By Dr. Mercola
Breakfast and exercise are two of your most important health strategies. But it may surprise you to find out that exercising in the morning has special benefits.
A large number of studies have actually been done on this aspect of exercise, and it turns out that the best time, for most people to exercise, is during the morning hours.
Why Exercising in the Morning is Best
What these studies found was that compliance, in other words, your ability to persistently maintain your exercise regimen, on a regular basis, increases when you exercise in the morning.
When you schedule your exercise later in the day, invariably you will have something competing for that time, and you're likely to miss it..
In addition, exercising at night has another disadvantage.
Exercise tends to rev up your system at a time when you're better off relaxing and preparing for bed. So, you really want to avoid exercising aggressively later in the evening.
I would strongly recommend you exercise in the morning if at all possible as it will radically increase your compliance to this crucial activity. You probably already know this, but let me repeat it, you simply will never achieve optimal health if you aren't exercising.
If you're able to do that, then I would also recommend you delay your breakfast until after you're done exercising.
Don't You Want to Feel This Good?
This past weekend I was in southern Florida with my executive team on a planning retreat and I had a chance to run on some white sand beaches. During my run I was reflecting on just how wonderful it is to be fit. It makes all the difference in the world to be fit, strong, flexible, and pain free. To have ALL the energy you need to do anything you want to in life.
Guess I was just so HIGHLY appreciative that pioneers in natural medicine were able to outline these principles so I could learn and apply them. I really feel I am reaping the rewards as I feel better than I have my entire life.
And it really isn't that hard. Once you feel as good as I do, you NEVER want to lose that feeling and it becomes very easy to maintain your exercise program and keep it going strong. It is one of the BEST investments you could ever make in your life.
For a mere few hours a week of minor discomfort, you get over 25 times as much time feeling great. Pretty good deal if you ask me.
I am also sure you realize that NO ONE can delegate this out. You simply have to do it for yourself. You can hire a chef and house cleaner but ultimately you are the only one that can get yourself in shape.
Just remember you need a BALANCED exercise program. Just jumping on a treadmill at your gym will NOT produce this level of fitness. You need to add good flexibility training like yoga, great core training like Pilates, strength training, and anaerobic speed work. Once you combine ALL of these types of exercises, you will have the fitness that you truly deserve.
The comprehensive approach also radically reduces your risk of injury, which is common with many who only use one type of exercise to achieve fitness.
What Do You Eat for Breakfast?
OK, time to progress from exercise to breakfast.
Unfortunately, breakfast, at least in the United States, and I'm sure in many other countries in the world, is literally one of the worst meals to eat out. Almost every restaurant or hotel offers breakfast choices that typically do not create good health.
Because typically, what you'll find is an assortment of pancakes, waffles, toast or even donuts, along with cereal or scrambled eggs.
These are not necessarily healthy foods, no matter what kind of health claims may be promoted on the box. Finding a healthy breakfast option when eating out is such a challenge, you're far better off preparing your own meal.
It reminds me of an important principle:
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This principle works equally well with respect to your food choices.
So, before you go to bed at night, it is always good to have a plan for what you're going to eat the following day – for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This way, you have the opportunity to get the wheels turning and get that food prepared and ready for when you wake up.
So, if you choose to do your exercise in the morning, what are you going to eat afterwards?
What Makes for a Healthy Breakfast?
It has literally taken me decades to refine this formula, and I believe many of you would benefit from this information.
So exactly what is my breakfast formula?
Well, primarily because of the exercise – as I mentioned above, I do many intense exercises, including cardio, strength training, core training, active resistance, flexibility stretching on a Power Plate, and anaerobic burst interval-type exercises – so there's intense pressure on my muscles. They need to recover, which means I need plenty of protein – anyone will need a lot of protein to recover, repair, and rebuild muscles.
So you'll want to make sure you have high quality protein for breakfast after you've exercised.
One of the sources I've found to be the best is a high quality whey protein, specifically from grass-fed, non-hormonally treated cows, that is minimally processed. This ensures it has contains beneficial immuno components, including immunoglobins, bovine serum albomin, and lactoferins, in addition to all the key amino acids and other beneficial nutrients you typically get from a high quality whey protein.
We created this product, called Miracle Whey, and recently introduced a number of new flavors that are just phenomenal. Most whey products are processed with heat and acid, and are often artificially sweetened, which render them useless from a health perspective. That's why we use a cold processed, non-acid treated whey, naturally sweetened with Lo-Han, a non-glycemic fruit extract.
My Healthy Breakfast Recipe
I put a giant scoop of the banana Miracle Whey in a one-quart glass mason jar, and then I add two to four eggs. These are typically eggs purchased from a local farmer, not from the grocery store, so they're organic, free-range eggs.
Now, some people don't like the texture of raw eggs. But that's typically due to the stringy consistency of the egg whites. Fortunately, you won't need to worry about that here, because when you mix it up as I recommend, it is all dissolved into the mix.
I challenge anyone to be able to differentiate between a shake that has the eggs in it, and one that doesn't. You won't be able to tell the difference at all.
So I think if you try it, you'll be very pleasantly surprised.
After putting in the whey mix and the eggs, I add between one-fourth to one-third of coconut milk. Especially with the banana flavored whey, this mix imparts a heavenly flavor of coconut banana. Coconut is a great source of MCTs, which are medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are the best low glycemic fuel for your muscles after exercise. Thus, the coconut milk further enhances the fueling impact of Miracle Whey, which also contains MCTs.
My company is currently searching for a first-class supplier of coconut milk in glass containers, to avoid and all problems with BPA-laced can liners, and we hope to have that available shortly. I will definitely switch once we find a suitable supplier, but for now, I use canned organic coconut milk.
If you like, you can beef up your morning meal even further.
There is fiber in our Miracle Whey, but you can increase the fiber content by adding something like organic psyllium.
I like to use the organic psyllium we have from a company called Organic India. It's really phenomenal. I use a teaspoon or two of that in the quart jar.
To top it all off, I add some seeds.
I alternate between seeds that contain omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats. All the seeds are organic. For omega-3 fats, I alternate between chia seeds and flax seeds. (I grind them freshly in a coffee grinder.)
For omega-6, I alternate between pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds, switching between them on a regular basis, depending on what I feel like having that day.
After grinding the seeds of choice in the coffee grinder and adding them to the mix, I then fill the rest of the jar with water.
Skip Your Blender -- Use a Hand Mixer
Then I use a hand blender or hand mixer, which you can get at either Costco or Target for about $30 or so, if you don't have one already.
I strongly recommend a hand mixer for the ease of cleanup. You can rinse it clean in under five seconds. If you use a traditional blender it will take you a lot longer. We're all rushed in the morning, so that's usually the last thing you'll want to spend time on.
So, if you like banana and coconut, you're going to love this recipe. It's about the closest thing to ice cream. Best of all, it's so nourishing, and it fills me up until lunch time.
It's a really practical alternative to the challenges you face with breakfast foods in restaurants. I actually bring these ingredients with me when I travel, including fresh eggs. I get some of the strangest looks from flight attendants and TSA agents when they see me bring eggs through the security gates. Ditto for the hand mixer, which usually gets a thorough inspection.
But it's certainly worth the effort. This way I can have breakfast in my hotel room. As long as you're planning ahead, you too can eat healthy no matter where you are or what's going on.
Remember, most people are unconsciously exchanging "convenience" for their health. You are too smart to make that mistake.
Re-read what I wrote in the "Don't You Want to Feel This Good" section above and you will have additional motivation to choose wisely.
Convenience foods may seem quicker and easier, but believe me, they come at a significant cost to your health, and I'm sure you don't want to pay that price down the road. Besides, whipping up this breakfast couldn't be faster or easier, or more nutritious!
Applying these strategies – exercising in the morning, and then having a healthy, protein-rich breakfast shake – are two great, easy ways for you and your family to take control of your health.