Pre-Run Nutrition

I talked about writing a nutrition post for running. So, here it part 1 of my nutrition series for running. I probably should have posted this earlier but better late than never.

So, nutrition is important when running. This post will be about nutrition before running. The topics I will cover are:

  • Why is eating before running important?
  • What should I eat before a workout?

I hope that you guys will find this post helpful. The one thing I want to point out is that distance runners should have a diet that is higher in carbohydrates than the average person. They need the carbohydrates to fuel their running. To take this into perspective, the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for carbohydrates is 45-65% of total caloric intake. However, distance runners should be at the higher end of the percentage than the average person.

Why should I eat before running? 

To answer your question simply, would you drive your car with an empty tank of gas? I don’t think many of us would want to. Your car wouldn’t move and even if it did, it wouldn’t get very far. That is how it’s like with food and running. You want to provide energy for your workout. If not, you’ll not perform well and fatigue will come. Eating something before running, even if it’s just a small snack, will help delay fatigue during your run.

Some of you guys may have the question, “I run early in the morning before work. I don’t have time to eat something before I exercise. It’ll make my stomach upset while running. Do I still have to eat?” 

Yes, it is best to eat before you run. However, I know that gastrointestinal discomfort (upset stomach) can happen. It had happened to me when I trained for my first half marathon but I learned what my body can tolerate after that. The best advice to give is to eat something small, like a handful of low-fiber cereal or half a banana. Test and see what works best for you while you are training for your race, not on race day. Eating something is better than nothing. If your body absolutely cannot tolerate any food, eat your breakfast right before bed the night before.

What should I eat before a workout?

The best thing to eat is something high in carbohydrates AND low in fat and protein. The reason why you should eat something high in carbohydrates is that it is your body’s main source of energy. It gets broken down into glucose, which your body uses as fuel immediately or is stored as glycogen in your muscle and liver cells. Fat and protein tend to sit in your stomach longer, which may make you feel uncomfortable while running. However, some protein is needed to help sustain your energy and maintain your muscles.

Some examples of pre-workout meals or snacks include:

  • Whole Wheat Toast with a Nut Butter and Banana
  • Nonfat Yogurt with a banana
  • Turkey Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread
  • Trail Mix (with dried fruit and nuts)
  • Granola Bar
  • Bagel with nonfat cream cheese

I hope this helps you guys out and was informative. Just a disclaimer that every individual is different and it is best to talk to a health care professional or Registered Dietitian.

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2017 – Fitness Friday 14

So, I should really stop calling this post Fitness Friday. I should really be calling it “Workouts of the Week”. However, I like the sound of Fitness Friday. I’ll decide later on how I want to proceed with naming this post.

Anyway, I have been busy lately that I haven’t posted. I really do want to start posting more nutrition related posts and I will do my best to do it.

Before I get into what I have been up to, here were my workouts last week.

Fitness Friday 4-21-17

I really need to start training for my 10k that is coming up in early June. I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue but I at least I did work on some speed work. I did one mile sprints today as well. Hopefully, it’ll help with my speed.

In other news, I have been busy. This past weekend, I worked out and went shopping at the mall with mi novio. I also met up with some friends, played video games, drank beer and had fun. It was pretty nice. I even had time to do some grocery shopping. I bought the Trader Joe’s marinated Pollo Asado and it tastes pretty good. I am eating that along with brown rice and fajita veggies I made for lunches this week.

So, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I have been reading and following dietitians that have a realist approach to nutrition as well as focusing more on being more body positive. Below are two links to two blog posts that I enjoyed reading.

Hummusapien – Alexis writes about how ridiculous articles are about how the new Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino can kill you (seriously, it won’t kill you). Mainly, it’s about food shaming and how it shouldn’t happen.

Immeatthat – Kylie posts a few random thoughts in regards to nutrition, weight, and “meal prepping” (cooking).

I hope you guys enjoy reading their posts. I love the work that they are doing!

So, how was your weekend? 

Have you tried the Unicorn Frappuccino yet? 

 

Bone Health

So, I mentioned last week that I broke my foot. I actually broke my 5th metatarsal. It is a good thing that my bone didn’t get displaced though. It just cracked. I probably would have needed surgery if it was displaced. I broke it from running in heels and my foot just twisted in. Ladies (and some guys), please be careful when wearing heels!

Anyway, having broken my foot got me thinking about bone health. What caused my bone to be more susceptible to breaking? After all, my foot has turned in like that before and it didn’t break. However, it did this time. Is it because I haven’t been taking care of my bone health? Or is it because that particular bone is easier to break?

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To give a brief overview of my diet, I ate whatever I wanted until I was in high school. Once I was in high school, I wanted to lose weight and I severely restricted my eating. I wasn’t even drinking as much milk (which contains calcium and is fortified with Vitamin D) since I didn’t want to gain any weight. I thought milk was fattening. Imagine a growing adolescent body, needing more energy, and only getting about 1,200 calories. Of course I would be deficient in many vitamins and minerals. I did, however, exercise and did a lot of weight bearing exercises.

Anyway, let’s get back to the real nutrition of having healthy bones.

The first thing I want to say is, think of your bone as a savings account for calcium. You reach your peak bone density before age 30. After that, your body tends to break down bone faster than body is building bone. The most optimal time to build your savings account is during the adolescent years, when calcium absorption is at one of the highest, besides during infancy and childhood. After that, the body absorbs calcium less efficiently. I emphasize this because adolescents tend to become more independent during this time and make more of their own food choices.

This is important because adolescents are still growing at this time and are still trying to reach their optimal height. If they don’t consume enough calcium during this time, it may affect their skeletal (bone) health in the future and make bones more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis is a possibility in the future, especially if one is maintaining poor bone health.

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What is the most important function of calcium in the body besides maintaining skeletal health? Conducting nerve impulses! If your blood calcium levels are very low, Vitamin D (a hormone/vitamin) senses it and will tell your bones to break down and release calcium into the blood stream. It also tells your small intestine and kidneys to absorb (or reabsorb from the kidneys) more calcium. Your CNS (Central Nervous System) is your top priority when calcium levels are extremely low. Although 99% of calcium’s function is to maintain skeletal health, the 1% (nerve impulses, making sure your heart beats, etc) takes priority.

Adolescents should be consuming 1,300 mg of calcium (the RDA, Recommended Dietary Allowance). Females tend to consume less than the RDA (948 mg) while males tend to be pretty close to the RDA (1260 mg) for calcium. The RDA for Vitamin D (hormone/vitamin) is 15 micrograms (mcg) or 600 International Units (IU). The RDA for calcium for adults is 1,000 mg. The RDA for Vitamin D is the same for adults. Vitamin D is important for blood calcium homeostasis, as mentioned earlier.

There are other vitamins that play a role in bone health, including Vitamin C (for development of bone collagen) and Vitamin K (assists osteoblast cells in building bone). However, Vitamin D and Calcium are very important for bone health. Also, weight bearing exercises are also great for your bone health.

Remember that I am not a medical professional and it is best to speak with a Registered Dietitian or doctor to assess whether or not you are consuming enough calcium and to assess your bone health. I do, however, have a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Nutrition and Food. I am able to give general nutrition advice. 

That is it for now!

What is your favorite sources of food for calcium? 

AMDR Calculations

BE WARNED: THIS POST HAS MATH INVOLVED

Today’s nutrition post will involve MATH. Do you know why? We will be using the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR), 1 example of a 2000 calorie diet to calculate the grams of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

So, here it goes!

Here’s the basic thing to know:

Carbohydrates: 4 calories per 1 gram

Protein: 4 calories per 1 gram

Fat: 9 calories per 1 gram

AMDR for Adults  (from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines)

  • 45-65% Carbohydrates
  • 10-35 % Protein
  • 20-30% Fat

Here’s the standard 2,000 calorie diet. Let’s start the calculations.

  1. You first find the percentage of calories for each macronutrient based on the AMDR. For example, let’s say that the percentage of calories of carbohydrates is 50% based on the 2000 calorie diet. Convert the percentge to decimals for the calculations.                                                    2000 x 0.50 = 1000 calories
  2. The next step is to divide the calories by the calories in each gram of the macronutrient. There are 4 grams in 1 calorie of carbohydrates. The calories of carbohydrate is 1000 calories.                                                                                                                                                             1000/4= 250 grams of carbohydrates

Let’s calculate the ranges based on the AMDR on a 2,000 calorie diet:

Carbohydrates: 900- 1300 calories

2000 x 0.45 = 900 calories

2000 x 0.65 = 1300 calories

That would be 225-325 grams of carbohydrates. Divide each calorie range by 4 since 1 gram of carbohydrates contain 4 calories.

Protein: 200-700 calories

2000 x 0.10 = 200 calories

2000 x 0.35 = 700 calories

That would be 50-175 grams of protein. Divide each calorie range by 4 since 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.

Fat: 400-600 calories

2000 x 0.20 = 400 calories

2000 x 0.30 = 600 calories

That would be approximately 44.5 -66.7 grams of fat. Divide each calorie range by 9 since 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

It is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian to figure out how much to eat of what nutrient.

That’s it for now.

Did you learn anything new from this post? 

Do you see calorie counting different now that you know this information?

Carbs Carbs Carbs: Friend or Foe?

How many times have you heard your friends say things like:

“Carbs make you fat.” or “Carbs are bad for you.” or “I’m on a low-carb diet” or “I’m on the paleo OR Atkins diet.”

All of these statements essentially say that carbohydrates (carbs) are not healthy for you. However, the fact is, carbohydrates are your friend! You need them in your diet. And yes, vegetables are forms of carbohydrates.

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So, why are carbohydrates your friend?

#1 thing: Glucose is your body’s main source of energy.  Guess where glucose come from. That’s right. Carbohydrates.

Bananas, apples, whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cookies. Yes, all of these foods contain carbohydrates (yes, broccoli has carbs). All plant based foods contain carbs.

So, why is it so important to consume carbohydrates? Well, your brain can only use glucose as a form of energy (think of your Central Nervous System!). Because of the constant need of glucose for the brain, the body stores some glucose as glycogen in your liver and muscle cells.

When someone decides to consume a diet low in carbohydrates, the body will turn to glycogen so that there is enough glucose in the blood stream to feed to the brain. The body can only store so much glycogen that the body will run out and start converting fat and amino acids into glucose, called gluconeogenesis. The end product of this process are ketones and  they are acidic. A build up of too much ketones in the body can damage tissues in the body. It can lead to coma and death.

#2 thing: I’m NOT saying that you can consume all the cake and cookies in the world. All I am saying is that carbohydrates is your body’s preferred energy source. It is better to consume carbohydrates that contain fiber. For example: brown rice, whole wheat/grain bread, sweet potato, vegetables. Basically, whole foods are good sources of carbohydrates.

fruits and veggies

45-65% (the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, AMDR) of your calories should be carbohydrates. There is some math involved with this and each individual person is different when it comes to how much carbohydrates an individual person needs (activity level, diabetes mellitus, etc). It is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian for a more individualized plan.

So, don’t be scared of carbs. Your body needs it for energy. The USDA MyPlate recommends consuming at least half of your grains as whole grains. So, try incorporating whole grain into your diet. Mix white and brown rice together or use one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat bread for sandwiches.

What’s your favorite type of carbohydrate to consume?

P.S. My next nutrition related post will give examples on how to calculate grams of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats based on caloric need and the AMDR.