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.
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, most of you will 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.
Here are some ideas for relatively quick and easy breakfasts:
1. 1/2-1 C old fashioned or steel cut oats + 1 scoop protein powder + 1/2 oz. nuts + 1/2 C berries
2. 1 slice of whole wheat toast + 1-2 T nut butter +2 eggs + 1 serving of fruit
3. ½ C cottage cheese + ½ C fresh fruit + 1 whole wheat English muffin
4. 6 oz. Greek yogurt + ½-1 C low-sugar granola (or other whole grain cereal) + 1-2 eggs
Each team member will earn one point for each day they eat breakfast. We’re not taking your word on this one! You need to submit a picture each day to teammates and to: firstname.lastname@example.org for it to count!