Fitness Friday presents: The Breakfast Club

Robert Prezioso

I like to use 'I Can't Believe it's Not Butter' on my toast in the morning, because sometimes when I eat breakfast, I like to be incredulous. How was breakfast? Unbelievable! --Demetri Martin

I love breakfast.

I know there are plenty of cliches about breakfast being "the most important meal of the day" and blah, blah, blah, but the heck with that, I just love to chow down first thing in the morning. But the old days were rough, especially since I was a big kid. In eighth grade I was already 5'10" and weighed 165 pounds.

And all I had to get from my 7 a.m. wake-up call to sixth-period lunch was a bowl of Rice Krispies.

The Holland clan wasn't pulling in big numbers, so cheap cereal was all I had to work with. But cheap cereal beat no cereal, so I was glad to have it. I can still remember sitting in math class, trying to mask the sounds my stomach made as it longed for cafeteria food.

Remember the wails THE THING made at 2:25 of this awful scene? Yeah, sounded something like that.

The bottom line was this: I was unable to Snap, Crackle and Pop my way though class on just a bowl of toasted rice, so I had to get creative. Mama wasn't going to spend anything extra at the grocer and I had to make due with what I had around the house.

Didn't always result in the best combinations.

Deviled eggs from last weekend's barbecue? Sure, why the hell not. One day I ate an entire cooked chicken -- you know the kind they cook on the rotisserie at the supermarket -- and chased it with a bowl of Golden Grahams ... and didn't puke. But those were the exceptions, not the rule.

Usually, I would just crumble up some graham crackers and mix them into a Breyer's yogurt.

These days, I do the grocery shopping and my mom can stick it -- I'll buy whatever the fuck I want -- even if it's not on sale. Since I go to the gym before I start my day, I make it a point to eat a balanced breakfast, while keeping my portions small.

The last thing I need, is to be working my abs on a full stomach.

1 cup oatmeal medley
1/2 cup 1-percent cottage cheese
6 oz black coffee

Fats, carbs and protein all in one, with a little caffeine to help me get the ball rolling. I've been eating that for a couple of years now, but not because I have to, but rather because I want to. It tastes delicious and it makes me happy. It also helps me with my performance at the gym.

So imagine my apprehension when ViSalus called me to say they wanted to mess with my formula.

"I'm not having a shake for breakfast," was my first response. Some folks use their Vi-Shakes as meal replacements to lose weight, but I don't. I drink mine later in the day as a protein smoothie. "We don't want you to," was their response. "We want to you try our new cereal."

Da fuck?

Yup. ViSalus is now in the cereal business. I laughed when they first told me because let's face it, it's very difficult to get a cereal that tastes good AND is good for you. I had no desire to eat a bowl of rice cakes or choke down some soggy soy crisps.

But the numbers were impressive.

Serving size: 3/4 cup

Calories: 170
Fat: 3 g
Fiber: 5 g
Carbs: 21 g
Sugar: 3 g
Protein: 12

Yeah, 12 grams of protein, which makes a bowl of Vi-Crunch the perfect pre-workout cereal for all you early bird exercisers. I know some of you tough guys are rolling your eyes, "I don't eat soy protein, brah," but you won't find any here. Their protein blend is comprised of oat bran, whey protein, whey concentrate, brown rice protein and milk protein concentrate.

It's legit.

It's also wheat and gluten free, has no cholesterol, lactose or artificial sweeteners. Throw in the antioxidant benefits of rosemary and grapeseed extracts and you have a "super cereal." Certified kosher! I know, I know, none of that matters until you actually taste it.

So, how does it taste?

Well ... look, you know me by now and I'm not a bullshitter. This isn't a bowl of Lucky Charms. But as far as power cereals, you really can't find one better tasting than Vi-Crunch. Believe me, I've tried them all from when I used to shop at Whole Foods.

It tastes "good," and is something I would be okay eating every day. But without the wheat, you don't have that light, crispy crunch because the flakes are a bit heavier. That's what happens when you jam-pack them with nutrients and if you're a health-conscious eater, it's a worthy trade off.

But let's be clear, you need to be eating breakfast.

Some folks just aren't wired that way and that's a tough obstacle to get around. I have friends in my circle who don't eat in the morning, simply because they aren't hungry. That's like driving around on E and not worrying about getting gas until that little orange light comes on.

You know when the tank is low. Fill it up.

The prevailing wisdom is that your body is in fat-burning mode when you first wake up, and that eating food before a morning workout will keep your body from tapping into its reserves for energy. You want to burn the fat, not the breakfast. While that's true, we're not talking about eating at the Cheesecake Factory.

A light meal, enough to get you started, will not stop your metabolism from getting a turbo boost.

It also depends on your size, fitness level and how hard you exercise. I go like a maniac inside the gym, and I can't be passing out while military pressing a stack of plates, or when I hit the 20-minute mark on the StairMaster. A shot of O.J. or a small cup of black tea ain't gonna hack it.

I need a meal, preferable one with protein.

Right now I have plenty of options, including the Vi-Crunch cereal. But now I want to hear from you, my dear reader, about what you eat for breakfast. More importantly, why you eat it for breakfast. Any creative recipes, pics or ideas are greatly encouraged.

Speak up!

Fitness Friday is sponsored by ViSalus. Opinions expressed are solely of the author. For more information on the ViSalus V-Crunch cereal click here.

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