Cardio is the quickest way to burn calories and fat, but it is crucial to replace most of those calories especially if you are not trying to lose anymore weight. Proper nutrition is critical to maintaining your stamina and recovering from your run.
Many believe that if we look healthy on the outside, we are healthy on the inside, but this is not the case at all. Running can help to shed fat on the outside and strengthen muscles but choosing too many unhealthy choices such as, pizza, heavy sodium sauces, and salads doused in dressing can cause blocked arteries and a rise in cholesterol which in turn will make your runs less enjoyable. No amount of running will fix these issues.
Why risk causing damage to your body when you have spent years, weeks, or even just days trying to improve your health through cardio? The first step to changing your mindset on food is understanding the importance of fueling your mind and body with sustaining nutrients.
What Does Your Body Need?
You have probably heard that carb loading is important to achieve long lasting energy but is 6 servings of pasta REALLY what you should be eating the night before a run? I will give you a hint, the answer is no. Carbs are important as a runner but Eric Coleman, a registered and licensed dietitian, stated you should consume:
· 2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbs per pound for light to moderate training that lasts less than one hour
· 3.2 to 4.5 grams per pound for heavy training at a high intensity
· 4.5 to 5.5 grams per pound of body weight each day when running longer than four to five hours
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, aiming for between 0.55 to 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily is just as vital to maximizing your running experience.
Breakfast Options: Please note that these are not your ONLY options but some of our favorites. The recipes linked below provide long-lasting energy from healthy carbs.
· Oatmeal Pancakes: sustaining carbs that are low in calories
· The Athlete's Omelet: provides much needed carbs and proteins
Lunch Options: These meal options replace energy lost and regain the nutrients your body burned throughout your cardio session.
· Classic Egg Salad: light, delicious, and healthy! You can add it to a wrap or just eat it from the container.
· Baked Salmon with Fresh Herbs: clean and flavorful, perfect to replace your proteins.
· Shrimp Panzanella: Easy to make and 20 grams of protein!
Dinner Options: Carb Refueling for your next run.
· Baked Chicken Parmesan: this dish is tasty and can help to fuel your body with carbs for tomorrows run!
· Potlikker Noodles with Mustard Greens: This unusual dish will keep you from the boredom of eating the same old meals.
· Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana: A little more complicated to make but a must try!
Source: Erin Coleman, R.D. “How Much Protein & Carbs Do Runners Need?” Healthy Eating | SF Gate, 27 Nov. 2018, healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-protein-carbs-runners-need-4237.html.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness expert, medical doctor or registered dietician. This blog is solely to share my experiences in running, fitness and nutrition. In regards to your health, please do your own study and exploration. Everything I share here comes from personal experiences, knowledge gained from sources, and is based off my own lifestyle. If you are in need of specific advice in any of these areas, please contact your own health professional.