Three main nutrition focus points to assure healthy, safe, and fun workouts every time!
1. Make well rounded nutrition choices. Provide your body with lots of variety in order to take advantage of the widest range of beneficial nutrients possible, and to improve energy levels.
Carbohydrates – want half of every plate to be made up of fruits and vegetables, and a quarter of the plate to be from grains.
Protein – have a quarter of every plate come from lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts, or tofu. Spread protein intake out evenly among your meals for your body to use it most efficiently. Aim for 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Fat – Decrease inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and decrease blood pressure by choosing fats high in Omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. This includes fish, flaxseed, walnuts, olives/olive oil, and avocados, to list the main sources.
Dairy products are a source of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Include it in your diet as tolerated.
Avoid to many gassy/FODMAP foods before runs or as tolerated (beans, garlic, onions, cauliflower, corn, bran cereals, sugar alcohols-in most chewing gums, alcohol). If you suffer with IBS, see triplebraided.com for a complete list of FODMAPs and additional information for managing symptoms. Nutrition consultation recommended.
2. Proper Hydration.
You want to be drinking water throughout the day, every day!
Aim to drink 1 oz. water per kg body weight (or divide your weight in pounds in half for ounces of water to consume), with a few addendums:
Add 8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Look for pale yellow urine output as a good indicator that your fluid intake is on target, and adjust accordingly.
3. Timing of Meals.
The first 30 minutes following every training session is the MOST important window to refuel for optimal recovery! This is when your cells will be most receptive to restocking glycogen stores, and your muscles are hungry for fuel to repair tissues.
Refueling properly will enhance future performance, decrease soreness, decrease risk of injury, and improve immune function! Refuel with carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, grains, fruit, juices) as well as a good protein source that also provides high amounts of Branch Chain Amino Acids (isoleucine, leucine, and valine) such as egg whites, lean meats, fish, and dairy. Chocolate milk or a fruit smoothie are a couple easy options!
Eat before your runs as tolerated. In general, within one hour before a run stick to a carbohydrate source for energy while avoiding stomach upset. If you have 3 or more hours, then have a well rounded meal that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
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