Are you a morning person? If you are – you need to make sure your breakfast is built to power you through your early morning workout regime. If you’re not – hey – you need some good fuel in the tank just to drag yourself to work!
Either way, breakfast is a key meal. That’s because when you wake up after a fast of 10 or 12 hours, you need to replace the energy – and fluids – lost during sleep, and provide the juice for the busy day ahead.
You need complex carbs, protein, some of your five a day, and some fat. And that’s before we even get to the coffee. The ultimate breakfast is the holy grail of bodybuilders – here are a few suggestions to whet your appetite!
Meat and nuts
Paleo man or woman? Then meat is always on the menu – provided you can hunt it down at your local butchers or supermarket. A fat juicy steak first thing in the morning might not be to everyone’s taste but if you can stomach it, you’ll certainly be getting plenty of protein, B vitamins, and minerals. And nuts are high in healthy fats – combined with the meat, they are a great source of slow release energy that can help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.
With a meat and nut habit, as in fact with any foodstuff, it’s important to inject plenty of variety into your nutrition regime. That’s because over consumption of anything, may, over a period of time contribute to food intolerances. So mix your beef with fowl and game, and be sure to consume a wide variety of nuts.
For slow release carbs that’ll keep the fires stoked until lunchtime – or at least your post workout snack, oats more than fit the bill. Low on the glycemic index, they’re perfect breakfast food. If you need to make a quick, nutritious start to the day, you can’t go far wrong with porridge. To make it even better, add chopped banana and a scoop of whey protein powder.
Don’t like porridge? How about homemade oatmeal cookies?
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Mix a cup of oats with a cup of plain flour, a beaten egg, a scoop of whey protein, one third of a cup of olive oil, a pinch of salt and as much cracked black pepper as you like and stir it all up. Now shape spoon fulls of the mixture into balls, bung them on a greased baking tray and flatten slightly. Put them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re a nice golden brown. Cool and eat. You can make a batch the night before. Very tasty.
The beauty of blended food is that you can add all the ingredients of a healthy balanced breaky in a drink that you can slug in one or sip on your way to the gym. Extremely versatile – it takes just minutes to make and you can even save some for your post workout pick me up.
So what goes in?
Fruit: full of energy, vitamins and minerals, and adding towards your five a day, banana, berries, kiwi – any soft fruit are good. But be careful not to overdo it because no matter where it comes from too much sugar is bad.
Oats: add to your smoothie to bulk it out and make it more filling.
Whey protein: for an extra protein hit.
Milk or yoghurt: tastier than water with the benefit of protein.
Crushed ice: because it’s nice!
A curve ball from the land of the rising sun – try breakfasting Japanese style. Steamed rice with an assortment of healthy, protein rich side dishes to choose from. It might take a bit of prep but who can argue against the combination of carbs with grilled fish, nori – dried iodine rich seaweed, natto – fermented soybeans, and tamagoyaki – rolled omelette? It’s a super nutritious breakfast for anyone with an hour or two to spare first thing in the morning – so maybe best left for the weekends.
And if you throw a few umeboshi – pickled ume plums – into the mix, you’ll be in for a unique taste sensation you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.
There is a school of thought that says it’s best to hit the ground running, blasting through your morning workout before breaking your fast. It’s said that without a ready supply of sugar your body will turn to fat reserves for fuel. Good news during a cutting phase, or for anyone looking to shed a few pounds of unwanted mass. But there’s also research that says the benefits are minimal over the long term, and that skipping breakfast may actually stress the body, potentially causing long term harm.
We say listen to your body. If working out before breakfast seems to suit you – stick with it. If all you can stomach first thing is coffee – make sure it’s Matrix Nutrition’s new Colombian blend with added protein. Fuel for your body – one sip at a time.