Shortcut To Size: Phase 3, Week 12, Day 83
Doctor's Orders: Break Your Fast, Fast
We're nearing the end of Shortcut to Size, but that doesn't mean my orders are done. You can follow these orders anytime, not just on Shortcut to Size. Let's chat breakfast. I have essentially two breakfasts every morning. The first one consists of a whey shake and a piece of fruit, such as cantaloupe, and is to be eaten ASAP upon getting out of bed. Do not brush your teeth first. Do not shower first. As soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning, head right to the kitchen and down this first breakfast. Why? Because you have essentially been fasting for the 7 or 8 hours that you were asleep. Would you do that in the daytime without worrying about breaking down muscle? Of course not!
When you sleep, your body must fuel your brain and the rest of your central nervous system with glucose. Since you are not munching on carbs while you sleep, the body gets a good deal of that glucose from the glycogen (the body's storage form of glucose) stored in your liver. Once your liver glycogen levels reach a certain low, the liver may signal the body to attack your muscles and break down the muscle protein they hold to mine for amino acids. These amino acids are then converted to glucose to fuel the brain. So when you wake in the morning, your muscles may be under attack by your own body.
Fast-digesting whey protein will provide some quick amino acids to your body to use for fuel. The aminos not used for fuel will go to build back up the muscle protein lost during the night. Carbs are important here, too. You need to quickly restock your liver glycogen levels. Once they are topped off again, they will call off the troops that are eating up your muscle protein. The faster the carbs can get to your liver, the better. Sure, you could down Vitargo or dextrose if you want to get the job done, but I prefer tropical fruits like cantaloupe or honeydew, as they are fairly fast-digesting. They restock liver glycogen quickly AND provide your body some much-needed antioxidants and other phytonutrients.
About 30-60 minutes after this first breakfast, you want to follow with a whole food breakfast; I like eggs along with slow carbs like oatmeal or whole-wheat toast, or even whole-wheat waffles or pancakes. If you can find a good mix, I suggest you try buckwheat pancakes, which are a great low-glycemic option.
Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.
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