Nutrition science and information is constantly changing. Although this article has good points, my opinions and research have developed and changed. Turns out breakfast isn’t as important as I once thought. If you want to get started eating right for you, check out this new post on nutrition for beginners.
We all know that we should eat breakfast; it was rammed into us at a very young age. As someone participating in fitness, bodybuilding, lifting or any form of exercise, it is even more important. So why do so many people still skip this ultra important, potentially muscle building, energy giving, and awesome meal? Even if you aren’t hungry in the morning, forcing yourself to eat something is one of the most beneficial things you will be doing to your body all day.
Why You Should Eat Breakfast
It is common knowledge that we should eat breakfast, but still so many people don’t, possibly because the actual importance is underestimated. I write this post because recently a good friend asked me to check out her diet, she is also a Volleyball player and was looking to drop a few kg and change her lifestyle around a little. Within 1 second of reading the paper she gave me this was our conversation
Me: “Where’s brekkie?”
Her: “Don’t eat it”
Me: “Why the hell not?”
Her: “ No time and I’m not hungry…you know I’m terrible at mornings”
Me: “Are you kidding me?”
Her: “No…Loz, it’s not that big a deal, relax’
Me: “Mate, you are a close friend of mine and you don’t eat breakfast, I am ashamed of myself…you want to lose a bit of weight, the only thing wrong with your diet is that”
Her: “Ok but I don’t see what the big deal is…”
This was an eye opener. She is a very intelligent sport person, however has very little knowledge of the fitness industry other than the fact she plays Volleyball. The rest of her diet was actually OK. It seems the importance of breakfast is not as well understood as it should be. So, here is why you should eat breakfast.
- You have been fasting all night; your body needs energy and fuel to break out of catabolism (breakdown) mode. A lack of insulin production during the night, due to fasting, means you are in a catabolic state. When you want to build muscle, or at least not lose it, this isn’t where you want to be.
- You will have more energy during the day, and be more focussed and attentive during daily activities. Remember not only your muscles need to energy, your brain runs off glucose too.
- You get your metabolism firing early, leading to more energy burnt, and a more efficient body.
- If you eat breakfast, you are less likely to be hungry and you will eat less later in the day, therefore reducing your calorie intake and aiding weight loss.
- Eating a healthy breakfast will help prevent binge eating later in the day. If you are not as hungry, you aren’t going to crave as much crap.
- Your body is very glucose tolerant in the morning, i.e. your muscles are primed to take in fuel without causing as much fat synthesis.
What Should You Eat For Breakfast?
It’s all well and good that you eat breakfast, and in all honestly, anything is better than nothing. However, and isn’t there always an however…some things are better than others. Much better. That sugary cereal and a cup of coffee will leave you feeling pretty down not long after you have eaten it.
This isn’t groundbreaking, but a healthy breakfast will do a lot more good than one full of junk. Funny isn’t it. You want to get some carbs and protein in, and a little fat. Your body is more glucose tolerant, so use it. A healthy breakfast can include low GI carbs to ensure fullness for longer (i.e. no sugary cereal), fruit and/or veg (generally people still don’t get enough fruit and vegies in, so eat some early), and lean proteins (dairy protein is more common for people early in the morning…skim milk, eggs/ egg whites and yoghurt for example). Sorry for all the obvious statements in this paragraph, but they are important.
Breakfast should be a big meal. If you think about it, what you put into your body early has a lot more chance to be burnt off anyway. A big breakfast will leave you feeling fuller for longer, and will really give your metabolism a kick-start. Eat bigger at the start of the day, and less later on. Obviously this will depend on your lifestyle, but for most people, this is the way to go.
Big doesn’t mean bad
Why Oatmeal/ Porridge Rocks
Oatmeal is a fantastic breakfast. You get low GI carbs, and you have the choice to add to it and make it really yummy and nutritious. Here is what I will often do with my oatmeal.
½ cup dry oatmeal (Cooked with water, but you can also use skim milk…I’m cheap)
Handful of Blueberries
1 Tub of Low Fat Yoghurt (Generally berry flavour)
1-2 Scoops of Vanilla Whey Protein
Mix it all into purple mash, and you have a very delicious and nutritious breakfast. Why? Well you have low GI carbs, plenty of fibre, lots of protein, some really good stuff form the blueberries, and a little bit of fat with the dairy (you are least tolerant to fat in the morning). Oatmeal is an easy breakfast to make, there’s no real excuse for this one, I am no genius in the kitchen. It takes me 5 minutes and I haven’t burnt any fingers off. Wonderful. You can do many variations on this, porridge is very versatile. You should also note the slow cooking type has a slightly lower GI than the quick oats. If a hot cereal isn’t your thing, the cold version is OK too, just look for more than 5 grams of fibre per serve and not too much added sugar.
I have found a great sight with some ideas for breakfasts for bodybuilders. Sure, most of you aren’t bodybuilders, but as a general rule their nutrition is spot on and some of these breakfast recipes look great too! Enjoy.