Why You Should Eat Breakfast, the Most Important Meal of the Day

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Blueberry Oatmeal

Not eating breakfast is to your body's metabolism and energy level what skipping a final exam is to your final grade. Essentially, it's an instant "fail." After missing this vital meal, your body never really recovers.

When you sleep, your body's life-sustaining functions—involuntary muscles, growth hormones and metabolism—remain hard at work. Your body is "re-setting" itself during sleep. And upon waking, it expects breakfast, like your teacher expects a paper from you on the due date.

Sluggishness, low energy and poor concentration aside, omitting breakfast from your morning routine will negatively affect your physical and mental performance in the gym, on the practice field and in the classroom. Plus, breakfast gives you an amazing opportunity to establish an advantage over your competition. Your metabolism, level of focus, cellular functioning and hormone release all get set into proper orbit when you break the nightly fast with some great energy foods.

So, how do you eliminate possible excuses to skip breakfast? Simple. Plan ahead to give yourself ten minutes in the morning to start your day nutritiously. True athletes focus on winning and self-improvement at all times. Prepare yourself to win by eating a power breakfast every day, and leave excuses to the underachievers.

Below is my power breakfast, created with the help of Dr. John Berardi's Precision Nutrition formula—a lifestyle nutritional guide that I follow and that has led to marked improvement in my own life and my clients' as well.

Blueberry Oatmeal Super Bowl

  • 1 cup of large oat flakes (I like Quaker Oats because they're high in natural dietary fiber)
  • 1½ cup of low-fat milk
  • ½ cup of blueberries
  • 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup of organic granola, OR a scoop (25-30 grams) of whey protein
  • Splash of brown sugar

To make this incredibly easy meal, throw the oats and milk in a bowl and put it in the microwave for two to three minutes. Then mix in the granola or whey protein, flax seeds and brown sugar. Add the blueberries last and mix it up. It's an amazingly simple and tasty concoction.

The Protein 30-Second Drill

  • Chobani Fat-Free Greek Yogurt (my preference is strawberry)

You can eat this yogurt either at home or on the go. It takes 30 to 60 seconds to consume and contains around 14 grams of protein, along with antioxidants to keep your immune system strong.

Peanut Butter Time

  • 2 slices of 100-percent whole wheat bread
  • 2 tbsp of Skippy Extra Chunky Peanut Butter

Spread the peanut butter on the bread for an awesome end to your meal or a post-breakfast snack. It's high in complex carbs, mono and polyunsaturated fats (the best kinds), protein, dietary fiber and omega-3 (and a great omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, to boot). Best of all, it's satiating and healthy for competitive athletes.

Like my friend and colleague Bill Foran, head strength coach of the Miami Heat, says, "You cannot out-train a poor diet!" So, eat right—starting early—and prepare for victory.

Photo:  joyfulhealthyliving.com

Chris Doherty, a performance enhancement and certified strength and conditioning specialist, currently trains clients in Boston. Doherty interned as a strength coach for Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, where he honed his coaching abilities and trained top high school and collegiate athletes in numerous sports. His favorite sports are basketball, football and golf. When not training, he can be found booking a weekend getaway to Las Vegas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock