Ashton Eaton. The Nike-sponsored decathlete, and one of the most recognizable names in the sport of track & field, has been called the "World's Greatest Athlete"—and we're certainly not debating it.
The decathlon is arguably the toughest Olympic sport, casting a near-implausible challenge on those who compete and excel in (not all, but most of) the 10 events. During the first day, an athlete completes the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-meter run; and the 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500-meter run in the second day.
Just think about how wildly different the skills, muscles, and body type of a guy running the mile is from a shot putter. Now think about how fatigued you'd be after day one of competition, and how difficult it must be to keep your body warmed up, firing on all cylinders, and fueled for the mother of all track and field events.
Last year, Eaton became the world record holder and first man to break the 9,000-point barrier with a score of 9,045 in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. The remarkable accomplishment spanned over two 15-hour days. Yet of these 30-some odd hours, Eaton only competed for about 10 minutes. “It's not just running down a runway for ten seconds and jumping for five seconds and throwing the shot put,” Eaton’s coach Harry Marra said in a press release. Bottom line: What happens off the track is just as important as what happens on it.
And just this past weekend, he won the decathlon in the USA Track & Field Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon at the historic Hayward Field with a score of 8,750 (325 more than second-place runner-up Jeremy Taiwo). He coasted through the track events and struggled just a bit with the discus throw and pole vault, but came out on top to win or tie five of the total events.
So, what does one of the world's most accomplished, multidimensional, and impressive athletes of our time eat for breakfast before grueling training sessions? We've got the exact two meals that power Eaton through his workouts. As for major events like the Olympics? Eaton will eat both breakfasts (or just Breakfast 1).
Obviously you won't need to eat both Breakfast 1 and 2 if you're running 3 miles or logging a 45-minute workout. Eat either—or choose foods from either—and dig in. These are literally the breakfasts of a champion, after all.
Eaton has two fried eggs—morning- and muscle-friendly—to kickstart his day. The "perfect protein" has essential amino acids to get your body primed and functioning properly, plus healthy fats and vitamin B12.
He also eats two pieces of pork sausage for breakfast. Opt for 96% lean pork sausage. It's flavorful, but doesn't make a huge dent in your macros for the day. One serving comes in at 121 calories, 21g protein, and 4g fat.
Eaton toasts two slices of whole wheat or sprouted bread, which are loaded with fiber. If you're not familiar with sprouted bread, it just means water's been added to already grown grains in order to release their energy and mazimize nutrition since they're at their peak, nutritionally speaking. The process also makes it easier for your body to absorb the grains' nutrients, like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc.
Eaton smears 1 tbsp of almond butter on his whole wheat/sprouted toast. The nut spread is decadent and super satisfying; plus, it has more calcium and fiber than peanut butter—for roughly the same number of calories.
To the Greek yogurt, Eaton adds muesli, which is typically packaged as a loose mixture of rolled oats (sometimes with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds). It's nutrient-dense thanks to the fiber and protein, and can help provide lasting energy.
Eaton sometimes throws some almonds into the yogurt mixture: The nuts contain magnesium, necessary for proper muscle function, B-vitamins like niacin, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin which help convert food to energy, and a nice source of protein.
Goji berries probably aren't in your everyday diet, but they're loaded with antioxidants and minerals like copper, iron, zinc, calcium, germanium, phosphorus, and selenium. Dried goji berries are a little tangy and sweet, and have the same chew as raisins. They'll add some sweetness to your yogurt.
Eaton sometimes adds dried golden berries into the mix. A bit tart and sweet, think of these as an elevated raisin. Golden berries are an incredibly nutrient-dense superfood with compounds your body can easily absorb, such as linoleic and oleic acid, and essential fatty acids that aid in insulin sensitivity and fat oxidation.
Black coffee can replace most of your chemical- and sugar-laden energy drinks. The caffeine gives you the jolt you need; skip the additional milk and sugar. Eaton will drink coffee during competitions as well as during breakfast.
Naturally Eaton needs to drink water, constantly, to keep his muscles, cells, and overall body hydrated. This is especially important in warmer training sessions and events where heat exhaustion and dehydration are at a higher risk.