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Sports breakfast to improve your performance

According to the French recommendations (PNNS)*, our breakfast alone should cover 25% of the energy needs that the body needs during the day. Find out which nutrients to focus on to progress and continue to enjoy your sport!
Nutrition sportive
Petit déjeuner sportif

Starting the day off right is essential for everyone, but for an athlete, it is essential. A properly designed sports breakfast can play a decisive role in improving performance and physical preparation. In this article, we will explore the key elements of an athlete-friendly breakfast that provides both energy and nutrition.

  • 01. The importance of breakfast for athletes
  • 02. What is the best breakfast for an athlete?
  • 03. Breakfast and bodybuilding
  • 04. The place of cereals in the athlete's menu
  • 05. Proteins: a necessity for breakfast

The importance of breakfast for athletes

Starting the day with energy: that’s everyone’s wish. But for the athlete, it is not just a wish, it is a necessity. Breakfast, often considered the most important meal of the day, takes on a special dimension when it comes to athletes or people actively engaged in physical training. Let's see why.

After sleep is a crucial time for the body. After hours of fasting, energy reserves are at their lowest. For the athlete, recharging these reserves is essential. Not only for daily activities but especially for upcoming training sessions. And that's where the sports breakfast comes in.

It's more than just a meal. This is a window of opportunity to inject the body with the right nutrients, those which will support effort , prevent early fatigue and improve recovery. A complete breakfast is well balanced in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. And, of course, it is rich in vitamins and minerals.

But beyond nutrition, breakfast has an impact on the mind. A good morning snack boosts motivation, mentally prepares you for exercise and establishes a positive ritual for the day.

Finally, it is essential to emphasize that each athlete is unique. Their nutritional needs may vary depending on their sport, intensity level and personal goals. This is why it is often recommended to consult a sports nutrition expert to define the ideal sports breakfast .

What is the best breakfast for an athlete?

Breakfast, often considered the most crucial meal of the day, is of capital importance for the individual devoting part of their day to a sporting activity. This first food intake must meet specific requirements in order to ensure optimal performance and meet the nutritional needs of the athlete.

Within this first meal, it is essential that it provides adequate energy to meet the demands of the physical effort to come. It is therefore fundamental to favor sources of complex carbohydrates. Whole-grain bread or whole -grain cereals such as oatmeal stand out by providing a gradual release of energy, thus avoiding glycemic peaks and ensuring prolonged endurance.

In addition, protein takes pride of place in this morning meal. It plays a determining role in the repair and growth of muscle fibers used during physical effort. Thus, the presence of cottage cheese, rich in proteins, or even animal proteins coming for example from eggs, is strongly recommended.

It is also essential not to neglect lipids, but to favor those of good quality. Sources like avocados, chia seeds or oilseeds provide healthy fats essential for cognitive function and energy production.

Hydration is fundamental. Opting for a fresh fruit juice or simply a large glass of water is crucial to rehydrate the body after a night of fasting.

Breakfast and bodybuilding

For bodybuilding enthusiasts, breakfast is much more than a simple meal: it is one of the very important anabolic windows for muscle hypertrophy. Indeed, after a fast, the receptors for leucine (amino acid present in proteins, the most important for anabolism) are “open”. This is the time to provide the muscle with the proteins it needs, especially in the morning, when part of the proteins nourish the digestive system. A good dose is therefore ideal upon waking up, in order to cover the needs of both the digestive system and the muscles.

The place of cereals in the athlete's menu

Food plays a vital role in sports performance, and cereals are establishing themselves as an essential element in the athlete's diet. Where does this importance come from and how to properly integrate them?


Cereals, especially whole grains, are a preferred source of complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are slowly metabolized by the body, providing a gradual and steady release of energy. Thus, for an athlete, consuming cereals for breakfast or before training allows you to benefit from increased endurance and better performance.


In addition, whole grains are full of essential nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, and various minerals. Fiber contributes to good digestion, essential to avoid any discomfort during exercise. B vitamins, on the other hand, participate in energy metabolism, ensuring that calories are used optimally during physical activity.


But be careful, not all grain products are equal. To get the most benefits from cereals, you should avoid those that are excessively processed or high in added sugars, such as some industrial breakfast cereals. Favoring unrefined options like oats, barley or buckwheat is wise.

Protein: a necessity for breakfast

Starting your day with an adequate protein intake is not only recommended for the general public, but is essential for those who lead an active or sporty lifestyle. But why do these molecules hold such a central place during the first meal of the day?


As seen previously, proteins play a crucial role in the repair and development of tissues, particularly muscle. After a night of fasting, the body is looking for nutrients to nourish its muscles. Athletes and active people who incorporate protein into their breakfast therefore put the chances on their side to promote muscle recovery and prepare the body for the day's activities.


In addition, proteins have the advantage of inducing a lasting feeling of satiety. They help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing insulin spikes and unwanted cravings that can occur mid-morning. A breakfast rich in protein prevents snacking and thus promotes better weight management.


Sources of protein abound in our diet: eggs, dairy products such as cottage cheese or yogurt, as well as protein bars and protein powder shakes for those who have little time. It is therefore easy to integrate these essential elements into your breakfast.

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