Happy Spring time folks and you know what that means, right? Well, just in case you are not sure, it means the days are longer, the weather is warmer and the weight of the clothes you wear gets less. Okay Bob you say, what has that got to do with the title of this article. It is spring clean-up time my friends and that does not just go for our homes and yards; it goes for you as well. It is time to get ready for our “reach the beach” bodies as Memorial Day weekend is less than 8 weeks away. Are you going to be ready for the opening of pool season? If you have started your workout programs, I am here to tell you that it is not your exercise plan alone that will get you there. Your nutrition plan is another key component and it has got to partner with your exercise plan for you to succeed and to look ready to peel off those layers of clothes. If you are one of those folks that skips breakfast every morning, then you need to know that it is time to “Break the Fast”.
Todd Durkin is one of the top 100 most influential People in the Health and Fitness Industry; a world class trainer; presenter; and a friend of mine. In his book, The IMPACT Body Plan, Todd states that of the 10 Commandments of Nutrition, Breakfast is number one. You absolutely have to get your body’s motor (metabolism) started. That means that after 7 or more hours of sleep, your body is starving for fuel to get you up and going to face the day. I know you were asleep, but to get an idea of what that looks like, Todd says to imagine not eating from 9am until after 5pm. I don’t know about you, but I know I would sure be looking for some calories to consume. So, the next part of breaking the fast and consuming a breakfast is to be mindful of what you are eating. Remember, this is fuel to run your body’s engine and prepare you for the day. You would not put cheap gas into your expensive sports car, if you owned one. Well, your body is worth far more to you than some expensive sports car, right? So make sure you are making great choices to get that day started off fortified and energized.
I am sure you have heard the phrase to eat breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; and dinner like a pauper. Unfortunately in our great country, most people skip breakfast completely and eat their dinner like a king and more. In fact the Standard American Diet is known as the SAD diet for short. This is definitely not a great acronym for us to be proud of and my industry fights really hard to change that and to educate folks on better nutrition choices and habits. I talk to all of my clients about the importance of breakfast. They know when they come in that I am going to query them on what it was they ate to get their day started. I have heard way too many times that there just isn’t enough time to eat in the morning as folks leave just enough time to get ready for work and off they go, unfueled for the day. A University of Massachusetts Medical School study revealed that people who did not regularly start their day with breakfast were 450% more likely to be obese. Wow, now that should make those late risers want to set the alarm an extra 10 to 15 minutes earlier.
I am a very early riser myself heading out the door before 4:30 in the morning Monday through Friday. I know, first hand, how hard it is to have something prepared and eaten that early. I want to give you a few of my top early riser tricks to getting fuel in my body in the first hour of being up and moving out. One of my newest favorites is baked oatmeal. Preparing this easy and delicious dish over the weekend provides me with a very easy grab and go nutritious and tasty treat. A quick Internet search will give you many variations of baked oatmeal recipes to prepare. Mine is made with apples and blueberries added to the mix and baked in a 9 x 13 casserole baking dish. Once it has cooled, I cut it into 3 or 4 inch squares and then freeze them individually. In the morning, a quick pop into the microwave and away I go. Using the weekend to prep things like this ahead of time (that you can pop in the freezer) will give you something to have every morning with little time expended. It takes just a few minutes to pour some water or almond milk; egg white or protein powder; and some ice cubes into a blender to make a nice on the go power shake. A slice of Ezekiel or whole wheat bread with some almond/apple/natural peanut butter is another one I like.
These are some quick ideas I use to break the 6+ hour fast that I experience over night while sleeping. Within a couple of hours of consuming these treats I will have something else to eat which keeps my body’s motor operating efficiently. Remember it is important to be consuming nutritious calories every three to four waking hours to keep your metabolism humming along and your body burning more calories all day long. So, remember to do your body some good and get your day started off on the right foot and break the fast. I wish you great health and fitness. Bob