September 28, 2016 | 13 minute read
Published in Active Meaningful Years
Like most of us, we turn to cardio-centric exercises like running for their ability to torch fat, and burn calories at an excelerated pace. However, the fitter we become, the more efficient our body becomes, and the fewer calories our body burns when exercising at the same distance/speed. So what is the best way to fuel your body so that you constantly see the gains (or losses) you want, while keeping yourself energized and ready to perform? It all comes down to balance, discipline, and knowing how to fuel yourself.
First things first – you need to understand where you are, what you want to achieve, and then form the plan to get there.
Ah, how many times have you asked or heard somebody ask this... and how many times has the answer been 'it depends'. Well, it does. It depends on your age, weight, and how active you are. The reccomended allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per KG, or 0.38 G per pound. This is around 65 g per day for an average 180-lb adult. If you consider yourself an athlete, this all changes! Athletes or active people need more protein than the average person to help fuel their body for the tasks they expect of them. This increases from the average 0.8 g to:
So what is the best way to get your protein? There are quite a few ways, and to be honest, we think they are delicious! Here is a quick protein guide on what to look for:
Does it matter when you get your protein? YES. Protein doesn't store for later, it's used right away. Most of us aren't eating enough in the morning, yet eating more than we need at night. Get boost you need at breakfast here.
Iron is essential. Every cell in your body needs iron to function, that's because iron is part of the hemoglobin in blood and myoglobin in muscles, helping deliver the oxygen your body needs... Understandably, you can see why athletes would be concerned about their iron levels. So how can you tell if you're iron deficient?
The first step if you think you have an iron deficiency is to go see your doctor. They will do a blog test to look at your complete blood count (CBC), your estimated stored iron, and other possible tests. So how much iron do I need?
If you're a vegetarian or a vegan, please try to consume up to 1.8x more iron than stated above! For a fantastic breakdown on foods loaded with iron, click here.
A lot has been said about carbs... Yes, a low-carb diet can help you lose weight. However, if you're training for a run, or any other sort of athletic event, a low-carb diet can actually be a very bad idea. The reduction of carbs within your diet can actually lead to the following problems:
Those three amigos will result in you feeling cranky, tired, weak, or even sick... Oh, and if you do it for too long, your weight loss will most definitely stall. We've all heard the old saying 'everything in moderation', well what we're really saying is EAT YOUR WHEAT! So how much should someone eat? It depends on your activity level:
That's all well and true, but when it's all said and done, how do you even go about putting that into action? Well here is our carb fueling strategy:
It's no secret that you're going to lose fluid and electrolytes during a strenuous workout. This leads to fatigue, lose of muscle strength, concentration, determination, coordination etc. There's a reason why they put water and sports drink stations out during a race. Sports drinks provide the carbohydrates and electrolytes lost in sweat. This mixture of carbs and fluids that can be easily absorbed through the small intestine. If you're just out and about, water will do you just fine, however, if you're in the middle of a race, a sports drink may be just the ticket to #KeepGoing.
This is a tricky one, as every body, every metababolism, from person to person – every nutritional need is different. Finding the right balance of protein to carbs for you takes practice, but it's definitely worth finding a plan that works for you. Here are a few tips:
Timing is also very important. Here's a few pointers:
At the end of the day it's trial and error. Do what's right for you, and what gives you the best boost to your energy level. Have fun!
Sports scientists have aimed to make this as simple as possible. So let's lay it out into the 3 R's (get a complete breakdown here):