Oats have been a staple of my diet for the last 2 years or so. Oat bread, mixed with eggs and scrambled, in smoothies/shakes and of course with whey for breakfast. They seem like a great post-workout meal or breakfast. But lately I’ve switched it up and seen some great results.
I’m always looking into new ways of improving my training and nutrition. Recently I’ve found myself training more often first thing in the morning. For me, it’s the best fit for my schedule and it really improves my mindset. Working out first thing in the morning focuses my mind, gives me a sense of accomplishment and (fortunately) for me, my workout is one of the toughest things I do in the day – so having it done and dusted early makes the day more enjoyable. So when I saw Phil Graham talking about a tip he gives his clients, I figured I’d give it a go!
Enter stage left – night time oats. Phil mentioned on his Instagram that he recommends oats before bed to his clients who train first thing. The reasoning behind it is that the oats help you sleep and the high carb content restores muscle glycogen – combined with BCAA’s pre-workout means you’ll have limited catabolic effect when training fasted.
So how do oats help you sleep? Well it’s not just oats – carbohydrates help improve the onset and quality of sleep through serotonin release. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which plays a major part in mood, happiness and anxiety. Essentially it increases in serotonin leads to better mood and a more relaxed state. Which is great for helping you sleep!
How I Implemented It
The implementation of this was fairly simple – eat some oats before bed! Nothing extravagant needed. I had 40g oats with 150ml Unsweetened Almond milk and a scoop of whey 30-60 minutes before bed. Then in the morning I had a dose of BCAA with my pre-workout about 30 minutes before hitting the gym. Simple.
What I think
In short – I’m a fan. As I said at the top of the post, oats have often been a staple in my diet for a while, so I didn’t need to tweak my plan to make it fit. I just moved them from morning to evening.
I like training in the morning – it just sets me up for a better day. The problem I have with my current plan however is that it’s quite taxing. So training fasted usually leads to less than optimal workouts (for me at least). Over the last 2 weeks or so since implementing the evening oats I’ve had great output in my morning workouts.
My lifts are progressively increasing, my recovery is good and I’m sleeping better at night. Now this could be a placebo effect, but it’s working so far , so I don’t see a need to change it!
Argument for Oats in the Morning?
But Ryan, I hear you cry, oats are a breakfast food! Well technically, anything is a breakfast food. Bacon, eggs, oats, fruit, toast, steak, turkey, left over pizza – I’ve eaten them all for breakfast. But the best breakfast food for you comes down to you. Personally I have never had an issue eating oats for breakfast – filling, good energy release and lovely on cold mornings. But everyone is different. We all react to foods differently – some people prefer higher fats or higher protein in the morning.
I’ve tried different macro variations first thing and experienced no real difference in how my body reacted. So try different combinations on your training and rest days and see what works for you!
Until next time,