Mudders work hard. They conquer Everest. They dive under barbed wire. They conquer 10 muddy miles. And they need the fuel that’ll keep them energized, healthy, and ready to take on life on and off the course, especially in the am. Which is why protein is a breakfast essential: it’ll keep you full, focused, and energized all morning long.
But even though getting enough protein is key, it’s all too easy to skimp on the essential macronutrient, especially when the decision is between getting up early and making a high-protein breakfast or sleeping in. To calculate how much protein you should eat in an entire day, calculate your weight in kilograms by .8 grams. Female Mudders should try to get 15-30 of those grams at breakfast, while male Mudders should try to get 25-40 grams with their am meal.
These delicious ingredients will give you a protein head-start, regardless of how much of a rush you’re in.
Kick start your day with eggs. They’re seriously full of protein: 1 egg has 6 grams of protein and 3 tbsp egg whites has 5 grams. Plus, they’re loaded with vitamin D. Try scrambling up two whole eggs together with ½ cup of egg whites for 22 grams of protein, or whip up a 3 egg omelet for an easy 18 grams (not to mention the protein in any cheese you sprinkle in).
Pro tip: If you’re using boxed egg whites, make sure they are 100% egg whites without added colors, flavors or preservatives.
Bacon isn’t too high on protein but it definitely adds a moderate amount at 3 grams per slice, and is a great Saturday brunch add-on. Just make sure that your bacon is uncured, meaning it has no sodium nitrites because nitrate salt may alter your heart’s function. Instead, find bacon that’s preserved with celery and sea salt. And if you’re a turkey bacon, lover, go for it. Low-fat, high-protein turkey bacon is hearty enough to keep you full and satisfied all morning long.
Breakfast sausage also has about 3 grams of protein per dog. Buy some fresh pork sausage and either bake or pan sautée them in olive oil or coconut oil.
Instead of bacon or sausage, a more muscle-minded Mudder might grill 2-4oz of steak in the morning as their breakfast meat.
Dairy-lovers, it’s time to celebrate. Fat-free Greek yogurt has 12-15 grams of protein in 5.3 ounces while plain whole milk yogurt has about 6 grams of protein in the same serving size. Get Greek Yogurt in single serving cups or grab a larger tub and scoop out your preferred portion in the morning. Add blueberries, strawberries, pineapple to taste and sunflower seeds or chia seeds, which pack 7 grams and 6 grams of protein in just ¼ cup, respectively. Oh, and if adding fruit still doesn’t make it sweet enough for you, add a tablespoon of nut butter or a little bit of honey to taste.
Rushing out the door with just a protein bar or protein bar in hand isn’t ideal. Protein bars and shakes alone don’t provide enough potassium, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber necessary for a healthy gut and to keep you full for long. But, a protein shake plus an avocado/banana and a piece of toast might cut it for a Tough Mudder breakfast in a pinch. Vega Sport Performance Protein packs 30 grams of protein in one scoop, which essentially substitutes your eggs for the day. Grab a piece of fruit and toast along with your shake and you’ve hit your morning nutrient goals in a hurry.
SPROUTED GRAIN BREAD
It’s time to ditch white bread in favor of a slice of sprouted grain bread. Sprouted grains are ones that are picked before they are fully grown into a plant, which has some added health benefits like more niacin, riboflavin, Vitamin E and antioxidants than regular grains. Plus, sprouted grains bread has 4 grams per slice while regular whole grain bread has 3 grams per slice. Top your toast with mashed avocado to check the carbs and fat boxes. Have avocado toast in addition to eggs how you like them. You can also use a nut butter (see below) to get both protein and fat with your carbs.
2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 8 grams of protein while almond butter and cashew butter have 6 grams of protein in the same amount. If you’re on the go and need a quick energy boost, eat 1-3 spoonfuls in the morning on. But if you have time, spread it onto sprouted grain bread for a toast that packs 15-20 grams of protein. And if you’re looking for agains-friendly, gram-worthy breakfast, add some sunflower seeds, sliced bananas, honey, or chia seeds.
Pro tip: Be careful not to eat too much nut butter at once in the am. It’s high in fat which you’ll start to use during steady state cardio sessions that last 90+ minutes , but may make you feel bloated.
A 1/2 cup of traditional oats has 5 grams of protein, which makes it a great mid-day snack, but for the volume it takes up in your belly, that’s not a ton. Butt add in some raisins (1.3 grams protein per small box), a half scoop of protein powder, and nut butter, and suddenly you’ve upped the protein content to about 20 grams… and made it taste better. If you’re fueling for a Tough Mudder Event, have half an avocado and eggs on the side for a breakfast of carbs, protein and fat that’ll help you to conquer any Tough Mudder event.