Found: A Functional Medicine Doc's Go-To Workout (& Breakfast) For Lean Muscle
So you want to start a strength training routine. Great! But you're also not sure how to fit a brand-new workout regimen into your already jam-packed schedule. You've got things to do, people to see, and maybe you have kids, pets, or other responsibilities that eat into your movement time.
Gabrielle Lyon, D.O., has you covered. The functional medicine doctor, entrepreneur, author, and busy mom recently shared her go-to morning workout for building lean muscle on the mindbodygreen podcast, and as a bonus, she threw in her favorite high-protein breakfast staples, too. So enough chat—let's get into it!
A functional medicine doctor's morning workout routine
"I will try to get training in before the kids are awake," she explains. "On the days that I am taking them to school—which I do half of the week—I will try to train at 5 to 6 a.m." She personally prefers a morning workout, as it aligns best with her sleep schedule, but feel free to move based on your individual chronotype.
In terms of the actual routine, Lyon's favorite workouts tend to include kettlebells. "I will do some kind of kettlebell activity, whether it's a carry, swing, or a Turkish get-up. I will also do a push-press or some kind of squat with kettlebells," she says. "We also have a Bulgarian bag—sometimes I'll throw [it] over my shoulder—and we have various levels of kettlebells. I'll hold those, and I'll just walk around in the garage."
She doesn't specify exactly how many reps and sets, but make sure you train close to failure. Your muscles need to feel "fatigued" in order to grow, so if you are still able to perform 10 more reps with that same kettlebell, you might want to up the ante.
Now, for the cardio portion: "I will do some kind of sprint interval, whether it is on a treadmill or on an Assault [Air] Bike, to keep it really quick and effective," she shares. "I don't do long bouts of cardio." In fact, she says you can get your heart rate up by increasing the speed and intensity of your strength training reps—cardio doesn't always have to involve running and HIIT.
And what she eats for breakfast
Of course, to build lean muscle, Lyon also prioritizes protein. You can catch her whipping up a protein-rich breakfast every morning to reach a goal of at least 30 grams (though she aims for 40 if she can).
"Breakfast and your last meal of the day are the two most important meals," she notes. In the morning, she'll typically have some kind of egg dish, be it a scramble, omelet, or frittata.
Then "I'll have some kind of dairy product, believe it or not," she adds. Dairy often gets a bad rap, but if you can tolerate it, go right ahead. Lyon loves kefir in particular for the natural probiotics. "I also might have a protein shake," she notes, using a high-quality protein powder (find our favorite recs here).
Regardless of the specific recipe, she always prioritizes at least 30 grams of protein on her plate. "Today, I had a frittata with turkey. I got about 40 grams of protein," she notes. You can find more high-protein recipes here if you've hit a breakfast rut.
Looking for a new strength training routine to follow? Lyon's daily regimen is a great way to get started, then feel free to check out our full strength training guide once you have a baseline. Time to elevate your squat game.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.