I often get asked, what should I eat for breakfast if I workout in the morning, and do I eat before or after my workout? Great question! Here is my professional and personal answer: Protein + Carbs Question: Why Protein? Answer: To help with muscle repair. Protein helps rebuild your cells, especially proteins called Branch Chain Amino Acids which are meant to also slow down the breakdown of muscles after weight lifting and prevent soreness. Usually you will see these "BCAAs" as they are called in the form of a powdered shake or pre-mixed drink. I love my chocolate Recover which I mix up from time to time between a whey protein base and a plan base. Just to get the best of both worlds. Other great sources of protein at breakfast are eggs, protein shakes, and greek yogurt. Even chicken or ground turkey would be awesome! Question: Why Carbs? Answer: To replenish your energy and glycogen levels. Huh? Ok, so carbs are our body's preferred source of fuel. They give us quickly available energy for our bodies to use immediately. So when we work out, our energy stores become used, and we need to refuel! In addition, our body will become depleted of it's glycogen stores which it gets from the carbs we eat. Glycogen helps the body convert it's fat stores to energy...and if we don't refuel, then the body short of glycogen will actually start to use our own muscle for fuel instead - just the opposite of what we are looking to achieve when weight lifting! With regards to my choice of carbs...the least processed the better. I love fresh fruit, potatoes and the occasional whole wheat toast or English muffin. Question: When do I Eat, Before or After My Workout? Answer: Studies show that protein or BCAAs consumed within 30 minutes of finishing a workout are most productive in their use for reduced muscle soreness and repair, while there is a 15 minute window right after exercise that is best to get those carbs in. When it comes to fueling up for a morning workout, there are different schools of thought. I fuel up with my pre-workout supplement that I add to my water, called Energize. I like that it gets me hydrating before my workout and gives me a boost of energy with about 100mg of caffeine per scoop or stick pack. It's also fruity (I love the fruit punch and mixed berry flavors best) which make me super happy in the morning. Since I workout at 7am and tend to stick to quick 30-45 minute workouts, I don't feel like I am lacking energy in my workouts, so I do not eat prior to my sessions. However, if I was working out closer to 9am and was doing 60+ minute workouts, I would probably have a protein bar before starting. Comment with your takeaways or further questions or Book a Free Consultation for support on setting up your exercise/nutrition routine. Check out my favorite Post-Workout Breakfast below too!
Making my favorite recovery breakfast after a long lifting session