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Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Any Situation

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We live in an age of information overload. Nowhere is this more clear than when you go looking for breakfast recipes. Type “healthy breakfast recipes” into any search engine, and you’ll be greeted by a long list of articles offering you even longer lists — 50+ ideas here, 38 more ways to cook eggs there, and on and on. Which creates an ironic problem:

Choices are great, but having too many options is paralyzing. There’s probably something you want to eat somewhere in those healthy breakfast lists, but it’s buried an endless scroll of random stuff.

Just as frustrating? Many of the recipes don’t feel like good fit for you. Either because they’re too complicated, have the wrong mix of ingredients, or just don’t sound all that appetizing.

Instead of getting frustrated, we’ve simplified our favorite healthy breakfast recipes into categories that will work for you.

Hate to cook, or have almost no time to do it? Not a problem.

Burned out from eating breakfast staples like oatmeal and eggs over and over again? Don’t worry, we have alternatives.

Wrangling with an addiction to bacon? Never fear. We have love for your bacon love.  

Based on feedback we’ve received from our coaching clients, here are some of the most common problems you face at breakfast — and the meals that can get the job done for your life and body.

The breakfast problem: You don’t have time to eat.

If your mornings are so hectic that you barely have time to chew, much less cook, you aren’t alone. Far from it. In fact UK-based market research showed that nearly half of all people have to eat breakfast outside of their home at least once per week. A similar report in the U.S. showed a growing number of people need portable breakfasts.

Here’s the good news: There are plenty of healthy breakfast options that don’t require you to start your morning at the stove. In fact, you won’t even need to dirty a dish. Simply prep these the night before (or even on the weekend), and you have grab-and-go healthy breakfasts that can roll out the door when you do.

Healthy breakfast recipes: eggs on-the-go
Healthy breakfast recipes: eggs on-the-go

Eggs on the Go (full recipe here) – Get a high-protein breakfast that’s packed with veggies that fits in the palm of your hand. Tastes so good you’ll feel like you sat down for your favorite omelette, but you can do it on the road. You get it all with no mess and no clean-up. Spend 25 minutes making these one night — you’ll have eliminated the need to think about breakfast for the rest of the week.

Healthy breakfast recipes: overnight oats
Healthy breakfast recipes: overnight oats

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats (full recipe here) – Get all the health benefits of oatmeal, and the protein to start your day right, no cooking required. You simply mix the ingredients together the night before, which takes about 5 minutes. The next morning, voila! Breakfast is ready, and so are you.

Healthy breakfast recipes: PB&J energy balls
Healthy breakfast recipes: PB&J energy balls

PB&J Energy Balls (full recipe here) – Here’s a helpful hand-friendly snack that’s great if you have to eat on the go (i.e. in your car). Like the overnight oats above, there’s no cooking required. A food processor is all you need. Knock out one batch on a weekend, and your healthy breakfasts are ready for the week.

The problem: All you want is cereal. 

People are eating less breakfast cereal than they once did, but a bowl of something crispy plus milk remains a morning ritual for many. The good news: You can eat cereal and have it be a healthy start to your day.

  1. Added sugar. While it’s not true for all cereals, plenty of breakfast cereals come packed with added sugar. Look at many cereal labels and you’ll see “sugar,” “corn syrup” (a.k.a. more sugar), or plenty of sugar’s other code names (honey, agave nectar, etc.) listed early and often. You do not have to fear sugar, but you should aim to keep your intake of added sugars to below 150 calories per day if you are a man, and 100 if you are a woman. Some especially sugar-packed cereals (usually ones targeted at kids) deliver more than half of that per serving. And FYI: No one eats a single serving of cereal. Your best bet: Check the nutrition labels. Look for a cereal with more fiber and a sugar content in the single digits.
  2. Low in protein. Cereals come from grains, and grains generally aren’t high in protein compared to their total calorie count. Yes, adding milk helps. But why not steer your breakfast toward even greater balance by adding a protein source like eggs on the side? Doing that provides a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats. Here are the two main knocks against cereal (and how to solve them):

Or if you want to give your breakfast bowl a total makeover, we recommend:

Healthy breakfast recipes: Breakfast for champions
Healthy breakfast recipes: Breakfast for champions

The True Breakfast For Champions (full recipe here) – Crunchy, crispy, sweet and satisfying, this bowl delivers all the whole grain goodness without much added sugar. [Honey is an ingredient, but you can ditch it if you want.] For many, the blueberries and bananas provide more than enough sweetness. Combine them with the fiber from the steel cut oats and healthy fats from the almonds, and you’ve got everything you need to fuel your body to win the day.

The problem: You hate oatmeal.

Why does seemingly every health outlet suggest eating oatmeal? There are several reasons to love it:

But look, nobody can blame you if oatmeal isn’t your thing. And there are plenty of ways to get fiber—the main driver behind many of these benefits—without turning to oats. A piece of high-fiber bread (we like Ezekiel 4:9, but look for any bread with “100% whole grain” or “whole wheat” on the label) can have nearly as much fiber as oatmeal. Toast it with a side of bacon or eggs (or both!) and you’ve got a healthy, well-rounded breakfast.

Or if you’re open to the idea of a bowl, but just don’t want it to be oats, try this new take:

Healthy breakfast recipes: Goji coconut quinoa bowl
Healthy breakfast recipes: Goji coconut quinoa bowl

Goji Coconut Quinoa Bowl (full recipe here) – We don’t like ranking whole foods against one another, but one could argue that quinoa is like Oats 2.0. You still get a fiber-rich carbohydrate, but quinoa is also high in protein. The almond slices, goji berries and coconut flakes don’t just add taste and texture, they also amp up the nutrient content.

The problem: You hate most healthy breakfast recipes.

If you are fed up with pancakes, cereal, oats, and everything else that most people think of as breakfast foods, you aren’t alone. In fact, Born Fitness coach Natalie Sabin counts herself among you.

“Breakfast foods have just never been my thing,” Sabin says. “So I make meals that I like, no matter what time of day it is.” Which is why she routinely opts for non-traditional morning meals like:

A recurring theme you’ll see running through those meals: leftovers. There’s nothing wrong with making part of tonight’s dinner into tomorrow’s breakfast. However if you want to put something completely new together for breakfast, but don’t want it to taste breakfast-y, here’s a morning meal that many breakfast food haters love:

Healthy breakfast recipes: breakfast pita
Healthy breakfast recipes: breakfast pita

The Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Pita (full recipe here) –  Start your day with a savory high-protein sandwich. The chicken sausage combined with zesty parmesan gives you a meal so delicious you won’t even know there’s spinach in there too. (Kidding, spinach! You know we love you.)

Healthy breakfast recipes: the scramble
Healthy breakfast recipes: the scramble

The Bro Scramble (full recipe here): Eggs, roasted veggies and bacon, together at last. Here’s a power-packed recipe that will impress your friends — or provide you with meals for a couple of days if you don’t feel like sharing.You’ll be delighted by the combination of flavors and textures. The combo of sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts will keep you feeling full to lunch. Best of all, they all come together in a single pan, meaning no mess and very little to clean up.

The problem: You don’t eat enough protein.

With all of the delicious carb-dense options for breakfast, it can seem like the breakfast gods forgot about protein. Sometimes the easiest route is a protein shake, and here’s how to make sure it doesn’t taste like watered down protein powder:

Healthy breakfast recipes: maca chai protein shake
Healthy breakfast recipes: maca chai protein shake

The Maca Chai Protein Shake (full recipe here): Haven’t heard of Maca? Here’s why you should get hip to it: The Peruvian powder has been shown to have beneficial effects on hormones as well as promise in fighting disease. Combine that with the Greek yogurt and protein powder in this recipe and suddenly you’ve got all the tasty smoothness of a Starbucks frappuchino. But where frappuchinos are packed with sugar, this drink comes stacked with 39 grams of protein.

The problem: You don’t like eggs (or are tired of eating them every day)

Eggs are an awesome breakfast staple for numerous reasons:

  • Eggs are a source of high-quality protein.
  • Eggs provide 18 vitamins and minerals, including several that many people are deficient in, such as zinc.
  • The healthy fats eggs contain makes many of these micronutrients easier for your body to absorb.
  • Some of the protein strains within eggs have anti-cancer and tumor suppression properties.
  • People knock eggs for being a source of cholesterol, but here’s the thing: There’s a difference between dietary cholesterol (what you eat) and blood cholesterol (what’s coursing through your veins). Numerous studies indicate the cholesterol from eggs has little to no effect on your body’s actual blood cholesterol levels. A body of research even shows that egg consumption has positive effects on HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the body. (Here are three different examples.)

But if you’re feeling burned out from eating them — of if you just don’t like them — we get it. Other great go-tos include Greek yogurt, milk, protein powder, chicken and salmon — either smoked, cured (a.k.a. “lox”), or just leftover from the night before.

Here are two non-egg recipes that you might enjoy:

Healthy breakfast recipes: berry parfait
Healthy breakfast recipes: berry parfait

The Berry Nutty Parfait (full recipe here): Talk about easy. You can have this one ready in 5 minutes (max). Fruit, granola and yogurt are a simple yet potent combination. You get protein and healthy fats (both great for keeping you full) along with powerful antioxidants from the berries, which have been linked to better brain health and numerous other benefits. Pretty sweet indeed!

Healthy breakfast recipes: bacon & date protein pancakes
Healthy breakfast recipes: bacon & date protein pancakes

Bacon & Date Protein Pancakes (full recipe here): What’s the only thing better than a plate stacked with flapjacks? Having that stack be packed with bacon and protein. Each bite is a sweet, salty, savory explosion of flavor. It’ll taste so good you’ll think you should feel bad — but when you see that there’s three times more protein than there is fat, you’ll know you don’t have to.

READ MORE: 

Is Sugar Bad For You?

Fix Your Diet: Understanding Protein, Carbs and Fat

How Many Eggs Are Safe to Eat?

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Why Activated Charcoal Has More Health Risk Than Reward

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Remember when getting a lump of coal from Santa meant you were bad? These days, coal — or activated charcoal, to be exact — is offered in health stores, smoothies, and supplements as a “cure-all” cleanser for a variety of health ailments.

While most cleanses or detoxes have no science behind them (primarily because most prey on fear and don’t deliver any real health benefit) activated charcoal is a different nature. There is reason to believe that charcoal could help cleanse your body because of different uses in emergency rooms. 

But, believe it or not, research shows that slipping random amounts of activated charcoal into products might be worse than your run-of-the-mill miracle cleanse. 

Does Activated Charcoal Work?

The rise of activated charcoal as a health cure starts in the medical community. It’s used in emergency rooms — quite effectively, might I add — to help people fight drug overdoses (oftentimes from OTC meds like acetaminophen).

Charcoal helps prevent the spread of toxins from overdosing to try and limit the danger and risk to your body. That’s great for dangerous and scary situations, but supplement manufacturers took it one step further and suggested that charcoal could prevent the spread of all toxins in your body. 

Unfortunately, emergency situations do not directly apply to general use. And there are a few reasons why taking active charcoal won’t help detox your body or rid you of toxins.

When activated charcoal is given in the ER, the standard dose is about 25 to 50 grams. If you look at the most “popular” activated charcoal products on the market, the dose is 250 milligrams. That means you’re receiving — at most — about 100x less the amount you need to “detox.” And, typically, the dose needs to be given as soon as possible. 

The Risks of Activated Charcoal

An article on CNN showed that even if the activated charcoal is doing its job, it can be a very bad thing. 

You see, activated charcoal works by binding to ingredients (like when it binds to acetaminophen) and preventing it from spreading in your body. But, it’s not selective. The charcoal doesn’t know to bind only to the bad. It just knows to bind. That means the charcoal could be stripping your body of the good nutrients it needs.

So products that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and activated charcoal are essentially worthless. That’s because the activated charcoal will bind to those vitamins and minerals and prevent them from being absorbed in your body. 

 

Does Activated Charcoal Whiten Teeth or Reduce Odor?

In addition to being positioned as a detoxifier, activated charcoal has a variety of health and wellness claims. It’s always your choice if you want to experiment and see if something works for you, but here’s an eye-opening look at what research shows about activated charcoal.

According to Consumer Reports, activated charcoal does not whitten teeth or work to remove body odor.

“There are no published studies on charcoal used for whitening, for example; one unpublished experiment presented at a dentistry conference noted that “fine black charcoal powder” could actually become embedded in cracks or small holes in the teeth—doing the opposite of whitening. There are also no studies we found examining whether activated charcoal, particularly taken orally, might work to reduce general odors (either as a breath freshener or deodorant). There have been studies showing that activated charcoal dressings can tamp down foul stenches from skin wounds and ulcers. But if you have an infected wound or ulcer, you should seek treatment or advice from a doctor before trying any form of activated charcoal.”

More importantly, the health risks are fairly significant.

  • Activated charcoal can bind with some medications, including some antidepressants and anti-inflammatory medications, causing them to be less effective. This could have serious health consequences for some people, but it’s not explained on bottles or packaging where activated charcoal is being sold.
  • Activated charcoal will only bind with whatever particles are in your stomach or intestines at the time that you take it. It works by coming into physical contact with your intestinal contents. If you’re trying to use it to detox from the alcohol and kebab you had the night before, it won’t do anything at all because they have been absorbed into your bloodstream already.
  • Activated charcoal slows down your bowel and is known to cause nausea and constipation (and black stools).

Bottom line: while most activated charcoal products offer a dose that is probably too low to see results, if you decide to take it, you have more downside than upside, and it’s likely not worth your money (or the hype).

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Are You Overtraining? (Here’s How to Tell)

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How do you know if you are pushing too hard during your workouts?

Overtraining is a real phenomenon. It is possible to train so much that you break your body down rather than build it up. But most people never come close to “real” overtraining, which is highlighted (lowlighted?) by physical breakdowns that are hard to ignore. This isn’t muscle soreness or having some bad days in the gym.

Here are 7 common symptoms of overtraining, they include:

  • Increase in resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • Insomnia-like symptoms and trouble sleeping
  • Stomach disturbances
  • Consistent low energy and bad mood
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Decreased self-esteem and motivation
  • Feelings of sadness and apathy

Overtraining

In other words, you experience symptoms that closely mimic depression and chronic fatigue, according to research from the University of Memphis. In severe cases of overtraining, your immune system shuts down and you can suffer multiple issues, including upper respiratory infections and slow healing, says research published in the Journal of Athletic Training. You can read all about overtraining here.

Are you worried about overtraining? Don’t! Our coaches can help.

 

While that article gives a great breakdown of how to set up your training, it doesn’t cover how you determine the fine line between intensity and insanity. So if you’re worried about pushing too hard (like Paul), Mike Robertson has the answer. Mike (one of the top strength coaches in the U.S.) examines the different ways to evaluate the intensity of your workouts.

They can be broken down into a few options:

Option 1: A self-analysis technique known as RPR/RPE, or “rate of perceived recovery” and “rate of perceived exertion.” The RPR scale is how you feel coming into a training session — how well you slept, how tired/sore you feel, etc.

The RPE rates how heavy/how hard things feel once you start working out. And as you’ll see in Mike’s post, he evaluates it by regularly asking clients questions about how each move feels throughout the workout. Here’s an example:

    1. RPE of 10 – Max effort/limit lift. This is either one heckuva grinder, or they flat out miss a lift.
    2. RPE of 9 – Heavy lift, but one rep left in the tank.
    3. RPE of 8 – Heavy(ish) lift, but two reps left in the tank.
    4. RPE of 7 – Moderate weight, multiple reps left in the tank

Option 2: But let’s say you don’t trust yourself to make subjective measurements. You want data. Well, there are some tests you can use that will put some numbers to your physical preparedness.

For example, the vertical jump is a fairly accurate predictor of how fatigued you are (see study here). If your gym has one of those jump height sticks (y’know, these things), you can use that as a self-assessment tool. Jump before your workout/after your warm-up. If you are at, or above, your usual total, then you’re likely ready to go.

If you’re several inches below, then you’re more tired than you think and may want to scale the session back — or even make it an active recovery day.

Option 3: If you don’t like jumping, but still want data, no problem. A less obvious way to test your readiness is a simple hand dynamometer, which is a tool that measures hand strength. Studies show that hand strength is a reliable indicator of strength on a given day (example here).

And if you’re squeezing and squeezing but several points lower than usual, you’re more fatigued than you know.

How to make use of all of this?

When you get to the gym and start doing your “working sets” (not your warmup), stop and assess how you feel. The weight on the bar might be similar to prior workouts, but how you feel is likely different. And that is your body trying to give you helpful information to make the most of your session.

Instead of sticking to your exact plan, if the weight feels “heavier” than usual and you’re exhausted, you can still get in a great workout without grinding away unnecessarily. As you workout, this is the holy grail of feeling in control.

Push harder when your body says you can, and easy up when you know how to recognize that you’re a little overworked. It’s an approach that’s more likely to keep you consistently in the gym, feeling good, and making improvements.

The post Are You Overtraining? (Here’s How to Tell) appeared first on Born Fitness.

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I Want to Look More Muscular. What’s the Best Way to Make Gains?

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There’s one thing that all the biggest, most muscular people on the planet have in common.

It’s not great genetics.

(Good genes help, but plenty of people have gotten huge without having been blessed with it at birth.)

It’s not that they all just live at the gym and do nothing else, or follow some magical workout. (When it comes to building muscle, many different approaches — low rep/high weight, high rep/low weight, straight sets, supersets, and on and on — can work. There is no one that’s “best.”)

And it’s not that they’re on performance-enhancing drugs. (You can pack on plenty of muscle naturally — look no further than any drug-free bodybuilding competition for proof.)

The thing they all have in common is this:

Patience.

Not the answer you expected? Here’s why being patient is so important.

The Problem with Bulking and Cutting

First, when most people set out to build muscle, they go through a phase where they eat a lot and train a lot. You’ve probably heard it called “bulking.”

Then, after a few weeks or months, they switch. Maybe they get self-conscious about the size the gained. Or maybe they think they’re starting to look fat. So they trim back on calories and change their training to try and burn the fat off. This phase is called “cutting.”

Most people bounce back and forth between these two phases — bulking and cutting, bulking and cutting — without making any real progress. Why? Because each new phase undoes the success of the last.

On our website, we’ve talked about Set Point Theory. It’s the idea that the body identifies with a certain weight and then becomes resistant to change. In our previous article, we discussed how it applied to weight loss. It’s one of the reasons why losing weight — and keeping it off — can be so hard.

But the concept also applies to muscle gain. Your body is used to being a certain weight. When you change that through strength training, it will take measures to go back to how it was — unless you teach it that this more muscular weight is it’s new normal.

Have a Born Fitness coach guide your gainz!

 

You teach your body that through what’s called a maintenance phase. In a lecture on his site Renaissance Periodization, Dr. Mike Israetel discusses how people hold themselves back if they do not include this phase in their training. (The content itself is paywalled, but totally worth buying if you like to nerd out on the science of muscle-building.)

I don’t want to give too much away or do violence to the quality and depth of his explanation. So I’ll summarize it like this: During a maintenance phase, you ease up on training a little bit. And you aim to eat what’s called an isocaloric diet, meaning you try to eat as many calories as you’d need, but not more.

Sample Muscle-Building Macronutrient Formula

This formula from Adam’s Great Abs Experiment will help:

For Total Calories Per Day:

Take the body weight you wish to maintain and multiply it by 10 if you are training 1 hour or less per week. For each additional hour you train per week, add 1 to the multiplier. So if you’d muscled up to 200 pounds, and trained 4 hours per week, you’d multiply 13 by 200 and get 2,600 calories per day as your mark. You can split that total across however many meals per day you prefer to eat (two, three, four, five, whatever).

Protein:

Eat at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. So if you were 200 pounds, you’d aim for 200 grams of protein (800 calories total) per day.

Fat:

Eat half a gram of fat per pound of bodyweight. So at 200 pounds, you’d target 100 grams of fat (900 calories) per day.

Carbohydrates:

Determine how many carbohydrates to eat by subtracting the protein and fat calories from your daily total, and then dividing the remainder by 4. To continue the example we’ve been using here, it would be 2,600 calories total minus 800 calories (protein) and 900 calories (fat), leaving you with 900 calories for carbs. Divide that by 4 and you get 225 calories of carbs per day.

While the length of your maintenance phase can vary, you’d want to approach it as if it were something you could do for several months or even years. Why? Because — again — you want this to be your new normal.

You want to think of building muscle not in terms of days and weeks, but months and years. The biggest, most muscular people in the world are the ones who show up for training, again and again, for years on end.

READ MORE: 

Adding Muscle At Any Age: Defying Genetics And Designing The Muscle Building Workout

The New Rules Of Specialization: How To Add Muscle Mass

How To Master The Art Of “Old School” Muscle Building

5 Muscle Building Mistakes (And How To Make Gains)

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