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3 Facts on Breakfast and Performance Provided by Gatorade

Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by Mike Johnston

Gatorade Sports Science Institute

Breakfast & Performance

We’ve all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”

But funny enough, athletes seem to act very differently. With training, social commitments and school taking up more and more of their time, it's very common for them to decide to get their nutrition at other times in the day. But the more they know about breakfast, the more likely they'll understand its impact on their performance.

FACTTeen athletes should get around 9 hours of sleep at night, which is 9 hours without nutritional intake. If they skip breakfast, they compound that even further as their metabolism slows and their cognitive function begins to be affected.1 Taken together, all of these factors could have a big impact on their performance.

 For breakfast, most athletes should eat around 80g of carbohydrate and also include some healthy fat and lean protein. This provides the first fuel athletes need to start their day. Additionally, their breakfast should be rich in vitamins and minerals to help provide them with what they need as they perform.

 Proper hydration begins at the start of the day. As with nutrition, the body does not take in fluids while sleeping. The longer an athlete waits to get those essential fluids, the more likely they'll be dehydrated starting exercise. Waiting to start drinking during exercise is not an effective strategy to maintain hydration. Dehydration during exercise may lead to cramping and other issues that could affect performance and safety. So a good rule of thumb is to greet the day with fluids.

What to have for Breakfast

FOR CARBSGrits, Oatmeal, Pancakes, Waffles, Bagels, Cereal, Whole Grain Breads, Fruit
FOR PROTEINEggs, Cottage Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Lean Meats

For more information on nutrition, recovery and fueling athletic performance, visit gatorade.com/coaches.

1 Hardy, A. "Ask the Experts: Why Should I Eat Breakfast?"
http://performancecenter.stack.com/article_detail.jsp?id=108528#wallDefault. Jan. 17, 2013.

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