Optimize your summer activity game with these energy-boosting combos
With summer in full force, there’s plenty of fun to be had outside, and no, we’re not just talking about your endless pursuit of Pokémon. Besides, before there were augmented reality apps forcing us to go out and, you know, do something, there were the good old-fashioned summer outdoor standbys.The balmy weather means camping (or glamping), hiking, surfing, and swimming are all fair game. But what about really being ready for these most enterprises? Sure, sunscreen’s super important and so is the gear, but none of that matters if you don’t have the right foundation.
We caught up with Eric Cobb, a fitness manager at Equinox in New York City, for some foolproof breakfasts to fuel your summer fun broken down by activity, because, let’s face it, not all breakfasts are created equal. A hastily-grabbed Pop-Tart is not the same thing as a well-balanced meal with a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat. “You need nutrients to make your body work correctly,” Cobb says. “The last thing you want is to be a Debbie Downer by not having enough energy to keep up.”
The rundown: Provided you’re not planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail anytime soon, you have the luxury of getting your requisite protein, carbs, and fat from something that doesn’t come dehydrated and/or in a can. Higher-fat items like avocado are powerhouses, offering slow-burning fat that keep you going strong.
Ideal breakfast: Before you hit the trail, start with a few hard boiled eggs, some whole wheat toast with peanut butter, a side of avocado with sea salt, and a piece of fruit, like an orange or a nectarine.
The rundown: For a day at the beach, you don’t need a BA+C or anything else heavy since you’ll probably just be lazing about under an umbrella most of the day versus training a la Michael Phelps. Cobb recommends something light, plus an arsenal of snacks and coconut water to stay hydrated in the hot sun.
Ideal breakfast: Keep your carbs to a minimum (so, no cereal) and take a leaf out of SoCal’s breakfast scene. Avocado toast is the name of the game here, and if you want a little variation, add a side of Greek yogurt with a little honey, grapes, and strawberries. “It’s fancy, fresh, and Instagram friendly,” Cobb says.
The rundown: Surfing is one of those “hurry up and wait” activities. You’re floating on your board for long swathes of time until you’re not, and then it’s pedal to the medal. “When a wave’s coming and you need to snap up on that board, that’ll help you with that quick burst of energy,” he says. Upsettingly, this doesn’t mean donuts.
Ideal breakfast: Try a bowl of oatmeal with pecans, almonds, and blueberries with a touch of agave for sweetness. For protein and even more carbs, make a modified bagel and lox subbing out sprouted bread for a bagel.
The rundown: Even if you don’t have high-flying dreams to emulate the Williams sisters on the court, you’re going to want a solid meal before the first serve. “Tennis is a pretty strenuous sport, it’s kind of like soccer in that you’re stopping and starting,” Cobb says. “You’ve need quick bursts of energy to get around the court, but you need to use a lot of power to swing the racket.”
Ideal breakfast: Something with the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fruit is your best bet for this full-body workout. Try a three-egg omelet (and use only the whites if you want to be extra heart healthy) with spinach, tomato, and feta cheese. Add a side of greens with a splash of olive oil, and sea salt and pair it with wheat toast with a low-sugar fruit preserve. That way, you’ve got a heart-healthy start to your day with energy to burn. Game, set, match.
The rundown: This is one of those difficult, energy-sucking sports masquerading as a hobby. But if you don’t plan ahead, your energy will be sapped faster than you can yell, “AO River!” The answer? Carbs, and lots of them. “If you’re going to be paddling all day, they’re exactly what you need to keep your energy up,” Cobb says.
Ideal breakfast: A bran muffin (Cobb emphasizes that a chocolate chip muffin or any other muffin even vaguely resembling dessert won’t float), Greek yogurt with strawberries and blueberries Make sure to bring extra electrolytes—try coconut water or the even trendier, somewhat redundant watermelon water—to stay hydrated; for a healthy snack, bring some pistachios, almonds, and dried cranberries to replenish your energy. “But stay away from peanuts,” Cobb warns. “They’re too dehydrating.”
The rundown: Volleyball’s a little less active than tennis in the sense that you’ll probably have at least one other teammate.
Ideal breakfast: Again, you want a breakfast heavy in carbs for the energy you’ll need. Cobb likes a fiber-heavy cereal like Raisin Bran (“But be careful—it makes you crap your pants all day!”), either with regular milk, almond, or coconut. On your way to the game, sip on a smoothie made of ice, Greek yogurt, almond butter, banana, and dates. It won’t land you in the Olympics, but it’ll definitely make you a good sport.