For health and fitness expert Jillian Michaels, a healthy breakfast is non-negotiable.  

“Skipping breakfast will leave you hungry, which will cause you to make poor food choices and overeat when you finally do eat,” she tells Mediaplanet. “And if you’re hitting the gym, your workout will suffer because you have no available blood sugar for energy, which can cause you to breakdown muscle as well.”

Studies show that starting your day with a healthy breakfast makes it easier to concentrate at work or school and may make you more productive than breakfast skippers. Michaels agrees: “When I haven’t eaten breakfast, I lack mental focus. Physically I feel like I’m wilting.”

Workout fuel

“Breakfast sets the tone for your day... I think that says it all.”

When it comes to working out, it’s important to have ample energy. However, eating too close to or too much before vigorous exercise can be a recipe for discomfort.

“What you have in your stomach right before you train can cause cramps and digestion issues. If you’re going to eat before you train, it needs to be something small,” Michaels urges. Before the gym, she opts for carbs and fat, such as an apple with almond butter.

Staying satisfied

After breakfast, Michaels recommends her 4x4 rule of eating every 4 hours with three solid meals and one snack between lunch and dinner. This regimen stabilizes blood sugar, optimizes insulin production and manages hunger. She also advises avoiding foods with misleading labels like “natural” and “fat-free.” “If you’re in a hurry to eat something, go for something that isn’t full of chemicals.”

Known to many as “America’s Toughest Trainer,” Michaels recently launched a new app, My Fitness, where users can take part in fully interactive, customized daily workouts. She hopes the app inspires users to take control of their health and well being. “Being physically strong really does transcend into every facet of life and improves sleep, self-esteem and energy levels,” she states.

And while health and wellness are always top-of-mind, even Michaels knows the importance of the occasional indulgence. Her favorite breakfast? A ricotta berry toast, prepared with low-fat Greek yogurt, blackberries and honey.

“Breakfast sets the tone for your day,” she concludes. “I think that says it all.”