What you do when you first wake up matters.
Athletes who I’ve worked or played with often ask about the ideal breakfast for fuel in the offseason. There isn’t necessarily a one size fits all approach to breakfast. My go to menu is purple sweet potatoes, 5 whole eggs over medium, a full package of maitake mushrooms and black coffee. During Spring Training, I stay flexible, but overall, I’ve found my perfect mix. I encourage you to give it a try and share your experiences with respect to both energy levels and palatability.
Your first meal of the day should be powerful in both experience and nutritional density. I’m not sharing this with you because “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That nonsense has been incorrectly perpetuated for a century. From greatist.com:
The problem with the breakfast-is-best hypothesis is that it steers people into the “there’s only one way to eat” mentality. The truth is, it doesn’t matter when you eat your meals: Morning, night, or spread out through the day. If there are behavioral reasons why you want to eat breakfast, such as it energizes or improves focus, then those are good reasons to have an early meal.
The claims that you must eat more or specific nutrients at certain times are nothing but bro science. While I enjoy a large meal in the morning, I’ve experimented on and off with putting it before and after workouts. Some people may find that a brief cup of coffee will get them through their first few hours. As always, what matters the most is listening to your body, conducting personal research and making an informed decision.
Regardless of how you go about it, being intentional about your first few actions (whatever the hour of day) is energetically critical. It sets intention and tone for your day. You’re sending a message to your brain. You’re unequivocally conveying that you give a shit, you plan on proactivity and effectiveness throughout the day.
This blog is about more than just lists though. We share the process, not just the recipe. When I’m learning something new, I like it step-by-step.
The moment I naturally open my eyes in the morning (usually around 6am), I walk into the kitchen and drink a glass of water. After all, it’s been roughly 9 hours since my last sip.
If you don’t know sonos, you need to know sonos. I’ll muse on the lifestyle bonuses of the right sound in your home at a later date. I flip on the soundtrack for my morning. While I’m in the kitchen, I grab a large purple sweet potato, cut it into thirds and glaze each chunk with a light layer of coconut oil. I season each individually on a square of aluminum foil with fine sea salt and cinnamon, wrap’em up and stick them in the oven at 400 degrees.
Then I grab my laptop, walk back to my bedroom, climb back into bed and knock out some work. 45 minutes moves quickly and sunlight starts bouncing off every reflective surface in the house. My morning is about to become heavenly.
My sweet potatoes are just about done, so I fry up my eggs in the pan and get my coffee working in the French press. My brain is firing already, my body is ready for the fuel, and I’m equipped to tackle the rest of the day.
As I turn back to my laptop post-breakfast, crackily Charley Patton blares.
That’s the general play, anyhow. On any given day, I’m also focusing on getting my two boys fed and off to school. Spring Training requires a few tweaks to the plan; in-season travel requires even more. I can’t afford to be married to a routine every day.
My priority, however, is in creating the appropriate energy to get the day started. If you roll out of bed, stumble to the fridge and cram in the leftover pizza from last night’s binge, you’ve prepared yourself for a sluggish and weaker day in both body and mind. Likewise, if your morning is filled with chaotic stress, what signals have you expressed to your brain? Taking the extra 5 minutes to create a ritual that will leave you in a state of calm focus pays back dividends throughout the day.