Posts Tagged by sports nutrition

Friday Feast: Fuel, It’s Not Just For Your Car

The proper fuel is important to get anything moving and this includes your body!  When you fuel your body with the right food, fluids and nutrients, you are giving it the ability to perform the tasks you need it to, strengthen muscles and maintain bone health.  This is even more important during exercise to ensure proper muscle recovery, reduce fatigue and regulate body temperature.

As I’ve mentioned, I recently attended a sports nutrition seminar by Dr. Kathy Dollins.  This was presented to my Team Challenge group, the running team for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  The presentation was incredibly helpful and I wanted to share a few bits of information that I found useful.

First let’s look at proper nutrition.  There are 6 main groups that lead to proper nutrition: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.  Which of these do you think is the most important?  I guessed water, but I was wrong.  In fact, they all are just as important and work together as a team to fuel your body!

These nutrients are ingested into your body in the form of calories and calories = energy.  Energy is what is needed to get you through those tough workouts and long runs, so you must consume enough calories prior to exercise.  Makes sense, right?  A lack of energy can result in not only a poor workout, but it can also lead to a loss of muscle mass, weakened bones, a decrease in your protein stores, fatigue, and an increased risk of injury and illness.  All things that runners do NOT want.

So what’s the trick to getting the right amount of energy?  Carbs.  Oh the dreaded carbs, they’ve gotten such a bad rap lately.  But really, they are a runner’s best friend.  Carbohydrates contain a molecule call glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver and is used as a source of fuel during exercise.  You know the old running term “carb-loading” right, well this refers to storing up enough glycogen to avoid depletion during a run.  When glycogen begins to deplete, you hit the proverbial wall and can be overcome by fatigue.  To avoid this, make sure to eat carbohydrates through out the day to keep your stores high.  Each meal should include at least one carbohydrate and before strenuous exercise, like races, make sure about 3/4 of your plate is filled with carb foods.  Just don’t forget to include the other 6 nutrients in there as well.

Mmmmm....carbs

I think the most important thing to remember here is to continue to fuel your body throughout the day.  Make sure to ALWAYS eat breakfast.  Mom didn’t tell you it’s the most important meal of the day for nothing!  Breakfast gets your metabolism going and helps to process all of those nutrients.  When you skip breakfast, you start the day in a negative balance and no one likes to be negative. 😉

Don’t forget that fuel also means hydration.  I posted earlier in the week about water and how to find out if you’re getting enough during your workout, but you also need to make sure fuel and hydrate within 3 hours of a workout to ensure optimal performance.  Now there are sports drinks, which provide hydration, fuel, electrolytes and carbohydrates, but these should be reserved for during and after a workout.  I personally don’t like sports drinks, but I’ve been reading a lot about their benefits so it’s something I need to explore more.

I hope this little sports nutrition 101 summary was helpful to getting you started in finding the proper nutritional balance for your workouts.  Nutrition and sports nutrition in particular are becoming more of an interest for me since it is something I’ve struggled with in my training.  I’m continuing to ingest (get it?!) as much information as I can, so hopefully I’ll be sharing more helpful hints in the future.

Do you have any fueling tips?  What do you eat throughout the day to get the proper exercise nutrition?

Are You Getting Enough Water?

Proper hydration is the key to productive exercise.  You should be drinking before, during and prior to any workout, especially during running training.  The amount of water needed during a run varies per person, but there is a way to find out how much you will need.  During a recent Sports Nutrition presentation I attended, Dr. Karen Dolins gave us this simple method.

Weigh yourself before and after your run, preferably naked 🙂  Seeing that 16 ounces of water equals 1 pound, the diference in you weight, plus whatever you drank on your run, is the amount you should be drinking on your runs.  This will obviously change depending on the length of your run, but it will give you a good baseline.

Here are some good hydration tips that I took away from the presentation:

  • All fluids provide hydration.
  • Fluid needs vary – drink enough so your urine is clear and regular.
  • Drink on to two cups of fluid 30 minutes before exercise.
  • Drink throughout your workout.
  • Replenish lost fluids after a workouts.
  • Sports drinks provide fuel, electrolytes, and tase in addition to fluid – this can be helpful in making sure you drink enough, stay hydrated, and maintain energy levels.

I know I struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day to stay, but I’m trying to create a schedule throughout the day so I can stay on track.  Do drink enough water?  What are your tricks to staying hydrated?

Friday Feast: Disney Post-Race Snacks

This is the first of my new Friday Feast series!  Every Friday I will be bringing you a food related topic, since food is one of my passions.  Here you’ll find restaurant reviews, sports nutrition, healthy recipes, and more!  I hope you enjoy!   

After both the Tangled Royal Family 5K and the Princess Half Marathon we were given a box of snacks.  It was funny to get a box that said “Your 13.1 mile royal quest was an inspiration to the entire kingdom” after finishing the 5K, but I guess Disney got a deal on the boxes. 😉

This was an interesting box of snacks and not exactly what I was expecting.  Let’s take a look inside, shall we?

Here we have some multi-seed crackers, hummus dip, dry roasted edamame, dried fruit & nut mix, and a small piece of dark chocolate.  Strange right?  In prior Disney races, I’ve received a bag with a bagel, a banana, some fruit chews and other more substantial goodies.  This was definitely lacking.

I really enjoyed the crackers, which were very flavorful and just salty enough.  I also liked the chocolate, but that’s kind of a no-brainer.  The rest of the box left something to be desired.  The hummus, which I tried on the crackers, had a very powerful sesame taste that I was not fond of.  Plus, when food items that are supposed to be refrigerated aren’t, it grosses me out a bit.  Edamame is not my favorite thing in the world in the first place and these were so hard they could break a tooth.  Not so good.  And last was the dried fruit and nut mix.  This was just alright.  I ended up just picking the almonds out of the bag because the raisins were insanely sweet and the peanuts were overly salty.

In the finish line tents, there were also piles of bananas (I took 3), fruit chews and Luna bars.  The Luna bar flavors were really good: Peanut Butter Cookie and Caramel Nut Brownie.  Yum!  I grabbed 2 of these, which were much more substantial than what was in the box.

I really missed the bagels and more hearty foods for after a race, especially a half marathon.  I really like the box idea as it’s much easier to transport, but it just needs to be packed better.  More carbs are needed with a good mix of protein, like peanut or almond butter.  The addition of dark chocolate was nice though, so I hope they keep that!

If you ran a race during Princess weekend, what did you think of the post race snacks?  What you will like them to offer in the future?