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Too many people who exercise purposefully do not eat before they exercise. They think they should exercise on empty, to prevent intestinal distress. While this may be OK for a short bout of exercise, when they build up to an hour of more of exercise, they start to run out of energy. Thye experience needless fatigue.


Research indicates consuming 100 to 300 calories (depending on your body size and how hard you will be exercising) within the hour before you exercise can improve performance -- to say nothing of enjoyment of the the session. Hence, if you have been avoiding food out of fear of "rapid transit", you should start to train your intestinal track to lean how to digest food while you exercise. This is important if you plan to workout for more than an hour. Start with a saltine, apretsel, a bite of banana, and work up to two saltines, two pretzels, two bites of banana ... With time, your intestinal track will adjust to digesting food while you exercise, and you'll have better, stronger, more enjoyable workouts.


Training your intestinal track as well as your heart, lungs and muscles is important if you plan to do workouts that last longer than one hour!

Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD


2,097 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: eating, pre-exercise, intestines

“Oh, I didn’t know I could eat candy or regular food” commented the novice marathoner. She was training for her first 26.2 mile event, and was barely able to complete the first 10 miles. She was afraid to eat before she trained, fearing the food would talk back to her. No wonder she was running out of energy! She needed to fuel her body better. This would mean training her intestinal tract to tolerate food and fluids.


During the runs, she drank just water because the one time she had tried a gel, it upset her intestinal tract. I asked if she had tried gummy bears, hard candies, twizzlers, or peppermint patties. She hadn’t even thought about those options. She had limited herself to the engineered sports foods that she’d seen advertised abundantly in running magazines. I invited her to experiment with standard foods to which her body was accustomed. She started with small nibbles pre-run – a saltine cracker, a pretzel, a chunk of banana. She then added bigger portions as her body got used to the pre-run fuel.


During her long runs, when she began to run out of energy, I suggested she try some sugary candy. Starbursts became her favorite way to consume the energy she needed to enjoy miles of training. By targeting about 200 calories per hour (after the first hour of running), she was able to maintain high energy during the long runs. She experimented with lots of food options, and found that she better enjoyed standard foods than the engineered products.


Give food a try? For more information, see my Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions.


Nancy Clark MS RD

1,450 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: engineered_sports_foods, eating_during_exercise, intestines


NUTRITION & EXERCISE:  An intensive workshop


Here’s your chance to learn from two internationally known experts at this intensive workshop on Nutrition & Exercise. Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS, RD, CSSD and exercise physiologist William Evans PhD will be offering a 1.5 day program that is designed to help coaches, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, sports nutritionists, sports medicine professionals as well as athletes themselves find answers to their questions about--




-eating for health, enhanced performance and longevity

-balancing carbs, protein and sports supplements

-managing weight and eating disorders.


CHICAGO        August 22-23, 2008


DETROIT        Sept 19-20

COLUMBUS        Nov 14-15



DALLAS        Jan 16-17, 2009

St. LOUIS        Jan 23-24

HOUSTON        Feb 6-7                                           



If you cannot attend in person, the workshop can come to you. Simply enjoy the course online!



For more information and to register


If you are a health professionals who need continuting education credits, you can get 10 hours of education for ADA, ACSM, AFAA, ACE, NATA, NSCA,and  CHES


We hope you can come. As most participants agree—you’ll get what you want, plus more!






3,175 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: sports_nutrition_workshop, continuing?education, workshop


If you want to lose undesired body fat, keeping food records is a good place to start. A new study reported in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that among 1,685 dieters, those who kept food records at least 6 days a week lost twice the weight of those who didn’t keep food records. (18 vs. 9 pounds).


Unfortunately, most of my clients hate to keep food records. Or, they keep them on “good days” but not on the days they overeat. Sound familiar?


Writing down what you eat takes energy. If you have the energy to eat well, you likely have the energy to write it down. On the flip side, if life is draining your energy, you feel stressed, and are eating poorly, you likely lack the energy needed to record what you consumed (nor do you want to face the facts). Yet, if you were to make yourself accountable on the “bad days,” you would likely eat less, and might even learn from the experience.

For example, you might learn that eating 10 Oreos did not solve any of your problems, rather just made you feel worse. The next time you feel tempted to smother your stress with cookies, you might think twice and ask yourself: “How many of these Oreo’s will solve my problems?” The answer, of course, is none. And the threat of having to record 10 Oreos might deter you from indulging. Give it a try?


Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD







1,605 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: stress, weight_reduction, food_records

Thin at any price

Posted by Nancy Clark RD CSSD Jul 1, 2008


“I’d rather be skinny than at peace with food” she snapped back at me, after I suggested her new weight might be more appropriate given her genetics. “I used to weigh 105 pounds, and I cannot stand being 115.” But 105 pounds was when she was spending four hours a day exercising and being “too busy” to eat.


If you are at war with your body, and “cannot stand” your body fatness, I suggest you check out the following article reprinted with permission from Nourishing Connections( a website for people who struggle with food and weight.


Nourishing Nuggets


"To be nobody but yourself—in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ~E.E. Cummings


Reflections for Staying Attuned


Body hatred is a learned behavior. Have you ever met a baby who hated her body? Somewhere along the way, we learn to dislike, and even hate, our bodies. How did we learn this? To answer that question, let's consider:


• who teaches us to scrutinize our bodies?

• who teaches us to be critical of ourselves?

• who teaches us not to like our bodies?

• who teaches us not to like ourselves?


Start by taking a concerted look at the advertising world. It will become startlingly clear that advertisers want women to feel dissatisfied with themselves; the message is right there in the ad. But—lucky us—the advertisers’ products have the answer to the very dissatisfaction they are promoting.



Now consider prejudice. A woman who hates her body and is constantly concerned about food and weight will rarely break the glass ceiling. There is a great deal of theory about downtrodden groups, like women, and how the oppression they suffer becomes internalized. "Internalized oppression" occurs when people are targeted or oppressed over a period of time. They eventually internalize the myths and misinformation that society communicates to them about their group. For example, women frequently internalize the stereotype that they are not attractive (or smart, productive, happy) unless they are thin. This learned belief causes many women to regularly engage in what is a universally feared experience, living with hunger.


While learning body hatred from many different sources, we absorb and adapt to the rules of what is acceptable. When we begin to break free of body hatred, we are breaking the rules. Consider if a woman said, "Yeah, I'm pretty okay with my body." Many would eye her suspiciously. Why? Because she dares to break some very powerful rules!



Since body hatred is a learned behavior, it can be unlearned. Not easy to do, but worth the effort. Dare to break the rules. Decide to re-learn to like yourself inside and out. Reconnect with the body acceptance with which you were born.


Stay Attuned Tip


One woman, who typically made disparaging comments whenever she saw her reflection, made a commitment to herself to never pass by a reflection without saying, "Hello there, you Gorgeous Goddess." Sometimes she would pass by and try to ignore the reflection, but because of her commitment to herself she would turn around, take a peek, and say, "Hello there, you Gorgeous Goddess." This simple exercise was enough to change her perception of herself. She even began to carry herself differently. The change was dramatic (but not surprising, since neuroscience studies support this result of shifting from negative self-talk to positive self-talk).


So, just for today, whenever you see your reflection, say something powerfully positive to yourself. Take a minute right now to decide what that will be. Some examples are:


• “Wow, what a wonderfully powerful woman!”

• “Hey, bright and beautiful you!”

• “Those women at Nourishing Connections must be crazy, but I’ll give it a try—’Hello there sweet and wonderful person!’ ”


Stay Attuned Affirmation :  "I am the exquisite woman in the window. "




To subscribe to the Stay Attuned Newsletter, send an email to:



1,543 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: women, body_hatred, body_image, nourishing_connections
Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

View Nancy Clark RD CSSD's profile