The perfect breakfast

24. February 2023


Butter braid and croissants? Muesli with fruit? Or just coffee? The best tips that physically active people should keep in mind when choosing the right breakfast for their everyday sports routine.

Intensive morning training: Requires carbohydrates

If you do targeted morning workouts in sports such as running, swimming, rowing, cross-country skiing or strength training, you’ll benefit from a moderate, easily digestible breakfast before you start training. According to the motto: The more intense your morning workout, the more digestible and earlier your breakfast should be.

Hard intervals or intensive endurance blocks aimed at improving performance require full glycogen stores and full tanks of fluid for easy digestion. You should therefore eat short-chain carbohydrates, protein in moderation, hardly any fat, a little acid and drink plenty of fluids around 60-120 minutes before you start training. For example, white bread with a little butter and honey, ripe bananas, porridge with low-fat milk, bread rolls with cottage cheese or a light cream cheese, and low-fat energy or muesli bars. Add to this plenty of water, heavily diluted fruit spritzers or low-calorie electrolyte drinks, unsweetened tea, and coffee in moderation.

If you like salty food, then a mildly seasoned vegetable bouillon makes a tasty and warming alternative, especially in winter.

Relaxed wake-up workout: Fasting for breakfast

When your carbohydrate stores become depleted overnight, your metabolism resorts to your fat reserves. To get energy, the body uses free fatty acids in your muscles instead of readily available glycogen. If you do sports in the morning with the aim to lose weight, it’s a good idea to do your workout right after you get up in order to train your lipid metabolism. This includes leisurely jogging, relaxed swimming or even cycling to work. Recreational athletes shouldn’t overdo fasted training.

While well-trained athletes can easily do relaxed long jogs and bike rides of one or two hours without food, amateur athletes run the risk of suffering dizziness and a hunger knock if they train too long or too intensively with low blood sugar and not enough water. Rule of thumb for beginners: 30-45 minutes at around 60-70% of your maximum performance capability. It should be easy to chat at this level of athletic performance. As for strength training: Don’t do intensive, muscle-building workouts on an empty stomach. Light strength training units or sports such as yoga or Pilates, which tend to target your intermuscular coordination, core stability and fitness, are effective and can also be done without breakfast. A glass of lukewarm water after getting up activates your metabolism and prevents dehydration.

Coffee and tea: Good timing is important

For many people a must in the morning: Coffee. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as it agrees with you. Caffeine requires around 30-60 minutes to release its stimulating effect. So, if you want to benefit from the caffeine kick during your morning workout, you have to plan your intake precisely. You’ll need to reconsider your coffee consumption if it makes you feel jittery, nauseous, or anxious.

Theanine, which is found in green tea, also has a stimulating effect but doesn’t make you feel anxious.

Only after your sport

Proteins and fats are just as important for a powerful body as minerals, vitamins, and trace elements. The Swiss Sports Nutrition Society recommends 1.3-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for athletes who train regularly. Higher values apply when it comes to weight loss or specific strength building. However, you should only eat cheese, meat, and sausage products for breakfast if there is enough time for digestion before the next sports unit – or the intensity is so moderate that feeling full or flatulence won’t knock you off track. An extensive hike without trying to set a record speed or an enjoyable bike tour without competitive ambitions are also possible after a fine Sunday brunch. On that note: Enjoy your meal!