The upcoming Olympic Games got us thinking about the term "breakfast of champions." Because beyond the cereal box, we know that elite athletes are eating very specific, deliberate foods to fuel their bodies in a strategic way. So what is the real breakfast of champions? What do marathon runners, competitive swimmers, cyclists, and other professional athletes eat in the morning?
To get some insight on this, we spoke with Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD. What do all those letters mean? Well . . . she's a total expert in how to fuel an athlete's body. She's a specialist in sports dietetics by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, she's served as a sports nutrition consultant to four professional teams (including the New York Yankees), she has a master's degree in both nutrition science and public health, she's a certified personal trainer, she has formal culinary training, and she's a three-time New York Times bestselling author.
So yeah, she's basically the authority on what to eat for breakfast when you're on an intense training program. Ready for her three favorite staples? Her three "hearty but healthy breakfast meals are great for fueling elite athletes and optimizing energy, endurance, circulation, and mental and physical performance." But be mindful of when you're eating breakfast and how soon after you're working out — it could cause a stomachache. "Eating a big breakfast too close to the start of exercise can lead to cramps," said Cynthia. "Especially meals that include lean protein and good fats, which take longer to digest. These meals should be eaten two to three hours before training or competing."