The alarm is beeping on your bedside table and it’s time to wake up for your morning workout! You fight the urge to hit the snooze button and reluctantly drag yourself to your feet for a good yawn and stretch before you get dressed, grab your gym bag and head out the door, but wait...is there time for breakfast first? What’s the best thing to eat? After all you don’t want to feel too full but you aren’t sure if you can smash your workout on an empty stomach either.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as you’ll be fuelling your body with the nutrients needed for the day ahead. Having a balanced meal first thing is especially important if you like to hit the gym early in the day, as you’ll be using your breakfast to either power your workout (if you eat before) or help your muscles to recover (if you eat after).
If you’re watching your weight, you might be wondering exactly what all of that effort in the gym actually adds up to. Find out what your next workout looks like in calories
so you can keep track of your progress!
Let’s look at the 10 best breakfasts to have before or after your workout!
Ideally the best option is to eat your breakfast after your workout; this will allow you to have a more satisfying meal after all of that effort in the gym, and you’ll be able to add the foods that will replenish your body and repair your muscles from your workout. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to hit the gym with an empty tummy!
Working out with very little food in your stomach will force your body to use its fat stores to fuel your workout (great!). However, the problem with this is that your blood sugar will have dropped overnight while you slept, which can lead to a lack of energy and a weaker workout.
Try powering up your morning routine with just enough carbs (about 25 grams/ 100 calories) to reap the benefits of your gym sesh, then eat your main breakfast after.
Try one of the following pre-workout snacks before you hit the gym in the morning:
- Small glass of orange juice
- Greek yoghurt
- A few crackers (delish with a few slices of banana and a small scoop of peanut butter!)
- 1 slice of wholegrain toast (go light on the butter or jam though!)
Ok, so you’ve smashed it in the gym, hit the showers and are now dressed and ready for the day ahead…but your stomach is rumbling and you’re excited about tucking into your breakfast! The delicious thought of a sausage and bacon roll briefly crosses your mind, but you are determined to stick to your meal plan and eat something healthy (well done you!); you didn’t just put all that effort in just to fail as soon as you step foot outside of the gym, right?! What’s the best healthy meal to have after your workout?
Follow these 10 easy breakfast ideas to start your day the right way!
1. Overnight oats – 0 mins to prep in the morning, (5 mins to prep the night before)
One serving of this includes around 44g carbs and 22g of protein so it’s great for re-fuelling your body after your workout and helping to keep you feeling full all morning. Add any (healthy) topping you like to keep it interesting (try fruits, nuts or seeds).
If you prefer to eat before your workout, the good news is that this won’t leave you with that heavy feeling, meaning you can power through your workout!
Bonus – this is portable too so pop it in some Tupperware and enjoy on-the-go!
2. Smoothie – 2 mins to prep in the morning
A simple yet delicious smoothie is perfect for a healthy breakfast on-the-go! Blend your favourite fruits (or veggies if you’re feeling super healthy) with some Greek yogurt and away you go. Enjoy before or after your workout for a yummy treat in the morning.
Tip: It’s worth keeping in mind that the smoothie won’t offer you many protein benefits so it’s a good idea to hard boil some eggs in the morning or even the night before so you can snack on these too, or pop a scoop of protein powder into your smoothie mix before you blend.
3. Avocado and egg on toast – approx. 5 mins to cook
Who doesn’t love avocado right now! It’s one of this year’s food obsessions and we’re not complaining! This delicious breakfast is quick, easy and nutritious. Opt for wholegrain bread instead of white bread for a healthier option, smash up the avocado using a fork and, if you choose to fry your egg, use a healthy oil like coconut oil over sunflower oil to avoid saturated fats. You’ll be hitting your protein, carb and fat macros, plus it looks and tastes great too!
4. Scrambled egg and steamed vegetables – 5 mins to cook
You can’t go wrong with this kitchen classic! Whip up some egg whites, steam some veggies, pop it on your plate and tuck in! It couldn’t get much easier or quicker but you’ll be getting the protein, carbs and fats your body needs to build and repair muscle, plus you’ll feel full and satisfied all morning!
5. Protein Pancakes – 10 – 15 mins to prepare and cook
Yes, you can still have one of your weekend favourites! Protein pancakes are a great option if you are craving something sweet but these are much lower in added sugar, quick to prepare and a great way to kick start your day with a protein boost! Here’s what you’ll need and how to prepare them:
- 25g whey protein powder
- 100ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 50g porridge oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Light cooking spray
6. Quinoa breakfast bowl – 5 mins to prep, 25 mins to cook
- Add the oats to a blender and blitz until it resembles a fine flour. Add the protein powder, baking powder, egg, milk and cinnamon to the blender too and blitz everything until you have a texture like pancake batter
- Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the mixture onto the pan, using approximately ¼ of the total mixture for each protein pancake
- Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly
- Cook the pancake for about 50 seconds until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a flexible spatula, flip over and cook the other side. Enjoy!
Tired of eggs in the morning? Quinoa makes a great alternative as it’s packed full of protein goodness too! 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains approx. 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fibre and tons of iron – perfect for fuelling your body first thing in the morning!
There are lots of different topping options that you can choose, but you can’t go wrong with some delicious fruit with a dash of honey or yoghurt to start the day.
Top tip: prepare a large batch ahead of time and simply re-heat to save precious minutes in the morning.
7. Smoothie bowl – 5 mins to prep
Not only will you be able to show off your creative skills with these beautiful breakfasts (and get some amazing pics for the gram), but they are quick and easy to make whilst being healthy and delicious – they make the perfect summer morning meal.
The main difference between a traditional smoothie that you drink and a smoothie bowl is the consistency. A smoothie bowl is thicker, almost ice cream-like in consistency and can be either sweet or savoury depending on your choice of toppings. Plus, you’ll feel like you’ve actually eaten a meal which may mean you may feel fuller for longer.
8. Breakfast burrito – Prep time varies depending on ingredients but approx. 25 mins to cook
If you’re more of a savoury person than sweet, a healthy breakfast burrito can be a great breakfast option! You’ll be able to add a variety of ingredients to keep things interesting and you can wrap them up in foil for a satisfying meal on the go!
Tip: Breakfast burritos can also be prepared ahead of time, frozen and then defrosted to enjoy whenever you need to!
9. Egg white omelette – 3- 5 mins cook time
Egg whites don’t have the best reputation for being the tastiest breakfast option, but they don’t have to be bland! Get creative with your toppings to keep things interesting!
Try adding full flavoured ingredients like peppers, mushrooms, chillies, spinach and tomatoes that help you reach your five a day!
10. Porridge – 2-3 mins prep time
This breakfast has been enjoyed since the bronze age and it hasn’t changed much since! A bowl of porridge made from oats contains vitamins, minerals and fibre, not to mention the slow-release energy that will keep you feeling satisfied until lunch. To benefit from an added protein boost – add half a scoop of your favourite protein powder to your porridge mix and top with any of your favourite toppings; we love sliced banana, dried apricot and almonds!
Waking up early to workout can be a challenge, but there are many benefits from the sacrifice you’re making to your sleep. Hitting the gym before you head to the office means you’ll feel more confident in yourself and it will help you begin your day with a positive mindset. You’ll also benefit from an energy boost, stress relief, lower blood pressure, increased immune system, better posture and improved sleep quality! That’s worth waking up early for!
Your morning workout also frees up time for to do more in the evenings. You’ll feel like you have more time to spend with your friends and family, enjoy a hobby or even completing an online course to further your skills and progress in your career!
Having the dedication to wake up early and commit to your passion is something to be really proud of, but it’s also a sign that you would make a great personal trainer! You’ll be able to share your dedication and passion with your own clients and be able to help other people feel as amazing as you do in the morning! Sound good?
Learn more about becoming a qualified PT here