The hashtag #NeverSkipLegDay became a cult classic among those that lift, and it worked! Skinny legged guys and gals from all over made it their mission to never skip leg day again, and in turn noticed #GAINS (another classic) all over their bodies thanks to the surge in growth hormone and insulin synonymous to a good ol’ squat!
Well, I am of the opinion that #NeverSkipBreakfast should also become a cult trend, why? Because #GAINS are a lot easier to maintain with it!
So seeing as it’s #NationalBreakfastWeek I thought it might be a good time to continue raising awareness of the importance of breaky.
Derived from the literal meaning ‘breaking the fast’, breakfast was intended to be the first meal of the day that raises blood sugar levels, replenished energy stores and feeds your muscle and brain with amino acids.
HOWEVER, those intentions were quickly forgotten by many due to the hectic schedules all too many of us now face. The most important and valuable commodity going is time, and yet, by being fuelled, replenished and healthy, you become more efficient and productive…which guess what, SAVES YOU TIME! And yet despite this obvious fact, people can’t and won’t make time to have a good, balanced breakfast.
But I don’t have time…
Yes you do. Saying you don’t have time is the same as saying ‘it’s not a priority’, because if it were a priority you’d make time for it. So that’s where a mindset shift needs to come in, and it starts by understanding the ‘Why’s’ and ‘How’s’.
So why should you have breakfast?
You wake up from a night’s sleep having literally fasted for 6-8 hours (maybe more), this prolonged period of no sustenance is signalling to your brain that you are potentially entering starvation. Your brain is accustomed to waking up pretty low in energy stores, but it has also evolved to expect some form of replenishment first thing. Our recent ancestors were much better at breakfast than we are, probably because they had a bit more time on their hands and far fewer distractions, BUT despite the newer generation no longer seeing breakfast as a priority, our brains still do! So loosely speaking, not having some form of food in the morning can panic your brain into thinking it is entering a period of starvation, the consequence may be retention i.e. holding on to fat, preserving glycogen, and potentially eating into muscle tissue. Not ideal.
Is there a right and wrong answer for having breakfast?
Well, not at the moment. The scientific evidence surrounding whether you should or shouldn’t have breakfast is mixed. However, the majority of experts suggest that breakfast can pave the way to a consistent and sustainable nutrition routine, can make you less likely to binge, and can improve weight management and overall quality of life.
Look at it like this…
We are social beings and food and drink is a deep rooted part of our culture. So imagine if science had come so far in the past decade that we could now negate the need for food and drink, would you be happy?
What if the headlines read the following…
‘BREAKING NEWS - New pill provides everything you need – eating and drinking is no more’
How would you feel? Pretty crappy right?
My point is this, we love food and drink. It delivers the nutrients we need to sustain life, and it’s something we often do with our nearest and dearest. Yes you might get the Intermittent Fasting champions argue that periods of fasting improve insulin sensitivity, and that our ancestors 10,000 years ago wouldn’t have had a steady breakfast every morning to keep their blood sugars constant… but this fails to recognise 2 points:
1.) We haven’t eaten that way for millennia, so our bodies aren’t hardwired that way anymore.
2.) Everyone’s different. Simple as that.
So I think the answer is simply, one shoe doesn’t fit all. We don’t all follow the same routines, consequently we adapt to thrive in our environment. If you have always eaten breakfast and your body is accustomed to the starchy carb and amino acid release first thing, then not having breakfast for a period will leave your brain wondering where the glucose is, which may initially trigger a conservation response in the form of a slower metabolism and fat retention.
Conversely, if you’ve not had breakfast habitually for years, then it’s quite feasible that your body will have adapted to maintain and ‘constant internal and external environment’, known technically as homeostasis.
So I am firmly of the opinion that breakfast is a key factor in establishing a consistent and healthy eating pattern. If you can get into the habit of consuming food at set intervals over the course of day, then your energy levels should remain consistent, muscle protein synthesis (growth) will continue, and fat metabolism (burning for energy) will remain constant so long as you move more and eat less. It’s as simple as that really, anything else is just marketing hype. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. None of this fasting for 3 hours, eat for 1 or whatever else there is to think about has to cloud your thoughts.
In the true spirit of National Breakfast Week, enjoy the food you eat, take pride in making it nutritionally balanced and appealing, and embrace the blessing that is food and drink.