The Bodybuilder’s Breakfast

Bodybuilder’s Breakfast

It is a well-known fact that breakfast is one of, if not THE most important meal of the day. Yet strangely enough, most people either skip breakfast altogether, or they go about it half-heartedly. A donut and a cup of coffee is the all too common breakfast of most individuals. As a bodybuilder, having a good powerful breakfast to kick-start the day is crucial for building muscle, as well as maintaining energy levels and motivation.

Why Breakfast is Crucial

Let’s look at what the word “breakfast” actually means. It literally means the breaking of fasting caused by a night of sleep. Think about it, as a bodybuilder it is crucial to eat every four to six hours, yet when you first wake up in the morning your body has not had any food for approximately 8-12 hours. By this point your muscles are screaming for some kind of sustenance, and that coffee and donut are not going to cut it! The one exception to eating breakfast right after you wake up is if you do cardio first thing in the morning. Early morning, on an empty stomach is the best time for doing cardio, as the body will immediately call upon its fat stores for fuel. This does not negate the need for breakfast, though. If anything, doing early morning cardio makes it even more crucial that you get a good breakfast upon completion. Breakfast is also important to improving one’s metabolism. Just by eating a sound breakfast, you can raise your metabolism significantly.

From a bodybuilder’s perspective, let’s take a look at what a lack of breakfast will do to all your hard work at the gym. The body, through the consumption of protein, absorbs nitrogen, a key to muscle gain. Your body also naturally excretes nitrogen throughout the day. When a person’s daily intake of nitrogen from protein equals the daily excretion of nitrogen that is called “Nitrogen Balance.” A negative nitrogen balance occurs when the excretion of nitrogen exceeds the daily intake. This contributes to muscle loss due to the fact that the muscles are being torn down, with not enough material being supplied to rebuild them. On the other hand, the consumption of more nitrogen than what is being expended, or “positive nitrogen balance” can lead to muscle growth. While sleeping, our bodies almost always go into a negative nitrogen balance. This in turn causes our metabolisms to turn catabolic, which is the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. This is normal, and not something to panic about. What it should do is make you to think twice before skipping breakfast. Skipping this crucial meal only makes your hard work and dedication a waste of time. Remember, the key to a sound body is about 35% training, 65% nutrition.

Critical Timing

One thing to keep in mind is that breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day. Unfortunately, most people have it backwards when it comes to the portion sizes of their meals throughout the day. They skimp on breakfast, and they end up eating a huge dinner. When you think about it logically, breakfast should be your biggest meal because the majority of the calories consumed will get burned up throughout the day. If you skip or short-change yourself on breakfast, your energy levels will suffer, and you will be ravenously hungry by the end of the day. A big reason why people who “cut calories” still get fat is because their timing is atrocious. Because they neglected their fuel tanks early in the day, they are so hungry by the end of it that they end up eating a huge dinner. This is immediately followed by sitting on the couch all evening watching TV, and then off to bed. Problem is almost none of those calories consumed at dinner are being utilized. And if they ate a lot of carbs and fats, guess what? They will go straight to the waistline! Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it?

What to Eat

Like your vehicle, in order to keep the body functioning at its maximum potential, it needs the highest quality of fuel. And the wrong kinds of fuel can be damaging. You wouldn’t put diesel into a standard car engine, would you? So why would you suck down a cup of coffee with extra sugar and creamer, along with a glaze-covered jelly donut and call that “breakfast?” Especially since breakfast is where you get the majority of your fuel for the day. A good breakfast must include sufficient levels of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fat. Whether you are on a low-carb diet or not, the majority of the carbs that you are consuming should be eaten at breakfast. Dinner should focus mostly on protein. Since your body rebuilds itself while resting, it only makes sense to fuel it with ample protein so that it has something to rebuild with. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the foods that can turn breakfast into a sound source of power and energy!

Meat and Poultry

Ah, the mighty protein! A bodybuilder’s best friend! The quickest way to restore nitrogen levels to a positive balance is to give your body a shot of protein first thing in the morning. If you are looking for some high-protein food of the traditional breakfast fare, the standard ham and eggs are a sound choice. Many so-called “health food experts” may cringe at hearing that, but it’s true. Pork and poultry products such as eggs and ham are excellent sources of protein. People may say, “but it’s high in fat!” Believe it or not, a certain amount of fat is essential for good health. One of the main reasons why fat is so crucial at breakfast is that a lot of vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they require fat in order to be absorbed by the body. By cutting fat completely from your diet, these vitamins will go straight through your body without being utilized. If you are conscious about cholesterol, there are yolk-free eggs available at your local grocer.

Grains and Cereals

Remember, most of your daily carbs should be consumed at breakfast. Grains and cereals are a great source of supply for this. Some examples include oatmeal, whole grain breads and dry cereal. Try to avoid cereals high in sugar, as you will go overboard on carbs by consuming them. Grains and cereals are also high in fiber, which is crucial for “keeping the plumbing in order,” so to speak.

Dairy Products

Along with being an excellent source of protein, dairy products such as milk and cheese are high in nutrients such as calcium. When buying milk, stick to skim, 1% or 2% fat. Whole milk is excessively high in fat and does not provide any more nutrients than those lower in fat.

Fruits and Vegetables

Keeping up on your fruits and vegetables will give help your body get the right amount of vitamins necessary to sustain itself and remain healthy. Though green beans and corn may not sound appealing at breakfast, a glass of orange juice is a prime way to give your body a sound “vitamin shot” first thing in the morning. Vegetable juices are also good first thing in the morning, however be cautious because a number of them are high in sodium.

Multivitamins

As much as we try and eat healthy and get all our vitamins, the sheer volume of vitamins and minerals that bodybuilders deplete at the gym makes this nearly impossible. Therefore it is a good idea to take a multivitamin supplement once a day.

Hydration

This cannot be stressed enough. A good habit to get into is to start off each day by drinking a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. Staying properly hydrated will help keep the muscles from cramping, and will also help the body process food.

Now that we know what we need to eat, let’s put together some sample meals to get an idea of just what makes a sound breakfast.

Day 1: Calories Protein Fat Carbs
1 Cup Raisin Branwith ½ cup 1% milk 230 8 2.5 50
1 Cup Orange Juice 109 2 .6 25
2 Poached Eggs 149 12 10 1
3 Slices Bacon 109 5 9 0
Protein Shake 140 34 0 1
Total: 737 Calories, 61 grams Protein, 22.1 grams Fat, 77 grams Carbs
Day 2:
Ham and Cheese Omelet (3 Eggs) 655 53 32 3.7
1 Cup Orange Juice 109 2 .6 25
Total: 764 Calories, 55 grams Protein, 32.6 grams Fat, 28.7 grams Carbs
Day 3:
Bowl Instant Oatmeal 128 3.2 1.4 27
Sliced Banana(Medium Sized) 108 1.5 .5 26.7
1 Cup Vegetable Juice 46 1.5 .2 1
Protein Shake 140 34 0 1
2 Egg Whites 32 6.8 0 .6
3 Slices Bacon 109 5 9 0
Total: 563 Calories, 51.7 grams Protein, 11.1 grams Fat, 67.2 grams Carbs
Day 4:
3 Eggs Over Easy 274 18.6 20.7 1.9
½ Grapefruit 45 .6 .1 11.9
2 Cups Skim Milk 181 17.5 1.2 24.6
2 Slices Wheat Toast (Plain) 130 4.3 1.9 24.8
Total: 630 Calories, 41 grams Protein, 23.9 grams Fat, 63.2 grams Carbs
Day 5: Calories Protein Fat Carbs
Protein Shake 140 34 0 1
1 Cup Vegetable Juice 46 1.5 .2 11
1 Cup Wheatieswith 1/2 Cup 1% Milk 157 17.5 2.2 30.1
1 Large Apple 125 .4 .7 32.3
2 Hardboiled Eggs 155 12.6 10.6 1.1
Total: 623 Calories, 55.5 grams Protein, 13.7 grams Fat, 75.5 grams Carbs
Day 6:
6 oz Extra Lean Ham 280 37.3 13.2 .8
Bowl Instant Oatmeal 128 3.2 1.4 27
Sliced Banana(Medium Sized) 108 1.2 .5 27.6
Protein Shake 140 34 0 1
Total: 656 Calories, 75.7 grams Protein, 15.1 grams Fat, 56.4 grams Carbs
Day 7:
2 Hardboiled Eggs 155 12.6 10.6 1.1
½ Grapefruit 45 .6 .1 11.9
2 Slices Wheat Toast(Plain) 130 4.3 1.9 24.8
3 Slices Bacon 109 5 9 0
2 Cups Skim Milk 181 17.5 1.2 24.6
Total: 620 Calories, 40 grams Protein, 22.8 grams Fat, 62.4 grams Carbs

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