It’s fun to be fit. Over 40% of children and 62% of adults in the UK live active lives. But to perform at our best on a long day of training, defeat the competition, or beat our personal record at the gym, it’s important we stay properly fuelled. 

And it starts with the most important meal of the day: breakfast!

What to eat

When it comes to preparing yourself for a strenuous workout, carbohydrates are your best friend. In a pre-exercise meal, they should make up about 50% of your plate. Carbohydrates break down into glucose which builds up energy stores around your body. During exercise, these energy stores keep you going. Because of this, regardless of your sport, carbohydrates are essential.   

You can get carbohydrates from breakfast foods such as whole-grain bread, fruits, vegetables, cereal, oats, potatoes, or crackers. If you exercise regularly, you’ll get through your energy stores pretty quickly, so incorporate carbohydrates into all of your meals, not just a pre-workout breakfast.

As well as carbs, you’ll want protein to keep you from feeling hungry and help with muscle repair and growth. The best picks for breakfast are eggs, nuts, fish, lean meat, or beans. When it comes to fats, you should approach them with caution. High-fat meals, including things like cheese, should be avoided where possible because they’ll take longer to digest and may leave you feeling bloated. However, some low-fat foods - such as eggs and peanut butter - will settle your stomach and keep the hunger at bay. 

When to eat

It’s best to plan your breakfast around how long you have before getting started. You want to allow around 3-4 hours to digest a large meal, 2-3 hours for a small meal, 1-2 hours for anything liquid or blended, and around 1 hour for a small snack. Here are some examples of what you could eat if you wake up at 7 am and start exercising at:

  • 8 am - an energy bar and a piece of fruit.
  • 9:30 am - granola and low-fat yoghurt with fruit.
  • 11 am - scrambled egg and smoked salmon on whole-grain toast.

Benefits of a winning breakfast

By making sure you eat a good breakfast before exercise you prevent things like nausea, dizziness, and fatigue from interrupting your performance. You also remove the risk of feelings of hunger distracting you from your focus. Eating the right foods will give you maximum energy meaning you can perform your best. 

Some extra tips

Because we’re feeling generous, we’ve got some other food tips to help you. We know what it’s like to be competitive and crave that competitive edge. Here are some of our other gems of wisdom:

  • Pay attention to what you eat the night before. Something containing pasta, rice, or potatoes will help you wake up feeling energised and ready to go. 
  • Avoid high-sugar foods whenever possible as your blood sugar will spike, followed by a crash halfway through the day.
  • Stick to what you know - if you know something works, don’t risk trying something new and unsettling your stomach.
  • If possible, choose actual fruit over fruit juices. They are better for digestion and contain more nutrients.
  • Don’t forget about water.

Before a big race or long day of training, you want to provide your body with all it needs to carry you through. A winning breakfast can make the difference between coming out on top, or lagging behind. But we have one last tip before you go: remember to have fun. Winning is great but never forget that participating is its own reward.

So you’ve fuelled your body with a winners breakfast, and now it’s time to race. At Maru, we offer a wide range of high-quality swimwear to keep up with any training or competition schedule. Browse the full range here.