Ok, so own up…. Who here skips breakfast??
Here at Build a Body we believe it is really important to prepare your body by nutritionally fuelling at breakfast ready for your daily challenges, both physically and mentally. It is apparent in our own training sessions that if one of us hasn't had enough food, for whatever reason, we struggle to get through, starting with physically not being on form, wondering why 8 reps feels like 800 reps and that leads us to the mindset that I can't be bothered today….and feeling like it wasn’t a great session.
When we wake up in the morning our blood sugar levels are low as we haven’t eaten for 8-12 hours. Our bodies are craving nutrients to replenish blood glucose levels to “break” the “fast” our bodies have been through whilst we sleep, setting us up for the day. You can't expect your body to perform to its maximum potential and consistently progress towards your specific goals if you haven't given it the ‘building blocks’!
Research suggests that by having breakfast, you will eat less during the day as you stabilise blood sugar levels, which means you are less likely to reach for that mid morning cake and coffee, which is high in fat and sugar, to increase your energy levels. Low blood sugar leaves you feeling irritable, hungry, agitated and with low concentration levels, resulting in poor food choices for the rest of the day. Poor food choices usually result in high fat, high carbohydrate and high sugar, which causes our blood sugar level to raise too much, which in turn stimulates the secretion of insulin to reduce excess sugar or glucose, and stores this surplus energy as FAT.
By starting the day off correctly we are able to speed up our metabolism as our body uses energy (calories) to breakdown food, this is known as the thermogenic effect of food (TEF). By turning our bodies into ‘fat burning’ machines, we allow our body to utilise fat as an energy source as it realises it doesn’t need to hold onto fat as it does when it thinks it is in starvation mode.... this will allow you to lose or maintain your weight and improve your body composition so that you have more lean muscle and less fat!
Personally, as soon as I wake up I am excited about what I am going to have for breakfast. I truly believe that I am fuelling my body to do its job, just like you have to fuel your car otherwise it doesn't work, and you won't be going anywhere on your ‘journey’ that day!
I believe from experience, that if you make good nutritional choices for this all important meal, it sets you up for a healthy and positive day. You will continue to have a healthy mindset for when you choose food later on, for example, choosing that left over chinese in the fridge for breakfast will undoubtedly set you up for a mid morning crash, where you will be probably thinking along the lines of ‘ I've already had rubbish this morning so what is a few biscuits going do?’ (usually leading to half a packet), I can be good tomorrow…….
I will let you into a secret, I used to be an account manager, out on the road all day, breakfast would be consumed in the car and consist around a packet of Haribo and two diet cokes! It could quite often take two hours to get to my first account, with numerous stops at service stations for ‘SNACKS’ due to cravings and boredom! (I actually can't believe I used to do that now!) All this did was make me hungry, sluggish and tired all day.
So what changed? After having my children and trying to get my fitness back, I found I was still hungry and tired all the time, running around after the children is sometimes harder than an actual workout! I started experimenting with foods and being healthier and could not believe the difference a bowl of porridge made. It was ‘yummy’, kept me full for AGES, I didn't even think about my next meal, and I am usually always hungry! It provided my body with the energy I so desperately needed to get on with life. Throwing some chopped fruit, honey, cinnamon, and some seeds on top added extra nutritional value and variety, giving me a balance of slow releasing carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and a small amount of good fats.
You need to find out what works for you, here are some of my favourites - scrambled or poached eggs on whole grain toast, low fat or fat free yoghurt with honey, granola and chia seeds, omelettes loaded with mushrooms and vegetables…. Mmmm I’m getting hungry now!
If you don't have time to prepare in the morning and just get up and jump in the car, or really can't stomach it so soon after waking, then some ‘take with you’ ideas include - pre boiled eggs, a yogurt with a banana- which contain all sorts of good vitamins and nutrients as well as providing an energy boost from good carbohydrates and an element of protein. A smoothie made from fresh fruit with low fat yoghurt or skimmed milk and a scoop of protein powder for you to sip on throughout the morning, protein bar or granola bar.
You now should be thinking- I really must make sure I have breakfast so that I am switched on and able to concentrate to my best ability. I want the energy to last steadily through a busy day and I want to be able to tackle my daily demands. I absolutely do not want that sugar craving chocolate munching monster demon to visit my brain mid morning and make me adhere to bad choices. If you have a good healthy substantial breakfast you are much more likely to continue making healthy choices during the day! It will kick start your metabolism and you generally eat less resulting in weight loss or management.
So create the habit today for a better body……it's never too late!