There’s a lot of nutrition advice just about every where you look. I believe the successful path to good and effective nutrition is knowing your goal. For example, your nutrition needs if you’re wanting to lose ten pounds is different if you’re trying to fuel your body to improve your performance. So take the following with a grain of salt (not literally) and remember I’m no nutrition expert.
I still have much to learn about improving my own nutrition, but this is the plan that I try to follow to make as much of my caloric intake count during my runs.
Step 1: Incorporate a larger proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of bowing to the convenience of snack type foods, preparing quick snacks of vegetables and fruit helps stay away from snacks with a lot of empty calories. I’m again trying my hand at gardening this year, so I hope to be able to grow at least some of these veggies. Otherwise, Farmers Markets are a great source to discover locally grown produce — sometimes you may be fortunate enough to find some organic sources as well.
Step 2: Add variety. By trying to include a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables, I try to ensure a variety of benefits (vitamins and minerals) from the varied sources.
Step 3: Incorporate whole grain foods. Examples such as whole wheat breads and pastas as well as brown rice helps ensure more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Step 4: Limit sugar intake by making water my main source of hydration. Not only does this eliminate emty calories, it also helps during longer runs to aviod severe hydration.
Don’t get me wrong, the above doesn’t make up my entire diet, but by focusing on these key areas, I hope to be headed in the right direction.
The second piece of nutrition I pay attention to includes nutrition centered around my workouts. In hot weather, I try to ensure I am well-hydrated before I start. In the recent past, I have used products such as Gatorade Prime 01 for workouts in hot weather lasting longer than an hour. Hydration during longer runs is also critical, and becomes more critical the longer the distance. Providing not only water, but providing both carbs and needed minerals becomes a necessity. I typically use products such as Gatorade or Powerade. Post workout training sessions also require nutritional attention. Ensuring an adequate amount of protein help muscles recover quicker. I usually use Gatorade Recover 03 to meet the need of supplying quick and easy protein.
Even though I’m currently using mostly Gatorade products now, I expect to be switching to the Hammer Nutrition line of products. Their all-natural ingredients and lack of simple sugars and perservatives make their products very attractive.