No Morning Appetite

If you are not hungry for breakfast, you probably ate too many calories the night before. I often counsel people who eat a huge dinner at 9:00 p.m., mindlessly munch through a bag of chips while watching TV at night, or devour a bedtime bowl of ice cream as their reward for having survived a busy day. These snacks can certainly curb a morning appetite. Unfortunately for your health, when evening snacks replace a wholesome breakfast, you can end up with an inadequate sports diet.

Mark, a 35-year-old computer programmer and runner, wasn't hungry for breakfast for another reason: His morning workout killed his appetite. However, by 10:00 a.m. his appetite came to life again. He'd try to hold off until lunchtime, but he raided the candy machine three out of five workdays. I recommended that Mark keep some breakfast foods at work—energy bars, trail mix, packets of instant oatmeal. These nonper-ishable foods would be ready and waiting for a hassle-free yet nourishing meal.

For morning exercisers, a wholesome breakfast that combines carbohydrate with a little protein—cereal with milk, granola with yogurt, toast with peanut butter—promptly replaces the depleted glycogen stores and helps refuel and heal the muscles so they'll be refreshed for the next training session. The sooner you eat, the more quickly you'll recover. For more information on refueling after exercise, see chapter 10.

A recovery breakfast is particularly important if you do two workouts per day. I often talk with triathletes who say they're not yet hungry for breakfast after the first workout, which might be a morning run. They then skimp at lunchtime, afraid that a substantial meal might interfere with their afternoon workout. They end up dragging themselves through a poor training session. In this situation, I recommend having breakfast, lunch, or brunch around 10:00 or 11:00. The food will be adequately digested in time to fuel the muscles that afternoon. Refreshing liquids throughout the morning, such as juice, chocolate milk, and smoothies, can help refuel you as well as quench your thirst. You'll discover that you have more energy and a better second workout.

"I just don't have time to eat breakfast. I get up at 5:30, go to the rink, skate for an hour, then dash to school by 7:45." Obviously, this ice hockey player's morning schedule didn't allow him to relax and enjoy a leisurely meal. However, Nick still needed the energy to tackle his high school classes.

I reminded Nick that breakfast doesn't have to be a sit-down, cooked meal. It can be a substantial snack after hockey practice while riding to school. I advised him to plan and prepare a breakfast-to-go the night before. If he could make time to train for hockey, he could make time to eat right for training.

Nick discovered that his "duffle-bag breakfast" was indeed worth the effort. Two peanut butter and banana sandwiches and a bottle of juice satisfied his ravenous appetite and improved his ability to concentrate at school. No longer did he sit in class counting the minutes until lunch and listening to his stomach grumble. Rather, he was able to concentrate on his class work and even improve his grades.

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100 Health Tips

100 Health Tips

Breakfast is the most vital meal. It should not be missed in order to refuel your body from functional metabolic changes during long hours of sleep. It is best to include carbohydrates, fats and proteins for an ideal nutrition such as combinations of fresh fruits, bread toast and breakfast cereals with milk. Learn even more tips like these within this health tips guide.

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