How To Eat Before Morning Practice (When You're Not An Early Morning Eater)
Finally! Summer is here!
School's out for the year...
You don't have to worry about homework anymore...
And it's time to sleep in...(is what you'd say if you weren't a gymnast with morning practice...)
I've been there...
As a gymnast, you likely don't get to sleep in over the summer. Practices switch to the morning, and you have to get up just as early (if not earlier) for summer practice as you did for school.
For me, every year, summer meant practices starting at 7 am. And just like you, I am NOT an early morning person. You best believe I definitely set my alarm for the last possible second (then rushed to get ready and leave for the gym).
With practice starting so early, you may think it's okay to just skip breakfast in the morning.
It's just too early to eat. I'm not hungry
If I eat this early, breakfast will make me feel bloated and weigh me down.
Whether it's because they don't think they have enough time to make and eat breakfast or because they don't feel hungry in the morning, it's SUPER common for gymnasts to skip breakfast before morning practice.
Gymnasts, DON'T do this!!!!
You'll actually feel MORE sluggish if you don't eat than if you do!
It is SO important to eat before practice, even when it starts at 7am!
If you go to morning practice without breakfast, your body is basically running on empty, which is not conducive to having enough energy for practice and reaching your goals in the gym. You are putting yourself at risk of feeling TIRED, SLUGGISH, UNFOCUSED, and you are increasing the likelihood that you will get hurt!
Breakfast before practice--even if it's just a something small --will be that fuel in your tank to give you the STRENGTH and ENERGY you need to start off your practice right! Breakfast gets your brain and body running and continues to help your body recover from yesterday's practice, which are all important if you want to perform your best!
And if you're worried about eating before practice because you feel sick or bloated, you may just not be fueling CORRECTLY before practice. A pre-practice breakfast that is easy to digest and will give you great energy is heavy in simple carbs (like starches and fruit) and has a little protein to help keep you full.
Gymnasts, there are no excuses for skipping breakfast before a morning practice - you NEED that food to have the energy and strength to meet your goals!
I understand that breakfast before early practices can be one of the most challenging parts to meet in your fueling plan, but here are 5 tips for making breakfast before morning practices a little easier:
1. Start Small:
I get it - eating in the morning if you don't feel hungry can be tough. But, just like learning new skills in the gym. breakfast can take practice! If you're not used to eating anything at all, start slow and start small. Think of adding one easy food or drink option first. If this is really challenging, try adding a low-volume food like juice, a smoothie, or dried fruit. Remember, eating something is always better than nothing! As this gets easier and you hopefully start to feel hungrier, add more (either a larger portion or a second food group)!
2. Set out what you're eating for breakfast the night before:
The night before morning practice, decide what you're going to eat for breakfast the next day. If possible, even make it ahead of time! Then, either set it out by your gym bag or at the front of the refrigerator so that it's easier to grab and remember in the morning! Doing this will save you precious time in the morning.
3. Prep make-ahead and/or batch cook breakfast for the week:
Set aside some time on the weekend or your day off to make a big batch of breakfast options like muffins, an oatmeal bake, or breakfast burritos so you can save time in the morning before practice! Instead of taking the time every day to make a breakfast before rushing out to the gym, you can just grab one of the muffins or a piece of the oatmeal bake that are already fully ready!
4. Find on-the-go options:
Another way to save time in the morning while still eating a breakfast is to find on the go options that you can eat in the car on the drive to the gym. Some of my favorite on-the-go breakfasts before my early summer practices were:
A granola or protein bar with a piece of fruit and milk box
Greek yogurt parfait (with fruit and granola)
A sandwich (like PBJ or egg & cheese) and a juice box
A fruit smoothie
5. Remember to pack snacks!
Eating a very small breakfast might make you start to feel hungry soon after. OR, if you really believe you can't eat before practice, pack a snack--such as a banana, dried fruit, a muffin, or a granola bar--to eat within the first hour of practice when you start to get hungry. You can also bring a sports drink or fruit juice to provide you with the carbs and electrolytes you need throughout practice, but these shouldn't replace a breakfast or mid-practice snack! If you do choose this method of fueling for morning practice, make sure you still have a mid practice snack as well so you stay energized through your whole practice!
Gymnasts, if you want to reach your goals this summer, you have to properly fuel your body to have the energy you need in and out of the gym, as well as the energy to recover. This starts with eating breakfast in the morning, especially if it's before early practice. For more breakfast ideas, check out my make ahead breakfast booklet for more ideas and recipes for your pre-practice breakfast!