Eat Your Breakfast
Research shows that 18% of people over 2 years of age skip breakfast regularly. Starting your morning with a well-balanced meal sets the foundation for your day. Not only does consuming breakfast lead to better weight management, it also improves your overall performance in and out of the gym. Having coffee with cream does not count as breakfast!
Although eating breakfast is important for everyone, it is essential for crossfitters and athletes in general. Breakfast eaters tend to have more strength and endurance when compared with non-breakfast eaters, something that is important to all crossfitters. Without it, you are likely to experience decreased energy levels and less than optimal performance.
The effects of missing a morning meal can negatively impact your entire day because you will then miss out on key nutrients like vitamins and minerals that you could have consumed at that meal. Eating breakfast allows you to spread your calories evenly across the day, and research shows that it can prevent you from becoming too hungry before other meals and possibly overeating at lunch or dinner. It’s not very effective from a metabolic standpoint to load all of your calories into one or two meals.
Consider breakfast as refueling your body. Most of us likely go without food for 8-10 hours each night between our last meal and breakfast if you eat it, and even longer if you don’t. After fasting overnight, our bodies crave calories, especially carbohydrates and protein. By eating within 30 minutes of waking you are ending your overnight fast and re-starting your metabolism. If you work out in the evening, breakfast will allow your muscles to continue to recover from the workout the night before. You’ll then be ready for a workout later in the day.
If you workout in the morning, having something to eat pre-workout is even more critical. If you go too long without fuel, your body begins to break down its muscle mass for energy. We know that our muscles are the key to a higher metabolism and increased strength, so it’s counterproductive to go more than 3-4 hours without food.
A healthy breakfast should contain a variety of different foods including fruit or veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or non-fat dairy. However, if you are going to eat something sweet or sugary, breakfast is the best time of the day to do it. Because your body will have gone without food and calories for several hours, it will absorb and utilize your first meal of the day very quickly. Most of us, however, will probably feel better eating whole foods that are minimally processed and low in sugar rather than highly processed refined foods like donuts, white breads, sugary cereals, and sugar-sweetened beverages (for example: Starbucks coffee drinks).
Aim for at least 25g of protein at your first meal (guys, you’ll need more than the ladies). Protein is one of the most filling nutrients, especially when combined with other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fat, and ideally your breakfast should contain all three.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
1/2-1 C old fashioned or steel cut oats + 1 scoop protein powder + 1/2 oz. nuts + 1/2 C berries
1 slice of whole wheat toast + 1-2 T nut butter +2 eggs + 1 serving of fruit
½ C cottage cheese + ½ C fresh fruit + 1 whole wheat English muffin
6 oz. Greek yogurt + ½-1 C low-sugar granola (or other whole grain cereal) + 1-2 eggs