Nutrition Basics – Breakfast

As the old adage goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Starting the day off right is important...

As the old adage goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Starting the day off right is important for many reasons:

    • A proper high protein breakfast helps set the neurotransmitters for the day, improving energy levels, focus, and concentration.  Energizing neurotransmitters like dopamine and acetylcholine are essential for proper cortisol utilization allowing your body to signal fat mobilization for energy.
    • A proper breakfast provides nutrition for energy, but does not increase insulin enough to blunt fat burning.  When you wake up, your body is in a state of primarily using fat for fuel. Using the proper carb portion is essential for maintaining this fat burning state.
    • Most men produce their largest amount of testosterone around 8-9 a.m.  Optimal testosterone production is dependent on getting enough quality fats, and utilization is dependent on getting in essential amino acids.


The most important part of an ideal breakfast is protein.  Preferably a red meat source. Red meats have higher amounts of carnitine.  Carnitine is the amino acid that helps transport fatty acids to the mitochondria of your cells to be burned.  Carnitine is also a testosterone sensitizing amino acid. So it helps you burn fat and get more out of your morning testosterone.  

If you choose quality grass-fed red meats, they are also naturally higher in CLA and Omega-3s, which both help with insulin sensitivity and body composition.

For most, a ≥ 30g dose of protein is ideal.  An example macro breakdown would be 30g protein and 30g fat, and little to no carbs.  If you train first thing in the morning you may substitute 30g of whey protein, or better yet, 25g of whey and 5g of BCAAs.

Breakfast Can Either Be Carb Dominant or Fat Dominant.

Most people will be better off with a higher protein, high fat breakfast.  

The best fats to add in the morning are coconut oil, butter, and fish oil.

  • Coconut oil is rich in MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) which are an energizing fat.  The liver converts these fats directly to energy making them a great alternative to carbs for pre-workout energy or for starting your day.
  • Butter is rich in healthy saturated fats, CLA, and butyrate.  Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that helps increase the insulin sensitivity of lean tissue while increasing fatty-acid release from fat cells.
  • Omega-3s help to increase fat burning enzymes, improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease inflammation.  Fish-oil capsules are a great choice.

If you are the rare carb-type person, here’s how to get the most out of your breakfast carbs:

Protein is essential.  A low protein breakfast with carbs will only blunt fat loss and decrease energy. Carbs at breakfast are best if they are low glycemic, and high nutrient density.

  • Start with organic berries.  Berries are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and very low GI.  High nutrient berries like blueberries can actually be insulin sensitizing because they are so nutrient dense, despite their carbohydrate content.
  • Use other low GI fruits like apples, or complex starches like oats.
  • A small amount of healthy fats is still okay for most.  Coconut oil would be my choice.

A typical meal may look like 30g protein, 30g carbs, 15g fat.  

Some people need a small amount of carbs to optimally burn fat, but if you go overboard, it reverses the effect.  People that need carbs for breakfast are generally very lean naturally.

The easiest way to know what breakfast is best for you, is to try each, and train 2 hours afterwards.  One should leave you feeling better and more energetic than the other.

*If you normally train right after breakfast, having a small to moderate serving of slower digesting carbs as mentioned above may be the way to go if you’re doing higher volume or more metabolic type of program.

**If you train right after you get up and “breakfast” is your post-workout meal, a larger serving of carbohydrates may be a good option. See the article Timing Your Carbohydrates


Another helpful thing to do in the morning is add alkalizing nutrients.  Electrolytes, fresh lemon, or lime squeezed into water is a great start. Lemon and lime also help with fat digestion, making the high protein, high fat breakfast even more effective.  This is also a great way to get rid of any fish oil burps.


The day should start with at least 16 oz of water to get the bowels moving, and to replenish the water lost overnight.

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