The Real Breakfast of Champions

So you’re told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides fuel and energy for the work to come. So load up, right? Wrong.

I’m sure you’ve hit a big Sunday brunch sometime in recent months. How’d you feel after? I’m sure you wish your satiety signals had kicked in before that third helping of pancakes! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a big breakfast buffet once in awhile. But if performance is your goal, don’t make it a daily thing!

In my personal experience, backed by some interesting data now out there, shows that when you consume a protein and fat only breakfast, your body shifts to using fat for energy much more efficiently throughout the rest of the day (regardless if you start eating carbs in the evening or not). I stick to eggs and spinach, or a protein smoothie with avocado (don’t knock it until you try it) for breakfast.

You’ll feel more alert at work, and you can maintain a level of leanness easier even if you start pounding the carbs later in the day after your workout. A side benefit is the fact I tend to sleep better with carbs late at night due to the serotonin production they promote. I’m not a great sleeper at the best of times, so I try to do all I can.

That all said, some diets go wrong with this approach, giving you the green light to go hog wild on the carbs at night. Some may have the musculature and activity levels to justify a binge of sorts post workout, but the vast majority of us do not. I wouldn’t advise wolfing down whole pizzas and quarts of ice cream just because you skipped carbs at breakfast and lifted weights for an hour after work. Use common sense still. Eat until satisfied, and use carbs sparingly but at times they are most needed (hint: during or post workout).

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Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.