Wednesday, January 18, 2012

12 Tools for Your Triathlon Toolbox - #3 Breakfast

Fruit smoothie.  Scrambled eggs with swiss cheese, spinach and tomato.  Steel cut oats with fruit.  These are a few of my favorite breakfast items.  For everyone, including athletes, breakfast is certainly the most important meal of the day!

Did you know that when you awake, you are already at a calorie deficit?  That means, you need to take in calories as soon as you get up in the morning.  Your first activity in the morning will determine what type of calories and how many calories you are consuming first thing in the morning. 

Allow me to provide you with a couple of examples of how I handle breakfast. 

Example #1: If I’m going to coach a swim workout, I have a full breakfast like a fruit smoothie.  My smoothie consists of 2 parts fruit, 1 part ice, 1 tbsp of plain, nonfat yogurt, 1 tbsp of peanut butter, 2 tbsp powdered milk and water.  This mixture is approximately 375 calories and includes a good amount of carbohydrates and protein, which is exactly what I need to start the day.  Oh, did I mention that it is so yummy? 

Example #2: If I’m walking out the door to go for a workout, I always have something smaller like a Granola Nut Protein Bar, which I make at home.  This is just enough calories (approximately 125) to break my fast from the night before and fuel my workout.  Of course, after my workout, I’m ready for a full breakfast.

I know there might be a few of you out there who don’t agree with having breakfast in the morning prior to a workout.  I want to change your mind!

Take a look at Scenario #1:

7pm – Eat dinner
10pm – Bedtime
6am – Awake
7am – Workout
9am – Breakfast

Whoa!  You just went 14 hours without any nutrition and burned tons of calories in the process!   (NOTE: Yes, you actually burn calories when you sleep!)

Now, take a look at Scenario #2:

6am – Awake
7am – Breakfast
12pm – Ooops!  Got too busy at work and skipped lunch!
5pm – Get off work
6pm – Workout
7:30pm - Dinner

Would you do something like this during the day?  Probably not!  If so, you’ve gone 12.5 hours without any nutrition and again, burned tons of calories in the process! 

Most of you realize that Scenario #2 is not too smart!  Do you see how Scenario #1 is similar?  This is why I’m encouraging all of you to eat breakfast.  Find a few of your favorite, quick and easy breakfast meals.  Make it a habit to get up early and be sure to enjoy breakfast every morning!

If you want to learn more, consider attending Nutrition for Athletes on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30pm at PodiumMultisport.  Lauren Lorenzo, who holds a Masters degree in Nutrition, will be on hand to give us her expert advice!

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