Eat to Run
Is it possible to change what we eat to run better? What are you putting in your body and is it the right fuel for what you want to do? I know that I focus a lot of my articles and pages on counting calories, but are all calories created equal? Is there such a thing as high-powered nutrition? And, if so, how do we harness it?
Whether you’re a runner, starting to exercise, or just trying to lose a few pounds, the nutrition tips below could give your routine a boost:
- Nutrition Tip #1: Good calories vs. Bad calories
The body is more likely to burn calories eaten as carbohydrates and store the calories consumed in fats. Fat calories promote fat storage. Want to lose fat? Start with the foods that you eat!
- Nutrition Tip #2: A spoonful of sugar makes the scale go up!
No offense to the infallible Mary Poppins, but sugar can wreak some havoc on our metabolism and stymie our weight loss progress. How? Aside from the fact that most sugary foods are also high in fat (cake, cookies, ice cream, etc..), sugar will also promote the overproduction of insulin which is a reaction that can stimulate fat production. We need to watch what we eat to run faster and avoiding sugar is a key first step!
- Nutrition Tip #3: Get your Energy from Complex Carbs!:
Like calories, not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbohydrates are derived from plants and are loaded with nutrients. They also are usually high in dietary fiber which has many health benefits, in addition to making you feel full on far fewer calories. Complex carbs are made up of 3 or more glucose molecules – the fuel you need to perform at top speed!
- Nutrition Tip #4: The weight-loss roller coaster:
Weight loss can come in ebbs and flows and sometimes seem to come to a complete stop! Why? When we initially lose weight, we burn a lot of organ-stored glycogen and the water that supports it. Often times, the initial weight loss can be almost 70% water. As we continue on, our bodies get leaner and our calorie needs decrease (BMR goes down). This is no reason for alarm, but to keep up the weight loss, we might need to rock the boat a bit. When I plateau, I change my calorie deficit goal to 500+ calories. In other words, I increase my exercise and decrease my intake in an attempt to ignite my metabolism and get to a lower set-point for body weight. After a week or so of increased effort, you’ll likely see another steep weight loss…and so the roller-coaster ride goes.
The foods that we eat can propel us to our goals, or hold us back. We need not eliminate our favorite foods or eat tree bark to reap the rewards. By adding some good habits and curbing some not so good habits, we can add quite a boost to our fitness and performance level. For more guidance, check out the pages on Nutrition 101…whether you run to eat or eat to run!!
You can find this article and other motivational fitness information in the February 2008 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.
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