Not sure how to fuel your body while training for an upcoming race? Confused
and overwhelmed by conflicting information online?
Here are 5 Simple Nutrition Tips that will hopefully help you navigate through the clutter and arrive at race day feeling your best!
- Breakfast. Not hungry in the morning? Often times too many late-night calories are to blame for not having an appetite in the morning. A balanced breakfast of both carbohydrates and protein make for a healthy diet that’ll keep you fueled for the day and your next workout! Granola and Greek yogurt, toast and eggs or oatmeal and milk are simple, and quick breakfast go-tos!
- Carbohydrates. A low carb-diet is risky when it comes to training for an endurance event such as a marathon or triathlon. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose to then fuel your muscles and brain. Instead of reducing your carbohydrate intake, focus on consuming minimally processed carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains.
- Protein. Protein helps to build and repair muscle. Although, you can’t build muscle by simply consuming protein. Resistance exercises and lifting weights build muscle – not consuming exorbitant amounts of protein. Your body can only absorb about 20 – 25 grams a protein at one time, so anything extra is burned for energy or stored as fat or glycogen.
- Pre and Post Workout Fuel. Keep it simple. Train your gut to tolerate pre-workout fuel. Everyone is different, there is not a perfect food combination. Through trial and error see what works for you. A carbohydrate rich boost of about 2 calories of carbohydrate per pound body weight is the standard recommendation. Simple early morning meal ideas include oatmeal, fruit, or a 16oz energy drink. When it comes to post workout fuel, it is a good idea to restore those muscles as soon as possible. A high protein snack along with carbohydrates is the best choice. Sports drinks, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, and energy bars are great options!
- Fuel During Your Workout. A sixty-minute workout most often doesn’t require additional fuel. However, if you are headed out for example on a two hour ride, aim to consume approximately 200 calories per hour, and at least 100 calories per hour while out on a run. Ideally you are consuming a variety of foods and fluids, so you are absorbing different types of carbohydrates (e.g. sucrose, fructose and glucose), increasing your body’s absorption rate. Sports drinks, gels, bars and candies all make for great fuel during a workout. Train your gut to tolerate your fuel. Of course, do nothing for the first time on race day!
Lisa James MS, RDN