What 10 Philly Fitness Pros Eat for Breakfast



I love breakfast—a lot. Like, I could eat breakfast food for every meal and still crave eggs and banana pancakes. But on those mornings (read: every morning) when I hit snooze one too many times, cooking a complete breakfast just isn’t always possible. Usually, my breakfast ends up being me shoving fruit into my face and a granola bar into my bag as I run out the door. Not exactly glamorous.

So I asked 10 Philly fitness pros what they do for breakfast, hoping to gain some inspiration to get up earlier and upgrade my favorite meal, fast. But instead of walking away with a hundred crazy recipes to try, I learned something far more practical: breakfast doesn’t have to take forever to make. In fact, almost everyone I talked to either preps their breakfast the night before or puts something together in just a few minutes in the morning. So I can ditch the granola bars and still hit snooze. It’s a win-win. 

Here’s what the pros had to say:

Emily Rockrock, instructor, Flywheel Philadelphia

“I am a big fan of no-cook overnight oats for breakfast. They’re super filling and you can customize them for a new flavor combo every day. I start with a 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats and one or two tablespoons of some nut butter. My favorite things to add are berries or homemade jam, chia seeds, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla. I finish the whole thing off with enough almond milk to thin it out. Throw it in the fridge overnight to soften and “cook” the oats. Yum!”

Brian Maher, owner, Philly Personal Training

“I’ll usually have two breakfasts during the week—it’s the most important meal of the day, so why not have two? I generally wake up at 4:45 and eat Greek yogurt, fruit, and maybe a protein shake. The fruit gives me plenty of energy that I definitely need at that time in the morning. When I return home later in the morning, I’ll usually eat a bigger breakfast consisting of eggs, peanut butter on whole wheat toast, some fruit, and a protein shake if I hadn’t had one already. Breakfast is my favorite meal so I look for any excuse to eat it more than once per day.”

Suzanne Allaire, co-leader, November Project Philadelphia

“I usually have a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, a piece of fruit, and a cup of black coffee. That’s all this gal needs to get set for the day!”

Perry O’Hearn, owner, Philly Phitness

“I mold my breakfast to accommodate my crazy work schedule, which typically starts around 4:45 a.m. and doesn’t end until around 10 p.m. If I eat before the sun rises, it’s typically something light, usually just fruit and nuts. I don’t drink coffee so the sugar helps wake me up. Believe it or not, I am NOT a morning person.

“Around 10 or 11 a.m. is when I have my ‘proper’ breakfast, which is a little heavier. It’s either a combination of veggies, eggs, oatmeal and some peanut butter or I go straight to having an early lunch which is a pile of chicken, rice, veggies, and some more fruit.”

Jon Lyons, founder, RUN215

“I eat an obscene amount of avocados. (I even have an avocado tattoo on my arm.) So most mornings I have avocado on a piece of toast, apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, sometimes eggs or grapefruit, and a cup of coffee.”

Shoshana Katz, general manager, Body Cycle Studio

“I LOVE breakfast. If you are in a bit of a hurry but have time to toast some Ezikiel bread—I like to do the cinnamon raisin Ezikiel bread—and top it with a tablespoon of chunky peanut butter with sliced banana on top. It’s super delicious and something you can carry out the door.”

Juliet Sabella, owner, The Wall Cycling Studio

“My favorite five-minute breakfast of all time is a red-velvet protein pancake. Take a scoop of red-velvet cake protein powder and mash up half a banana in it, then mix with 1/8 cup of egg whites until it’s the consistency of pancake batter. Cook until golden on each side and enjoy!”

“When I have no time at all I go for Quest Bars. They’re amazing and there’s not an ounce of crap in them. Plus, they have 20 grams of protein and most are under 200 calories.”

Gina Mancuso, owner, CoreFitness

“Eating well in the morning is tough because most of us are rushing out the door. My easy way out is to think outside the (cereal) box: I have dinner for breakfast. A great dinner turned morning meal is grilled or baked sweet potatoes with chicken. Add salsa and/or a few slices of avocado, toss it all in a to go cup, and it’s an easy meal that travels well and tastes great cold.”

Paige Chapman, owner, Mama’s Wellness Joint

“I love breakfast but if I don’t have the morning off, I usually keep it pretty light. Most days I start off with Earl Grey tea with raw honey from Stockin’s Apiaries, a small glass of raw milk from Wholesome Dairy Farms, and a piece of sourdough toast from Slowrise Bakery. The sourdough bread is fermented and easily digested; the raw honey and milk are filled with natural vitamins, protein, and antioxidants.”

Juliet Burgh, vice president and nutrition director, Unite Fitness

“I make protein pudding every morning. In a bowl I mix a scoop of chocolate PlantFusion protein powder with 1/2 cup almond milk, and I add in frozen berries, almond butter and sprinkle crunched up cinnamon currant Flackers (crackers made of flax seeds) on top. So yummy!”

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: