Physical Performance

Nutrition is an important aspect in athletic performance. Download these shareable videos, graphics, handouts and recipes to help promote the power of protein and eggs.

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?


From the time we were kids, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it? Breakfast influences more than you might think. Consider the latest research findings:

  • Breakfast consumption among adolescents on weekends is associated with greater engagement in moderate and vigorous physical activity on weekends.1
  • Frequency of skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower hip bone mineral density in women. Moreover, hip bone mineral density in women who skip breakfast is three or more times lower than in women who do not skip breakfast.2
  • Consuming a high-calorie breakfast results in significantly more weight loss than consuming a high-calorie dinner.3
  • Breakfast consumption is associated with aerobic fitness and lower limb muscle power in children.4
  • A low-calorie diet, with a higher amount of calories at breakfast, can establish a greater reduction in fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity than a typical daily diet.5
  • Compared with breakfast consumers, women who rarely or never eat breakfast tend to have poorer self-rated health and less nutrition knowledge, be smokers, pay less attention to their health and not prioritize their own healthy eating when busy looking after their family.6

Thus, it seems our parents were right—given how closely it is linked to involvement in physical activity and to meeting daily nutrient needs, breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day. In order to take advantage of this age-old adage, encourage your patients and clients to start each day with a nutrient-rich, satisfying breakfast. Achieving a better state of health, including improvements in weight control, bone health and development of other healthful lifestyle habits, can be as simple as that.



  1. Corder K, van Sluijs EM, Ridgway CL, Steele RM, Prynne CJ, Stephen AM, Bamber DJ, Dunn VJ, Goodyer IM, Ekelund U. (2014). Breakfast consumption and physical activity in adolescents: daily associations and hourly patterns. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(2):361-368.
  2. Kuroda T, Onoe Y, Yoshikata R, Ohta H. (2013). Relationship between skipping breakfast and bone mineral density in young Japanese women. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 22(4):583-589.
  3. Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P. (2014). Timing of food intake and obesity: A novel association. Physiol Behav. Jan 24.
  4. Thivel D, Aucouturier J, Isacco L, Lazaar N, Ratel S, Doré E, Meyer M, Duché P. (2013). Are eating habits associated with physical fitness in primary school children? Eat Behav. 14(1):83-86.
  5. Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, Annino G, Guglielmi V, D’Adamo M, Iellamo F, Sbraccia P. (2014). Morning Meal More Efficient for Fat Loss in a 3-Month Lifestyle Intervention. J Am Coll Nutr. 8:1-8.
  6. Smith KJ, McNaughton SA, Cleland VJ, Crawford D, Ball K. (2013). Health, behavioral, cognitive, and social correlates of breakfast skipping among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. J Nutr. 143(11):1774-1784.

Brief Protein Research Round Up

Here’s what we’ve been reading here at ENC regarding protein the past couple of weeks! Check the articles out!

Protein/Macronutrient Composition
“Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise”  (Witard et al. Am J Clin Nutr. E-pub ahead of print)This randomized controlled trial in resistance-trained young men (N=48) showed that 20 and 40 g of whey protein isolate (WPI) consumed immediately after exercise increased myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis by ~50%, whereas no stimulation was observed with 10 g WPI.Both Dietary Protein and Fat Increase Postprandial Glucose Excursions in Children With Type 1 Diabetes, and the Effect Is Additive” (Smart et al. Diab Care. 2013;36:3897-3902)This randomized controlled crossover trial in children with type 1 diabetes (N=33) showed that breakfast meals containing 40 g protein or 35 g fat resulted in greater postprandial glucose excursions; the higher protein meal had a protective effect on the development of hypoglycemia. 

“Protein leverage and energy intake” (Gosby et al. Obes Rev. 2013;E-pub ahead of print)

This analysis of data collected from 38 published experimental trials measuring ad libitum intake in subjects confined to menus differing in macronutrient composition showed that percent dietary protein was negatively associated with total energy intake irrespective of whether carbohydrate or fat were the diluents of protein.

Tell us any interesting protein research that you have recently read.

Power Up on Protein for Muscle Health

rebecca-teal-150x150Today’s post is the second of a series of blogs from our friend Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS.

Twitter: @ScritchfieldRD

Disclosure from Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS: I was compensated by Egg Nutrition Center for my time in writing this blog post.

As a personal trainer and fitness expert, you know dietary protein intake directly influences muscle mass, strength and function in people of all ages. You do what you can in your client sessions to make sure they are eating right because you know the workout is only half the equation. How do you help your clients fuel well? You need to give them accurate advice they can implement quickly.

In this blog, my goal is to make it easy for you to bring the protein message to your clients by providing tips, resources, and research evidence. This way, you can get on with your job of motivating and coaching them through their workouts.

How much protein should I be eating?


The amount of protein a person needs depends on their activity level and goals. Newer research is showing that the average healthy adult should consume 25-30 grams of high-quality protein with each meal.(1) Protein helps maintain healthy bones and muscles, so it’s especially important that physically active people are getting adequate amounts throughout the day.(2)  Keep in mind that not all proteins are built alike and be sure to stress the importance of high-quality protein to your clients. High-quality proteins are easier for the body to utilize, they help you feel full and energized, they provide all the essential amino acids our bodies need to function optimally, and they may aid in weight loss. Animal products contain high-quality proteins and when combined with plant-based proteins, there is an overall boost in protein. Some foods that contain protein are eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, meat, fish as well as others such as quinoa, tofu and hemp seeds.


For most people, breakfasts are quick and on-the-go, which can make it difficult to hit the protein target. Whole eggs, which have 6 grams of quality protein (13% of the recommended Daily Value), are a great choice for breakfast. Research shows that eating eggs for breakfast, in comparison to higher carbohydrate alternatives, such as bagels, have helped overweight dieters lose 65% more weight and reduce their BMI by 61% more than those who chose the bagel.(3) Adequate protein intake at breakfast has also been shown to increase satiety throughout the day.  If your clients don’t have a few minutes to make eggs in the morning, encourage them to take hard boiled eggs on-the-go or even make scrambled eggs the night before and reheat for a few minutes the next morning.

better-breakfast-150x150 Download the “better breakfast protein” infographic for more facts and breakfast comparisons. Feel free to share this with your clients or post it to your website.

Besides protein, emphasize balance to your clients. Carbohydrates and fats are also important nutrients to fuel our lives. These main dish recipesfrom Incredible Eggs are delicious, easy, and balanced in nutrients.

Should I be eating protein before and/or after a workout?

High-quality protein is not only important in each meal, but it’s also an essential part of fueling before and recovering from a workout. (2) Let your clients know that high-quality proteins should be incorporated into their pre-fuel and recovery meals and snacks.

I recommend whole eggs plus a source of carbohydrates. For morning workouts, eggs with an English muffin or corn tortilla will do the trick. For evening workouts, I’d suggest a burrito with eggs, beans, and veggies. These options work for both pre-fuel and recovery. Other food ideas include homemade cinnamon French toast sticks, oatmeal with Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese with fruit.

Clients always want to know “how much should I eat?” The volume of food depends on

the person’s total daily energy needs. In general, bigger portions for more active people with more muscle mass. A good “rule of thumb” is that your clients should eat their three balanced meals, pre-fuel and recovery. If they get hungry outside of those meals, they may need an additional snack, or they may need to increase the portion size of meals.

Aren’t egg whites a good source of protein?


It’s a common myth that eating just the egg white is the best way to get all of an eggs protein and none of its fat. Actually, about half of an eggs high-quality protein is found in the yolk – in fact, whole eggs offer such high-quality protein that they are the “gold standard” to which scientists compare other quality proteins. Yolks also have other nutrients like choline, Vitamin D, and antioxidants. And each one adds only 55 calories and 4.5 grams of fats, over half of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Encourage your clients to eat the whole egg, including the yolk.

What about protein powders and shakes — do those provide quality protein to fuel my workouts?

I’m sure that a lot of your clients have questions about protein supplements. Whenever one of my clients wants to know about the different options available, I make it a point to educate them on the pros and cons. It’s a common curiosity among my clients if the supplements offer an “edge”. First, I always tell them that whole foods are better. Choose food first. Second, it’s important that any supplement have a specific beneficial purpose and nutrition need. Convenience is one of the big alluring factors of protein supplements. Try working with them to emphasize convenient, portable real foods that deliver protein and carbohydrates and minimize the use of protein supplements. Remind them that whole foods have additional nutritional benefits such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that supplements lack.

The downfall of supplements is that they are not regulated by the government for quality, purity, and safety. I always recommend choosing a producer that you can really trust – look for a company with a long history of good products and provides the nutrients in the most natural form possible. Avoid any “funny business” ingredients.


(1)  Layman D, Rodriquez N. Egg protein as a source of power, strength, and energy. Food Science. 2009; 44(1):43-48.

(2)  Layman D and Rodriquez N. Egg Protein as a source of power, strength and energy. Nutrition Today 2009; 44(1):  43-7.

(3)  Ratliff, J., Leite, J.O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M.J., VanHeest, J., Fernandez, M.L. (2010) Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30, 96-103.

Fueling Your Workouts with Breakfast

Today’s post is written by one of ENC’s Health Professional Advisors, Dr. Jason Karp. Dr. Karp is a nationally recognized running coach, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and owner of He holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. He writes for international running, coaching, and fitness magazines, is the author of five books, including Running an Marathon for Dummies, and is a frequent speaker at national fitness and coaching conferences.


Every day when I get out of bed, I’m hungry. I can’t wait to eat breakfast. Although a recent study questions the research around breakfast consumption, it is still one of the most important meals to me as a runner and as a personal trainer who trains others to run at their full potential. Clients ask me all the time, “If I exercise first thing in the morning before I eat breakfast, will I burn more fat?” While it’s true that muscles are forced to rely on fat when blood glucose is low, as it is when you first get out of bed, exercising when blood glucose is low decreases exercise intensity, resulting in less calories burned. I do recommend that my clients eat before they run in the morning, so that they can have a more productive workout.

To wrap up National Better Breakfast Month, here are my tips on what to eat to help fuel your morning workouts:

  • Eat 200 to 300 calories 1½ to 2 hours before exercise.
  • Pre-workout meal should include carbohydrates and protein, like a half bagel with peanut butter. A hard-boiled egg is a great source of easily-digestible protein.
  • If you exercise soon after getting out of bed and don’t have two hours before your workout, consume just 100 to 200 calories, like a nutrition bar, a banana, and a sports drink.
  • Limit the fat content of your breakfast. Fat takes longer to digest, so the carbohydrates and protein in your meal take longer to be absorbed into your blood, where it’s used for energy.
  • Avoid fiber. Fiber makes you go to the bathroom, which can make your workout very uncomfortable if you have no place to stop.

Importance of Protein for Post-Exercise Snacks


Today’s post is written by one of ENC’s Health Professional Advisors, Dr. Jason Karp. Dr. Karp is a nationally recognized running coach, 2011 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and owner of He holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. He writes for international running, coaching, and fitness magazines, is the author of five books, including 101 Winning Racing Strategies for Runners and Running for Women, and is a frequent speaker at national fitness and coaching conferences.

The most important aspect of optimal recovery from hard workouts is refueling nutrient-depleted muscles. Refueling after workouts is important for several reasons, including the replenishment of fuel stores and the repair of cellular damage.

Following a hard or long workout, protein is used to repair the cellular damage that is a normal consequence of the workout and to synthesize new protein that subsequently improves cellular function. Repeated workouts lead to a concerted accumulation of structural and functional proteins. With endurance training, this accumulation of proteins is manifested as an increase in the number of mitochondria and aerobic enzymes, which enhances your aerobic fitness. With strength training, the accumulation of proteins is manifested as an increase in the number of contractile proteins that make the muscle stronger.


Consuming 20 to 30 grams of complete protein that contain all of the essential amino acids after workouts can be an effective strategy for achieving this. Good sources of protein are eggs, tuna, milk, cheese and lean meats. Some studies have found that consuming protein and carbohydrates together also maximizes muscle glycogen storage (which is also needed for recovery), although this doesn’t seem to be the case when an adequate amount of carbohydrates is ingested. The total amount of calories consumed seems to be more important for glycogen resynthesis than the carbohydrate-protein mix. Because the body absorbs nutrients from fluids more quickly than from solid foods, one strategy is to consume protein from fluids  after first finishing a workout, then eating a meal later. Chocolate milk, which is high in protein (as well as carbohydrate), is a great post-workout recovery drink!