Eating light in the morning is bad for you and your workout, so go ahead and make your breakfast a feast.
I’ve always been a big believer in breakfast, but I wasn’t always a believer in a big breakfast. Like many people, I’d have some coffee and cereal in the morning and call it enough. Except it wasn’t enough for very long.
By 9:30am., barely two hours after eating, I’d be heading to the fridge for more food. Then again at noon and, depending on when I could squeeze in my ride, sometime after that. I’d finally sit down for a full meal at dinner, when I needed it the least.
As it turns out, this is not only an upside-down fuelling strategy, but it's also not very good for you.
A tall body of evidence shows that skimping on breakfast and eating bigger later is linked to many modern metabolic problems, even if you eat fewer total calories overall. It can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and all the ailments, like diabetes and heart disease, that follow in their wake.
The latest research to hit this stack is a scientific review of the eating habits of more than 50,600 men and women. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition in July, concluded that those who ate their largest meal in the morning were significantly leaner on average than those who ate more later in the day.
It’s a no-brainer for cyclists, according to exercise nutritionist and physiologist Stacy Sims. The author of Rodale’s ROAR, a nutrition and fitness guide for women, Sims gave my diet a professional revamping a few years back when I was training for endurance cycling and triathlon events. (Disclosure: I co-authored ROAR with Sims.)
“When you don’t feed yourself enough in the morning - when your body is already low on fuel stores from an overnight fast and your stress hormones are elevated - you’re compromising the rest of the day, especially if you’re training or exercising regularly,” she said.
“Your body is primed for food in the morning. You need the energy to tackle what’s on tap. Feed yourself, or your rides will suffer, you’ll be starving later in the day, your stress hormones will be high, and it’ll be harder to stay lean, even if you aren’t eating that much overall.”