Workout - You Can't Take My Class and Not Eat Breakfast

by Alex Allred

It's not at all uncommon for someone to break away from my 60+ minute kickbox class and lean heavily against the wall. They feel dizzy, lightheaded and/or nauseous. My first question is always, "Did you eat breakfast?" Nine times out of ten, the answer is 'no.'

I can take aerobics, jazzercise, step, ride the bike, jog three miles or work the Stairmaster without eating breakfast but there is no way I can take my own bootcamp-style kickbox class without eating. It is a MUST!

However, many people believe skipping breakfast is the way to lose weight. Because, they reason, they really aren't very hungry in the morning this is the best meal to skip. Not so for two reasons. One scientific. One practical. Blood sugar is the body's most powerful hunger signal. While you sleep, your body utilizes much of the carbohydrate stores in the liver than help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. By skipping breakfast, low blood sugar triggers the hunger center in your brain that can be so powerful you overcompensate and overeat at lunch and/or throughout the rest of the day. (Fitness Rx 8/02). In reality, those who eat breakfast reportedly maintain and even lose more successfully because they have

  1. The proper hunger signals
  2. More energy to burn more calories.

On the practical side, without energy your workouts are going to be less effective. Thus, you will burn fewer calories.

Always eat a good breakfast. Good carbohydrates are what will carry you through a tough workout and throughout the day. "But what are good carbs?" is the most frequently asked question.

Good Carbohydrates - Ultimate Energy Foods

Breads -
Bagel, mini, whole-grain (1/2 bagel 1 ounce)
Bread, whole-grain (1 slice - 1 ounce )
Muffin, high fiber (1/2 small)
Pita, whole-grain, 6-inch
(1/2 pita = 1 ounce)
Tortilla, whole grain, 6-inch (1)

Cereal -
Cereal, cooked (1/2 cup)
Cereal, dry, unsweetened (1/2 cup)
Cereal, granola (1/2 cup)

Legumes - (1/3 cup)
Beans, black
Beans, kidney
Beans, lima
Beans, pinto
Beans, white
Peas, black-eyed
Peas, split

Whole Grains - (1/2 cup)
Pasta, whole-wheat, cooked
Bulgar, cooked

Crackers and Snack Foods -
Crackers Diablo
Melba toast (5)
Popcorn, air-popped (3 cups)
Pretzels (3/4 ounce)
Rye crisp or Wasa-type crackers (2 to 4)
Tortilla chips (8)

Starchy Vegetables - (1/2 cup)
Peas, green
Potato, baked (3 ounce)
Potato, sweet, mashed (1/3 cup)
Squash, winter (1 cup)

Fruit -
Applesauce (1/2 cup)
Apricot halves, dried (7)
Banana (1/2 large)
blueberries, blackberries (3/4 cup)
Cantaloupe (1/3 melon or 1 cup
of cubes)
Cherries (12)
Grapefruit (1/2 cup)
Grapes (1/2 cup)
Honeydew melon (1/8 melon or
1 cup cubes)
Kiwi (1)
Mango (1/2)
Orange (medium)

Rice - (1/3 cup)
Brown, rice
White, rice

*Muscles need calories and protein to grow. Take in enough carbohydrates, protein and fats to meet energy and tissue building needs. Don't cut carbs if you're training hard. Carbs are the most important fuel for high intensity exercise.

*Want to lose weight? Consume most of your carbs before noon.

Workout tip
Low on Energy? Forget those ads promising to burn fat and add energy. As the FDA conducts more research, we are finding these fat-burners to be dangerous. Your answer can easily be found in one little over-the-counter pill. You may be iron-deficient. Not anemic but iron deficient. Studies have shown that iron deficiency hinders aerobic training and reduces your level of endurance. So, power up and take a 50-milligram iron pill with your multi-vitamin.

Vitamins C and E may help you recover more quickly from a hard workout and fight injuries!

Alexandra AllredAlexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.

Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family.

Copyright © Alexandra Allred. Permission to publish granted to