Nutrition Tips For Athletes And Runners
You can’t put the wrong fuel in your car and expect it to run properly. We’re sure that you’re familiar with this cliche comparison between the fuel in our cars and the fuel we put in our bodies, but when it comes to down to nutrition, nothing could be more important than what we put in our bodies. Why squander your dedicated training efforts in the gym and at the track with a less-than-adequate diet of ramen and cereal? If you’re serious about improving as an athlete, your diet needs to be serious, too.
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When you combine a healthy, exercise-centric diet with the power of our low-impact cardio machine, the result is the most efficient way to train and get cardiovascular exercise without subjecting your body to the harsh impact of normal running. By working out your core and other upper body muscles, The Real Runner is also more effective than biking, serving as the ultimate cardio experience that you can do at home, at the gym, or wherever life takes you.
Discover more about our aerobic endurance machine and cross training for runners by taking a closer look at The Real Runner here. Below, we’ll discuss some nutritional pieces of information that are critical for optimal athletic and cardiovascular performance - let’s take a look.
Carbs, Carbs, Carbs
Let us start out by saying that, no, you shouldn’t cram down a plate full of pasta 20 minutes before you start working out. That wouldn’t be good. Michael Scott from the popular TV show The Office makes this mistake before running a work-sponsored 5k by eating noodles (“carbo-loading”) as he’s running, leading to a world of hurt for him. While carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for athletes, you’ll want to make sure that you eat the right amount and give yourself enough time to digest and process the carbs.
As your body converts the carbohydrates into glucose and stores it in your muscles as glycogen, this gives athletes a source of energy to draw from. When you exercise, your body changes glycogen to energy. If your workout is longer than, say, 90 minutes, you’ll want to make sure that your body has plenty of glycogen stores to utilize.
Protein To Maintain Muscles
Protein is key to proper nutrition, even though it actually doesn’t provide a lot of fuel for energy. However, protein is used to maintain the muscles. Make sure that you’re getting the right amount of protein in your diet - the average person needs around 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That amounts to about 150 grams of protein for a 200-pound athlete.
There’s something to be said about quality protein sources, too. Getting too much protein can actually put strain on the kidneys, so instead of protein supplements or isolated whey protein compounds, stick to high-quality protein sources. These include things like lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, beans, eggs or milk. Drinking some milk is a great recovery method after running a race or completing a particularly strenuous workout, primarily due to the balance of protein and carbohydrates. Milk also contains casein and whey protein, which are absorbed quickly and can help speed recovery immediately following a high-performance event.
Take It Easy On The Fats
Healthy fats are important for our bodies. For longer events like marathons, your body will start to draw on your stored fat for energy when your carbohydrate levels start to run low. Most typical athletes usually get all the fat they need by following the basic dietary guideline of consuming unsaturated fats. Foods that are rich in unsaturated fats typically include things like nuts, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and fatty fish like tuna or salmon.
On the day of an event, however, avoid consuming fattier foods as they can (and will) upset your stomach - the last thing you’d want to deal with.
The Importance Of Fluids
Dehydration is something that affects all people. Athletes are particularly prone to dehydration due to constantly sweating out fluids, especially when it comes to intense exercise in hot weather conditions. All high-intensity athletes should drink fluids early and often, especially if you’re a distance runner. Ideally, you shouldn’t wait until you’re thirsty because, by the time you start to feel parched in your mouth, you might already be seriously dehydrated.
Hydrate While You’re Sweating
Of all the nutritional pointers we’ve covered, quality hydration and fluid consumption is by far the most important takeaway. All too often, runners succumb to the pain of “side stitches” because they didn’t go into a run hydrated enough or didn’t continue to hydrate throughout the workout. Endurance athletes or long-distance cyclists should drink 8 to 12 ounces of fluids every 10 to 15 minutes during an event, especially if it’s hot outside. It sounds excessive, but your body needs a high volume of water and electrolyte-fortified drinks when it’s constantly sweating them out.
Protip: Chilled fluids also help your body cool down and are more easily absorbed than room-temperature water. Plus, drinking ice water is just so much more satisfying than tepid water when it’s hot out and you’ve worked up quite the sweat.
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Life is too short to squander your athletic physique at a young age. Improve your muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance by training with The Real Runner today! Shop here for more information.