By now, you’ve heard it a million times.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
But is it really?
This may come as a shocker, but breakfast may be doing you more harm than good. Plenty of people (Dan John being one) would like to slap me silly for saying that, but stick with me…
Insulin levels are at their lowest point of the day when you first wake. Couple this with high cortisol levels (cortisol peaks between 7 and 9am), and your body is in prime fat burning mode. By eating a big meal when you first wake up, you are spiking your insulin levels and robbing yourself of the opportunity to burn more fat at rest. Insulin sensitivity in your fat cells is also highest in the morning, so waking up with a big bowl of oatmeal for instance actually promotes fat storage.
Eating a big breakfast may leave you feeling tired and groggy too. How many of you have felt like you need a nap by 10am? I don’t know about you, but I hate that feeling. I want my energy levels to remain high throughout the day when I need to be the most productive.
For me, the far more important meal of the day is your post training meal, and following that up with more nutrition even beyond that. Ingesting protein and carbs after a training session is huge. You need to replenish glycogen stores and get yourself in an anabolic state. From there, you can add more food to meet your caloric and macronutrient (carbs and protein) needs.
So am I telling you to skip breakfast?
Not necessarily. It depends on who you are and what your goals are.
For me, and guys like me (which I’d venture to guess are a lot of you), it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
I want to be big and lean, train 4 days a week and minimize the amount of time I spend doing high-intensity cardio for fat loss. I train in the afternoon then eat big at night, allowing myself to replenish my body after intense training. So when I go to bed, I’m in a highly anabolic state. This is how our ancestors ate for the most part, where they fasted during the day to hunt and gather and then they ate big at night.
I may have a protein shake upon waking here and there, but for the most part, won’t eat anything until lunch. This means I’ve technically fasted for 12-14 hours, which means for half the day I’ve been in a natural fat burning state. (I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting, I’ll tackle that with another post.)
Eating this way, lifting 4 days, and only doing 2 conditioning sessions a week that may last 20 minutes apiece, I maintain single digit body fat and still can put on muscle.
So knowing all of this, do you still breakfast is that important?
For more guidance on meal planning, check out this post below.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Underground Strength Coach