You know what they say: “You can’t build muscle all day if you don’t start early.” Wait, no one says that? Huh. Well, they should. Because “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is boring and overused. And, what does it even mean, really?
I found some answers to that question from Neerav Padliya, Ph.D., VP, Research Alliances at Qurr. He explained the science behind the benefits of breakfast.
Dr. Padliya cited a research study that showed increased “muscle protein synthesis rates” (i.e. muscle building) when participants ate the same amount of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, rather than a skewed distribution of protein throughout the day, with the least protein consumed at breakfast, more at lunch, and the most at dinner.
“So skip the bagels and cereal and start of the day with some Greek yogurt, a protein shake, protein bar or omelet instead,” he suggests.
To know how much protein you should eat each day, multiply your body weight in kilograms by 0.8. So, a 150 lb (68 kg) person should consume 54.4 grams of protein per day. This is the recommended daily allowance. To split that evenly between the three main meals of the day means that 150 lb person would eat about 18 g of protein per meal. Not so hard to figure out, right?
If you’re used to pastries in the morning, this amount of protein (varied based on your body weight) may sound like a stretch. But for starters, one egg contains six grams of protein. One container of Greek yogurt contains 17 g of protein. One scoop of Gold Standard Whey Protein contains 24 g of protein. (And you can also get what you need in a plant-based protein powder, if that’s your jam.)
If you’re still not sure you can make it happen, start by taking Dr. Padliya’s suggestion to avoid foods that are sugary, such as muffins and pastries. Those foods will not promote muscle building. “Further, they will not leave you satiated for long periods of time in contrast to proteins and fats,” he says. “This may cause you to consume more calories throughout the day and put on fat as opposed to muscle.”
Of course, the key component to building muscle is resistance training. Dr. Padliya says, “The best way to promote muscle building is to perform regular resistance training between 2-3 times per week and follow a diet that provides you with enough protein.”
If you can make these two things happen, you’ll be well on your way to building muscle all day.
What protein-packed breakfast do you love? If you’re sticking to a vegetarian diet (or just trying to keep meat to a minimum), you might find this post super helpful. —Megan