cleanse 1260
30 Jan 2024

Fuel your morning like a pro athlete for immune strength and energy

4 mins to read
Explore morning routine components that can help fuel your body for immune strength and immunity, like pro-athletes do to help set up for peak performance.

Being a professional athlete requires utter dedication, commitment, strength, energy, and stamina, both mentally and physically. Their schedules can feel like one where they eat, train, sleep, and repeat. We can learn a lot from their rituals, routines, and training methods.

Here, we discuss components of a morning routine that can help fuel your body for immune strength and immunity, just like pro-athletes do to help set up a day of peak performance.

Breakfast of champions

As its name suggests, breakfast is a meal when you are breaking the overnight fast. Fuelling your body soon after you wake is important, particularly if you have exercise planned for the day, so there is enough and the right type of fuel for your body to work, just like an empty tank of fuel in a car needs to be filled for you to be able to drive it. Eating enough and the right food will make the difference in how much energy you have to train and how effectively you can train.

Training in the morning

If training in the morning, it’s best to consume a smaller meal instead of a heavy breakfast that will sit in the stomach while you train. The NSW Institute of Sport explains this can mean blood flow will move away from the stomach and can lead to indigestion. A small breakfast can consist of easily digested carbohydrates and low-fat options such as:

  • Honey on toast
  • Banana
  • Raisin toast
  • Rice crackers
  • Cruskits
  • Low fat yoghurt or milk
  • 100% juice (no added sugar)
  • Cereal

Training later in the day

If you will be training later in the day, the NSW Institute of Sport recommends a breakfast that is balanced across fibre, carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats to provide fuel to sustain your activities during the day. Carbohydrates are a great choice because they are the primary source of energy for our bodies. They may also help to improve performance, by preventing a drop in energy during the workout, which as UC Health describes happens when carbohydrate stores in the muscles are depleted.


While we need to limit saturated fats for heart health, better choices that can aid performance are foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as fish, avocado, nuts and vegetable oils.


Having protein in the diet is important for building and repairing muscle. Lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, and soy products are all great sources of protein. Examples of a balanced breakfast for those days you are not training first thing in the morning include:

  • Bowl of wholegrain cereal or porridge with milk or yogurt
  • Toast with lean protein such as egg, avocado and vegetables such as spinach, tomato and mushrooms
  • Smoothie with oats, fruit, milk, and yogurt
  • Yoghurt with fruit, nuts, and seeds
  • Toast with peanut butter and honey and a smoothie


When you exercise you will lose water through sweating, which needs to be replaced, to ensure regulation of body temperature and keep joints lubricated. If exercising in the heat, you may need more from a sports drink that contains extra sodium and potassium to replenish those lost electrolytes. Adding lemon juice to your morning water drink can hydrate you while providing immune support as the lemons are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant.

Foods to support the immune system

Foods that are high in antioxidants can help support the immune system by fighting free radicals, molecules that can damage cells. Such breakfast foods may include citrus fruits such as berries, papaya, kiwi fruit, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, and green tea. Avoid foods that are processed, as these are lower in nutrients and can negatively impact a healthy immune system.

A healthy digestive system is also important for a healthy immune system. As Harvard University explains, the gut is a major site of immune activity. What we eat determines what kind of microbes live in our intestines and the health of our gut. For example, Harvard reports that certain helpful microbes have been shown to stimulate immune cell activity.

Eating probiotic and prebiotic foods can be helpful. Harvard explains that probiotic foods contain live helpful bacteria, while prebiotic foods contain fibre and oligosaccharides that feed and maintain healthy colonies of those bacteria.

Suggested probiotic breakfast foods include yogurt and kombucha tea. Prebiotic choices for breakfast include bananas, although a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans and wholegrains should assist you with achieving your intake of dietary prebiotics.


Stretching can help reduce your risk of injury for later workouts. According to UC Health, it can help to improve limberness, posture, and circulation to help you move smoothly through your workouts. 

Engage in morning exercise

While exercise is beneficial at any time of the day, why not start the day with exercise? Even light exercise, such as stretching or walking, can bring physical benefits, such as bringing circulation to the body, but it also benefits the mind. Exercise produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain that elevate mood and provide calm. Exercise can also reduce levels of stress hormones in the body.

Morning mindfulness

Starting the day with practices such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can be a very helpful addition to your morning routine to build mental strength and resilience for the day. This can help improve your ability to manage stress, as stress can weaken the immune system. Many athletes have reported this has helped them to become present and train their minds to remain calm under pressure. Mindfulness can also help you to focus or control your attention on where you want it to be, such as on the ball you are hitting.





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