on a scale). So I quit the bullet proof coffee. But i liked the routine and felt great on long runs or doing crossfit workouts. So looking at this for a similar replacement. Thoughts?

    1. Blending your egg yolk could have been the culprit to your increased cholesterol. I understand that heavily scrambled eggs (ie:blending them in a blender) oxygenates the yolks and makes them more likely to increase your cholesterol. It’s strange, but in your case, I believe the oxygenated egg yolk could be the culprit.

  15. Hi Tim!

    Thank you so much for doing this great work and for being such an inspiration. (expertise- AND personality-wise)

    I got a really important question with regards to WHEY-Protein – which I alreaday tried to get answered by Charles and other nutrition/training experts – without getting any feedback so far:

    – According to scientific studies is one of the key components of whey – beta lactoglobulin – marked as “highly allergenic”.

    – What seems to happen when we consume whey is that our immune-system is sending all of our little soldiers into the gut to “split” / “fight” this allergene.

    – The result is, that at this point of time – as all “soldiers” are being busy in our guts dealing with the beta-lactoglobulin, they can not do their work elsewhere in our bodies. (e.g. fighting free radicals)

    My question is: Can it really be beneficial to consume whey on a daily basis (when doing workouts approx. 4x per week) given the mentioned complexity I described?

    I would appreciate your advise!

    Thank you and best from Germany hombre!!!!


  16. Hey Tim! I think its time for me to come out of the closet as an avid reader of yours. I’ve been very scam sensitive about it all for a while but tried a lot of techniques anyways. I do appreciate all the research you do. I’ve been on various diet/exercise routines for years and have had my own successes. Favorite workout routines are P90X and Insanity (I especially like the latter). Recently I got very confused about diet after living in Latin America for 15 months. The options were just completely different than I was used to. I had some problems with stomach bacteria, plus my routines got completely thrown off in this new environment. I’m looking forward to trying some of these diet options soon now that I have better access to the products being in the states. Very interesting. I too am a fan of boring but healthy food. But, how do you manage to keep friends with your diet? Seriously, people can get so down and even act offended if you are not “enjoying” the same foods or types of foods that they are. Like how do you navigate the holidays given what you would prefer to eat vs what is actually around?

  17. Hi Tim

    what do you advice below case?

    I am what you’d probably call “skinny-fat”; I have small arms, legs, shoulders, and chest and want to make them bigger, but at the same time I’m carrying a bit of fat around my middle and want a flat stomach. Can I build muscle and lose fat at the same time or should I work on one at a time? If I can only do one at a time which should I do first?

  18. I would be cautious about disconnection in your food. It is a VERY opaque topic. Mitochondria don’t operate well without the necessary co-factors. This breakfast contains quite few co-factors for amount of energy you deliver. Even you could supplement you’d never get the same result as with (just) real food: Millions of years of tested solutions (evolution is not just about developing but keeping key connections which associates with the principle of space of adjacent possibility)

    Therefore, I’d strongly opt for more natural foods because

    1. More non-predictive decision

    2. Respect the opacity of nutrition

    PS: You are too valuable to the world to fuck up your telomeres so early. 🙂

    See Barry Murray, the ultra-runner, for further information, inspiration and a very interesting guest for your podcast. (he runs 100k-runs fasted with next to nothing of food)

    — Sascha

  19. Tim.

    Where does Bulletproof Coffee fit in the 4hour Body? Does it? I’ve gone through some of your blog posts. I’ll keep looking.

    Absolutely loved Titans and love your podcast. Reading/listening while cruising the Caribbean was particularly healing and inspiring. Thanks for your work.

  20. I’ve been following the slow carb diet for four months, among fantastic results, I’m really curious if I should abandon the slow carb breakfast for weight-loss, and adopt this method? I’d really like your opinion Tim thank you!

  21. Tim, you are the man. You’ve definitely opened my eyes beginning from the 4 Hour Workweek. Thanks for the great research and methods. You’re such an amazing influence and I hope we get to meet. I have a feeling we have a lot in common.

  22. I recently received the Four Hour Body as a gift and am loving the book so far. I have two questions with regards to the Slow Carb diet:

    1) I am a triathlete and train in the morning and the evening. Wake up at 445am and train at 5am. Have been having a shake before the workout with 30g of whey. Does this fit? I then eat breakfast, lunch, second lunch, and then workout again, followed by dinner.

    2) What type of protein shake fits within the diet? Just whey protein? A scoop of whey with little to no carbohydrates/sugars? Or, is a shake with some carbohydrates acceptable?

    Todays schedule was basically: 445am whey protein; 5am workout; 630am breakfast, 1030am lunch; 230pm second lunch; 5-6pm 2nd workout; 630pm dinner annndddd repeat for tomorrow.

    Suggestions on how to work the slow carb diet into this schedule and protein shakes to include?

    – Chris O.

  23. Which keto product do you recommend? You are using Ketoforce here but also talk about the pruvit product keto os. Is there one that is more effective than the other?

  24. Hey Tim! Do you take nutritional supplements on top of your diet? If so, any guidance or recommendations on supplementation? I’ve searched through your blogs and haven’t found much talk about nutritional supplementation outside of bodybuilding. Thanks!

  25. Hi Tim & everyone else,

    First of all, thanks a lot for the research, interesting articles and podcast. I am a true fan and always continuously learn a lot thanks to these!

    I have a question relating to the above article as well as the slow carb diet. I searched for the answer but cannot find a suiting solution.

    I work 5 days a week and exercise before work (ashtanga yoga). Since I need to be at 8am at the office, I wake up rather early, i.e. 5.50am. My problem with the diet is this 30g of proteins within 30min of waking. There is no way I can eat breakfast before going to yoga – it simply does not work for me and I finish not enjoying my workout at all. But taking only a shake or some kind of healthy liquid like in the above video is not enough not to eat until lunch.

    So, there you go:

    Why is it so important to eat within 30min of waking up? Does it screw up everything to eat later? Would anyone have any idea on how to solve this issue (noting that I don’t want to work out later in the day, it just does not work for me, I do not have the motivation to do it after work)? Could a shake replace the proteins but a snack afterwards prevent cravings later on?

    Any suggestion very welcome!

    Thanks a lot in advance,


  26. Just Curious, what do cow hooves taste like?

    By the way, I am a HUGE fan of 5 Bullet Friday. Very engaging content, I look forward to it every week. Also, want to thank you for the 4 hour body, I lost 80lbs, and look to lose 30 more.

  27. Dear Tim or other Sardine-Eaters,

    Did a search for the word “sardines” just so I could leave a question/comment in reference to this topic. First, never in a million years would I have thought eating sardines for breakfast would be for me. However, the podcasts have piqued the curiosity enough to go for it. So far I tried some from the natural store in olive oil with the spine removed, and the second tin was from a grocery store – giant “Pilcher” ones with the spine (which I removed) and skin intact in water, not oil. Taste was not bad and the protein source is a great fit for my life — but the after effects are problematic. Do you eat a shitload of mints or something? Fish breath is whack!!! I have not even eaten a whole tin in one sitting but even the small amount seems to be noticeable even after brushing teeth, smoking a spliff, eating other things, etc. and hours later! I did my best to get quality, MSC fish too, not the .50 can.

    I doctored mine up with a little bit of mayo and horseradish and had it on a crunchy breakfast cracker with some lettuce. Glad the sardines did not go IN the smoothie in this demonstration.

    Just wondering.



  28. Great fan of the book and diet. Just finished 30 days of it and down 16 pounds. Enjoying the “new wardrobe” of all the clothes I couldn’t fit into before.

    My question to anyone who can answer. I (age 63) drink about 6 liters of water daily and always kick start day with 1 full liter before eating breakfast and green tea. I loaned my book to my sis (age 65) who is doing it now too and, after 13 days, is only down 2.4 pounds (discouraged is an understatement). She drinks about 3.5 liters per day. She does have the disadvantage of a thyroid issue which I’m sure doesn’t help matters, but we both ask the question of how much water per day is minimally required for results. I recall in the book Tim writing that his Mom’s weight loss stopped/slowed until she drank more water. How much is required?

    Thanks for any help with this.


  29. With recent studies published about the health risks of coconut oil (due to the saturated fat content) has that stopped your use of it? And has that made you more cautious about jumping on dietary type trends?

  30. Your research and information has made some great changes in life. I am unclear about the video, can Ketoforce and a supplement like Brain Octain be used in tandum or is it best to take one or the other?

    I am on a SCD with a cheat day and do pretty well with it. I have looked high and low for clear cut answers but cant find any. Dont want to cause greater harm than good with the supplements.

    Thanks Tim

  31. I’m reading 4 Hour Body and I’m on day 2 of the slow carb diet. I tried eating protein, legumes and veggies a la carte and also combined, the way you described…. I found it a little difficult. Then I realized you were writing for people who don’t cook. I switched gears and decided that soups, stews and frittatas were a much tastier way to meet the protein, legume and veg requirements. Is the stock (homemade) in any way a problem on the slow carb diet? How about sugar? Some recipes require a little for balance?

  32. SO stoked I watched this today. Been using Great Lakes ORANGE label and at first tossed it in some raw smoothies or bone broth but then tried mixing it with just water or almond milk and it was like trying to down lumpy cement. Ordering the green label now! Thanks!

  33. Hello Tim, I’m from Mexico City. I’ve been doing you’re slow carbs diet and it is very well, I have lost 6.6 libras but on my cheat day I always get 4 libras, aprox. And on the rest of the week I lose it but I can’t lost more, what can I do?

  34. Hola Tim, siempre he tenido un cuerpo delgado y pocas veces he tenido el peso que quiero. Te veo como un mentor desde que leí “La semana laboral de cuatro horas”. ¿Qué me recomiendas para subir de al peso en el que quiero estar y mantener el mismo?

    Saludos, Johnnathan Emmanuel Herrera

  35. Hi Tim! Bought your 4-hour body book recently, and have been ploughing through the diet sections. I’m having a hard time figuring out if certain vegetables beyond potatoes are off-limits within the diet. For example – are sweet potatoes and squash allowed? They’re not white, but they contain carbs… I know you said ‘if you have to ask, then you probably can’t have it’, but… I really gotta ask (perhaps I love sweet potatoes too much). It would be awesome to see a list of encouraged and forbidden veggies for this diet – makes the lines clearer cut.

  36. hey! two questions:

    1 – laird’s superfood creamer is fabulous. is it slow-carb diet friendly? or just keto?

    2 – am i doing something wrong if, post-cheat day, i sleep virtually all day (like up i’m up only 3-4 hours) or sleep until noon if i don’t set an alarm? that kind of sleep is not my normal mode. i’m caught up on sleep (maybe 8.5 – 9.5 hours/night) so i don’t think it’s that…

    thx much! cheers, and stay safe.