When you get up early for a workout before your day starts officially, eating a meal might probably be the last thing on your mind. However, to eliminate that grogginess and get amped for your workout, you need to take the right kind of fuel.
Moreover, to optimize your performance during your work out, it is important to eat. Research shows that taking carbohydrates before you head out to exercise will not only jolt you awake but will also delay the onset of fatigue while improving your endurance.
This translates to better performance; reason being, carbohydrates enhance blood glucose availability to your muscles. As such, about 70 percent of your morning meal should consist of carbs, preferably low-glycemic carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and veggies. Avoid candy and other simple sugars as they will encourage fluctuations on your blood sugar levels.
Therefore, you need to consume foods that give you energy for your exercise, boost your performance, and preserve muscle mass while speeding up your recovery time. In addition to helping with the above, carbohydrates trigger the secretion of insulin which, when in combination with protein, enhance muscle strength while preventing muscle breakdown.
As such, protein is the other crucial component of your morning pre-exercise meaål as it decreases muscle catabolism (breakdown) during your workout. Proteins also provide your muscles with amino acids which not only make your muscles stronger but also speed up your recovery, so you are not worn out after exercise.
However, when it comes to fat, you need to keep its content low in your morning food diet as it takes longer to digest.
Nevertheless, the biggest challenge lies in knowing how much of your wake up foods you should eat. This is typically determined by the length of your exercise in addition to your energy needs. For instance, If you planning on taking on a high-intensity exercise such as running, you should consider taking an energy dense meal. On the other hand, If you are taking on a low-intensity exercise such as a light jog, you should consume a smaller meal.
The following is a compilation of healthy wake up foods that will help eliminate that morning grogginess and laziness in addition to boosting your performance during exercise. Consider incorporating these exercise foods into your morning food diet:
1. Steel-Cut Oatmeal
This waist and heart-friendly fiber is a whole grain that you should be regularly consuming. In a 2015 study that involved more than 100,000 subjects, it was discovered that those who consumed at least 33gms of whole grain daily (which is equivalent to one bowl of oatmeal) reduced their risk of early death by 9% as compared to those who irregularly or did not eat whole grains.
Moreover, one cup of steel-cut oatmeal could contain as much as 12gms of protein in addition to beta-glucan, which is a viscous fiber that helps in promoting the feeling of fullness. In addition, steel-cut oats are also rich in antioxidants that help boost heart health as well as reduced blood pressure. What’s more, oatmeal offers the perfect base for adding other healthy foods such as milk, berries, nuts, seeds, and cinnamon.
This whole grain can be consumed by everyone – gluten-intolerant or not.
Any kind of berry – blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries – is the ideal morning fruit. This is because berries feature a low glycemic index – meaning that they will not spike your insulin and blood sugar levels like other kinds of simple sugars. Thus, they will give you the instant energy boost you need to exercise without the associated drawbacks of fast, simple sugars.
Additionally, a single cup of berries only contains about 60 to 80 calories while being laden with anthocyanins which are antioxidants that are known to reduce inflammation while protecting the heart.
in a study involving 93,600 women, it was discovered that those who consumed at least three servings of strawberries and blueberries displayed a significantly reduced risk of heart attack as compared to those who did not eat regularly or as much.
Go for frozen berries if berries are not in season. In fact, research has revealed that frozen berries have significantly higher antioxidant levels.
3. Greek Yogurt
This is a meal that is not only protein-rich but can also be paired perfectly with other types of healthy foods. Another good reason to start consuming your Greek Yogurt is for its bone strengthening and immune boosting benefits as it is rich in calcium and probiotics.
Additionally, it contains a host of other health benefits including helping to keep your digestive system operating optimally. This allows you to feel fuller for longer so that you keep your calories intake in check.
No matter how you like your eggs, – poached, scrambled, or sunny-side up -, it is of no concern as they are all excellent. A single egg contains as much as 6gms of protein – which makes them, pound-for-pound, one of the most protein-packed foods. Moreover, they are also the best source of bioavailable protein, which means that your body absorbs protein off eggs more readily than in any other kind of food.
This means, coupled with exercise, consuming eggs regularly is one of the best ways of strengthening your muscles. In addition, their yolks are some of nature’s best sources of choline. Choline is a vital nutrient that greatly aids in boosting brain and liver health.
And despite a common misconception, research now shows that consuming as much as three eggs every day is not detrimental to your heart health, even among individuals with coronary artery disease.
The most acclaimed healthy fat among us, the avocado really does live up to its hype. This fruit has it all. From protein and fiber to vitamin E, omega-3s, and more potassium than you can find in a banana, the avocado is a masterpiece of a fruit.
Research shows that consuming an avocado a day will significantly lower your total cholesterol levels.
6. Sprouted-Grain Bread
Looking for something to accompany your avocado? Try the sprouted grain bread. This bread has a considerably lower impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels as compared to other types of whole-grain breads with an equivalent amount of carbs.
Moreover, researchers also discovered that sprouted grains triggered an increase in GLP-1, which is one of the most powerful satiety hormones and thus is beneficial at helping you maintain a healthy weight.
Pair your avocado with a few slices of this bread, and you are good to go.
7. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese packs a mean punch. A single cup of this cheese can contain as much as 25 grams of protein. Apart from its muscle building and strengthening benefits, research also shows that dieters who consume a high-protein breakfast will stay fuller for longer and eat fewer calories than dieters who have low-protein breakfasts.
Nevertheless, to get the best cottage cheese, go for the full-fat, grass-fed types as they contain the highest concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid per spoonful. This fatty acid is linked to a myriad of health benefits including but not limited to weight loss, strength building, and a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in women.
It has often been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for folks who have to get up early and exercise. The quality of your exercise, however, can be compromised by factors such as lethargy, grogginess, and decreased energy levels. The above exercise foods will not only get you up-and-going but will also ensure that you have sufficient fuel to take you through your entire workout. Try them and let us know how you feel.