To maximize long distance running results, nutrition must become a major part in your training regime. Treating your long runs as trial races is a great way to see what works for you and what you should eat on race day. What, when and how much to eat is different for everyone, but there are some guidelines you can follow to find what works best for you.
Before a long run
There is nothing worse than having an uneasy stomach only a few miles into a race, which is why it is important to train your whole body including your stomach.
Foods to Avoid:
Foods high in fiber can often cause gastrointestinal stress, which often leads to an upset stomach, gas and bloating. High fiber foods also take up more water, causing you to feel heavy and slow. Fiber is an important part of your daily nutrition, but if you are sensitive to fiber, try eating fibrous foods later in the day.
Fatty foods can often make you feel sluggish. It might be obvious to avoid fast foods, but other healthy fatty foods, such as nuts and avocados should also be avoided a couple hours before a long run. Fat takes longer to digest and convert to energy.
Foods to Eat:
Carbohydrates are great before a long run. Both whole grain and refined carbs have their benefits, but it is important to find a balance. Refined carbs have less fiber than whole grains, and therefore are more easily broken down and quickly turned into the energy you need to tackle a long run. However, refined carbs have less nutritional benefits and should be eaten in moderation.
Fruits and vegetables that are low in fiber also help boost your running game. Low fiber fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, cantaloupe and zucchinis are easily digestible and will not weigh you down.
Electrolytes, though not a food, are important before a long run. Endurance athletes lose a significant amount of electrolytes in their sweat, and without the proper replacement it leads to muscle cramping. For the casual runner who runs less than one hour, eating a well rounded diet with nutrient rich foods and proper hydration will most likely give them the amount of electrolytes they need. However, when heading out on a long run sodium-enhanced sports drinks can be helpful to keep electrolytes as well as carbs at an optimal level.
3-4 hours before a long run: A meal including pasta or rice with a low-fat sauce, baked beans on toast, or a baked potato with cottage cheese and milk.
1-2 hours before a long run: Snacks could include foods such as cereal with milk, fruit flavored yogurt, or liquid meal supplement.
Less than 1 hour before a long run: Sports drink, carbohydrate gel, or sports bar
Most athletes are able to consume carbohydrates within the hour before a run, but for some, their blood glucose levels drop due to the increase of insulin. It’s important to remember everybody’s system works a little differently so it is best to experiment with foods and time consumed before a big event like a marathon and find a routine that works.
For help developing a nutrition plan that is right for you, contact Viverant to optimize your training.
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Within the last decade, low-carb eating has picked up a great deal of momentum. Evolving from diet campaigns like South Beach and Atkins, the strategy is now employed by people following plans like Paleo and Whole30.
Some people are even attempting to do "zero carb," putting their bodies in a state called ketosis that's designed to burn more fat.
Despite their current reputation, however, carbs are not an enemy. As part of one of the three macronutrients the body requires, carbohydrates play a key role in nutrition. They're a main source of fuel, crucial for organ function (including the brain), and essential for digestive health.
Some carbs are more beneficial than others — think whole grains over processed white flour, for example. But in general, it's important to focus on getting the right amount for your activity and energy levels. Here are some signs that you might need to be upping your healthy carbs:
You have no energy: If you're dragging yourself out of bed in the morning (hey, why else would your clock even have a snooze setting?), and then fueling with caffeine to jolt yourself through the day, your carb amount may be off. There can be many factors for energy imbalances, but since carbs are the body's fuel tank, you need to make sure you've putting in enough gas to get you through the day.
Your fitness is suffering: In addition to providing consistent energy during the day, carbs are particularly essential during more intense activities like running or strength training.
Digestion has hit a roadblock: Many people on low-carb or zero-carb diets have to supplement their eating with additional fiber, to address constipation. But even that strategy doesn't always work. Often, they have to introduce additional starches or increase carbs to get back to regularity.
Wondering about how carbs should be incorporated into your overall nutrition plan, especially as your goals change? Talk with one of our nutritional counselors to find the balance that's right for you.
Although there's a ton of food-related advice in the media, the fact is that everyone has different needs when it comes to nutrition. Your age, health history, physical activity level, goals, weight, and even hormones can have a direct effect on what might work best for you nutritionally. That's why an individualized approach is key.
But how do you determine what that eating plan should be, especially as you focus in on goals like injury and illness prevention, surgery recovery, and higher fitness levels? Fortunately, you don't have to become an expert in nutrition to come up with a solid strategy—because there are already experts who can help.
Registered Dietitians have a passion for improving physical performance, recovery, and prevention. Here's what you can expect from your consultations:
Assessment of your goals: Everyone wants to eat healthier, but what does that mean to you personally? Do you want to pursue carb cycling to maximize strength training for a sport, or do you want to incorporate more vegetables into your meals as a way to control high blood pressure? With an understanding of your current health issues and long-term goals, registered dietitians can help you put an eating plan together.
Inspiration that keeps you on track: Steamed vegetables and chicken breast for dinner every night? Yawn. Registered dietitians know that meals need to be enticing and flavorful, and that including diverse ingredients can help you get the micronutrients you need. They can help come up with ideas for making your meals into delicious favorites, instead of a chore.
Friendly support: Like any change, simply knowing what needs to be done is only the start. Nutritional counseling sessions are designed to give you the resources and knowledge you need, but the meaningful change will come from you. But you won't have to do it alone— registered dietitians are partners, and work to support you, so that you can be successful in making sustainable shifts in your nutrition.
One thing you can expect not to hear? Lectures. No matter what you eat, nutritional therapists prefer to help, not harangue, and that means your appointments will be free of scolding and judgment. Health is about what you could be doing better, and working together toward a plan. So, make the most of a professional's nutritional expertise and consider scheduling a consultation.
Did you know you can contact Viverant without a doctor referral to schedule an appointment regarding nutrition and other services that may help you?
With our busy lives, eating right and understanding how to strike the proper balance can be tricky—especially since your goals and needs may be different from those around you. Check out our nutrition guide with some simple steps to help you make a plan that fits you and your lifestyle.
For decades, Americans were warned that eating certain types of fat would lead to problems like heart disease and obesity. Health experts acknowledged that certain fats — like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish — were beneficial, but there was a general anti-fat sentiment that led to low-fat diets and avoidance of some dairy and meats.
New research is revising that advice considerably. Over 70 studies have shown there's no link between saturated fat and heart disease, and researchers are continuing to dive into how fat affects us. What is known already is that fat is a macronutrient that is crucial for our bodies, because it's necessary for absorbing certain vitamins. It's also fat that provides the most satiation during eating.
Does that mean you can eat a few sticks of butter, maybe wrapped in bacon and dipped in corn oil for good measure? Well, not so fast. Not all fats are equal, and some choices are more beneficial than others. Here are three good choices to consider:
Fatty Fish: There are mercury concerns with larger ocean dwellers like swordfish, but you can still reap plenty of omega-3 advantages with smaller fish and fresh water choices. These include wild salmon, sardines, lake trout, tuna, and mackerel. Not only are these tasty, but they're also good for your heart.
Nuts and Seeds: Although nuts and seeds are high in calories and should be eaten in smaller portions, they pack a big punch when it comes to healthy fats. They also boast protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, are particularly useful since they contain the highest amount of plant based omega-3.
Avocados: During the anti-fat crusade, the innocent avocado often got shunned because of its high fat content. But now it's back on plates, and that's an excellent change since the fruit is rich in monounsaturated fat as well as folate, potassium, fiber, and several vitamins.
Wondering about how to fit fat into your overall nutrition profile? Talk with one of our registered dietitians to find the balance that's right for you.
When it comes to developing an individualized approach to your nutrition plan, one of the best ways to start is by tracking what you eat. After all, if you don't know your starting point, it's harder to set goals and gauge progress.
But who wants to write down every single ingredient, meal, snack, and drink consumed over the course of a day? And what about keeping that kind of log for multiple days or even weeks? It doesn't take long for the practice to turn into a slog, especially if you're trying to estimate quantities—did you have half a cup of blueberries, or 1/3 cup?—and then share those with a registered dietitians.
Fortunately, food tracking doesn't have to be a pain. There are a few ways to make the practice easy and workable:
Set a timeframe
To get a glimpse of how much you eat, when you eat it, and what you're eating, schedule a certain timeframe for the effort. One day of food tracking is usually not enough to see what your consumption patterns are like, especially since people who know they're being tracked sometimes eat differently than they would usually (choosing carrots instead of cupcakes, for example). Set aside one week or at least establish a specific endpoint. That will make the effort feel more like a project and less like a homework assignment.
Get into a food photo habit
Keeping on top of your food intake may be as easy as reaching for your smartphone or camera. Whenever you put together a meal or have a snack, take a photo. There's no need to arrange the dish artfully like you're trying to win Instagram—it's just a way to create a record that you and your registered dietitians can look at later.
Use an app
There's an app for almost everything, and food tracking is no exception. Some even help to pinpoint your macronutrients, and record activity levels. These are more time consuming than simply taking a photo, but they also provide insights into how your physical activity fits together with your food intake.
Getting even a rough idea of what you eat every day, and in what amount, can help you and your registered dietitians to understand how food is fitting into your life. From there, you can set a plan together that works for your health and fitness goals.
When thinking about New Year resolutions, many people opt to commit to something food or exercise related. But have you ever thought about the impact certain beverages can have on your health? Americans consume nearly three times the daily recommended amount of sugar each day, and for many, a good portion of it comes from the things they drink. Excess sugar consumption is a contributing factor for health issues like obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease, and more, so it’s important to be conscious of the amount of sugar you ingest each day.
The holidays are a time for celebration with family, friends, and of course, food! Unfortunately, it is also a time when many struggle with over-eating and weight gain.
Healthy Thanksgiving leftover recipes!
Start Black Friday with this healthy breakfast using leftover turkey! Turkey Frittata
(Photo source: foodnetwork.com) Ingredients:
*To make this recipes healthier, substitute cream for skim milk. Directions:
(Recipe source: foodnetwork.com) You may also like Southwestern Turkey Soup!
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