For a total of 18 seasons, Derek Jeter has consistently been the go-to guy for the New York Yankees. While many other MLB stars have come and gone, the Yankee captain and five-time World Series champion has earned nicknames like “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November,” thanks to his late-game and late-season heroics.
So what’s Jeter’s secret for staying on top? Eating a balanced meal first thing every morning. “The most important meal of the day for me is breakfast,” says Jeter, “If I don’t eat a good breakfast, then it messes me up for the entire day. You have to take the time to do it.”
Athletes like Jeter know the importance of starting the day off right, and they’re willing to take the time in the morning. Breakfast literally breaks the body’s fast, providing much-needed nutrients to muscles and fueling the body for a day of training and competition. A meal of lean protein and complex carbs sets you up for success later in the day. “Athletes absolutely should be getting up in the morning and eating a breakfast with some complex carbohydrates and some lean protein,” says Gatorade scientist Kim Stein.
“[Starting off with breakfast] gets them a good foundation with good nutrients for the day.” When he was in his 20s, Jeter didn’t plan his meals like he does now. He says, “When I was younger I’d eat a lot of fast food right before games. If I do that now, I’m recovering for three or four days.”
Luckily, making changes is something that comes naturally to Jeter. “I try and improve everything,” he says. “[Life] is a game of constant adjustments, year in and year out. To stick around, I think you need to take care of yourself, focus on what you eat and try to eat healthy.”
If you want your game to have Jeter-like staying power, it’s time to address your shortcomings, not only in your training, but also in your nutrition. Get serious about your athletic goals. Take a few minutes each morning to eat a proper breakfast.