Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Is Breakfast Important?

After another energizing workout this morning, I packed my breakfast and lunch and headed off to work. I usually have breakfast there, about an hour and a half after waking. Now while on the way to work, I was deep in conversation with a "special" friend ;). He was at home and getting ready to head to the gym. After asking if he had eaten yet, his response was "No". Now for the life of me, I don't know how some people go two or three hours without eating in the mornings. I am literally ravenous having waiting to get to the office, especially since I started working out. But, back to the story, he tells me he just doesn't have an appetite and if he eats something, he'll get nauseous during his workouts. I recommended that he could try something as small as a fruit that is light enough to not affect his workouts but still supplied him with some amount to energy (I think when I use the word breakfast people think I mean a plate full of food). He says he only needs water. And get this: he usually gets up at 6:00 a.m., heads to his hour-long class, then back home and then out again to the gym. His workouts are usually an hour long. So he goes at least three and a half hours without having any food in the mornings. He wanted proof. Now, since I don't walk around with nutrition texts just for the fun of it, I couldn't show him that more than anything, the brain needs its supply of glucose (and he wouldn't take my word for it). Now, this is for you, "friend";)...

PRIMARY Reason we need breakfast:

  • Your body is running on empty: Say, we refrain from late night eating and allow the recommended 2-3 hours to pass before heading to bed. By then our bodies would have used up some of the energy with the excess being stored in our liver as glycogen. During sleep, our bodies uses up most, if not all, the glycogen has been used up. When all glycogen stores are used up, your body usually turns to fat to supply its energy needs. You'd think that's awesome right? Not exactly. See, the brain can only use glucose as fuel and unlike muscles, the brain doesn't store glucose. So what happens when the brain is deprived of its glucose? Irritability, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, weakness, seizure and coma, just to name a few. In other words, the brain is screaming: FEED ME!!!!
So for those of you, like my "special" friend, who get nauseous eating so early or before a workout, have at least 25g of carbohydrate, like a small banana, that's only 100 calories. The benefits? Better workouts. Since you're not running on empty, the intensity and quality of your sessions will result in increased fitness. Afterward, you can have a more substantial meal. See? Now that wasn't so hard :D?

I'll let you know how it works for my "special" friend!!! Until next time!

Pre-Workout Fuel:

Potassium found in bananas helps in maintaining proper nerve and muscle function.

Trail mix is a great source of phosphorous and zinc which supports muscle growth, boosts energy and speeds up muscle healing. Just beware of the portions!

Magnesium found in yogurt gives you an energy boost by activating enzymes that metabolize protein and carbohydrates. 

Though its not good to have fats before workouts, the monounsaturated fatty acids found in almonds and other nuts provide essential energy-boosting omega -3's and omega-6's. 

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