Talk to most trainers, and it seems they are up at the crack of dawn, work all day with clients, work out themselves, and then often have business, family, friends and personal matters to address. It’s a lot, and they check every item off their list with energy to spare.
What gives them that go-go-go pep? It turns out it’s combination of drive and the right foods, starting with a nutritious breakfast. We asked personal trainers to share the recipe for their go-to morning meals.
From eggs to oats to pancakes and the requisite smoothie, here are eight trainer-endorsed recipes to fuel your day — and your muscles.
EGGS OVER VEGGIE HASH
This breakfast, from Maria Macsay, a yoga teacher and instructor at 305 Fitness and SLT in New York City, puts bars and smoothies to shame. “I love this simple, yet nutritious, meal post-workout because it’s the perfect balance of protein, fiber, healthy fats and carbs, which supports repair of muscle tissue and replenishes the body’s energy supply. I always feel satiated, nourished and light after this meal,” she says.
4–5 sliced Brussels sprouts
Sliced fennel, as desired
1/2 cup cooked sweet potato, cubed
4 chopped kale leaves
Himalayan sea salt
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1–2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Warm coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, kale and a pinch of salt. Continue to sauté until vegetables are soft and a fork easily pierces the sprouts.
In a separate pan, cook eggs over-easy or over-medium, based on your preference.
Plate vegetables. Top with olive oil, eggs and nutritional yeast. Recipe makes 1 serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 470; Total Fat: 23g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 10g; Cholesterol: 370mg; Sodium: 316mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 14g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 27g
LOADED SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH AVOCADO & ROASTED POTATOES
Eggs are a classic breakfast, and who can say no to avocado? “I’m always on the move and start my mornings early, so my go-to healthy breakfast needs to be something quick and easy to whip up,” says Lita Lewis, founder of Thick Athletics Apparel and U by Kotex FITNESS partner. “This is one of my faves. What I love most about this recipe is how delicious it tastes. Not only does it fuel me with the energy I need to take on my day, it also leaves me feeling fully satisfied.” Lewis likes to serve her scramble with roasted potatoes (she makes them ahead of time so it’s just heat and eat) and half a fresh avocado.
1 egg white
Ground black pepper
1 handful baby spinach
Spring onions, to taste
Cilantro, to taste
Halved cherry tomatoes, to taste
1 dash paprika
Optional: roasted potatoes, avocado
Scramble eggs, egg whites and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Add to a frying pan with spinach, spring onions, cilantro and tomatoes. Cook to desired doneness. Serve topped with additional spring onions, cilantro and paprika. Recipe makes 1 serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 200; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 370mg; Sodium: 251mg; Carbohydrate: 9g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 18g
Take your omelet on the go by turning it into egg muffins, like these from the S.O.S. Food Plan by Ashley Borden, master trainer, lifestyle consultant and author. “I can easily eat these post-workout or, when I’m working early, just grab two and go,” she says. “The colorful veggies have antioxidants, and I usually top them with sliced avocado for more sustained energy and hot sauce.”
2 tablespoons water
8 ounces any lean meat
2 cups chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, red bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus and/or onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 dash garlic powder
1 dash paprika
Preheat oven to 450°F and line a muffin pan with eight paper liners. Beat all ingredients together in a bowl. Divide among muffin cups and cook 18–20 minutes until set. Makes 4 servings at 2 muffins each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 219; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 405mg; Sodium: 348mg; Carbohydrate: 0g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 24g
ENERGY-BOOSTING BREAKFAST COMBO
Eggs or oatmeal? Why not both, says Instagram fitness star Anna Victoria. “My favorite homemade breakfast is a veggie omelet and berry cinnamon oatmeal,” she says. “It’s quick and easy to make, it gives you energy to start off your day on the right foot, and it’s a macro-balanced, whole-food meal.” Try finding that at a fast-food joint or coffee shop.
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1 dash of pink Himalayan salt
Pepper, to taste
2–3 cherry tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons bell peppers, chopped
Heat oil in a cooking pan over medium-low heat, tilting the pan to spread oil. While the pan is heating, crack eggs and egg whites in a bowl and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add tomato and pepper to the pan and sauté or 1–2 minutes. Pour eggs into the pan and let sit for 1–2 minutes. Once it is nearly cooked, use a spatula to flip one side of the omelet onto the other side. Let cook for 1 additional minute.
1/3 cup oats
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 handful mixed raspberries and blueberries
Cinnamon, to taste
Mix oats and coconut milk in a bowl. Heat in the microwave per package directions. Top with raspberries, blueberries and cinnamon.
Recipe makes 1 serving at one omelet and one bowl of oatmeal each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 357; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 370mg; Sodium: 473mg; Carbohydrate: 33g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 24g
BANANA PEANUT BUTTER OVERNIGHT OATS
Overnight oats are the solution for people who don’t want to do more than pour cereal and milk into a bowl in the morning. Simply combine all ingredients in a bowl the night before, pop in the fridge, and you can grab and eat in the morning. This recipe from Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, cofounders of Tone It Up, is delicious, too. “Peanut butter and bananas … what’s not to love? Plus, the fiber in the oats helps slowly release glucose into your body for steady energy levels,” they say. Pack it in a mason jar so you can take it to the office if you’re in a rush.
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons peanut butter
4 teaspoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla Tone It Up Protein
1 banana, sliced
Combine everything in a bowl. Divide among two mason jars. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Recipe makes 2 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 352; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 235mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 17g
SIMPE APPLE PANCAKES
Pancakes are one of those recipes that seems like it takes a long time, but actually comes together quickly. Try these tasty, no-sugar-added flapjacks from Cassey Ho, creator of POP Pilates and POPFLEX. “I love this breakfast because it’s not only delicious, it’s packed with protein and complex carbs to keep me full and energized throughout the morning,” she says.
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nut butter
1/2 small apple, spiraled or chopped
1 pinch of cinnamon, optional
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, applesauce, almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder. Heat a griddle or pan over medium-low heat and coat with cooking spray. Reduce to low heat. Using a small measuring cup, scoop batter to make two pancakes. Cook for 2–3 minutes per side, or until firm and cooked through. Top one pancake with nut butter and cinnamon, if using. Place the other pancake on top and add apples and more cinnamon. Recipe makes 1 serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 356; Total Fat: 19g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 370mg; Sodium: 226mg; Carbohydrate: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 20g
Green smoothies run the gamut, from sweet and fruity to grassy and kale-y. For those who prefer to mask the flavor of their greens, try this recipe from celebrity trainer, nutritionist and author Harley Pasternak. “It’s packed with protein and fiber, which helps make you full and stay full. Plus, if you’re not a huge fan of green veggies, it’s a delicious way to get in your greens without hardly tasting them,” he says.
2 cups spinach leaves, packed
1 ripe pear, unpeeled, cored and chopped
15 green or red grapes
3/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped avocado
1–2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water, skim milk or almond milk (if needed to get the blender going)
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smoothie reaches desired consistency. Recipe makes 1 serving.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 245; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 132mg; Carbohydrate: 39g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 24g; Protein: 20g
GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN PROTEIN PANCAKES
ModelFIT trainer Rahel Ghebremichael turns to protein pancakes when she needs to fuel for a busy morning of teaching and training clients. “Teff is a small, gluten-free grain that I grew up on and recently started incorporating into my non-traditional foods,” she says. It has protein, fiber and iron to support your muscles.
1/2 cup teff flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
2 teaspoons applesauce
3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk several times.
Combine chia seeds and water and let sit for 2–3 minutes until a gel forms. Combine with 1 tablespoon coconut oil, applesauce and almond milk.
Mix wet and dry ingredients.
Set a pan over medium-high heat and grease with remaining tablespoon coconut oil. When hot, ladle in pancake mix to desired size and cook about 3–4 minutes, until pancake begins to bubble. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes. Serve topped with maple syrup and fresh fruit as desired. Recipe makes 2 servings.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 300; Total Fat: 17g; Saturated Fat: 13g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 357mg; Carbohydrate: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 10g