Save the dates: March 10 (NYC) and March 31 (Boston)
Please come join me at Multisport World NYC and Boston. These annual events bring together everyone in the triathlon and running communities to learn, have fun, and meet each other. I am participating in both events and would love for you to come be a part of it too!
These are some of the highlights:
1) More than 25 lectures and panel discussions on all aspects of running and triathlon health and fitness
2) Local and national experts speaking on injury prevention, performance enhancement, and nutrition
3) A huge expo with more than 60 vendors with cool stuff to try out
4) An indoor bike time trial and indoor triathlon with awesome prizes
5) A really fun day
Entry to the expo is free, as are the general sessions. There are more specialized workshops that can be purchased (including running and swimming technique sessions and video analysis). Check out the website:
What’s the right ratio of carbs and protein? I was on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet to try to lose weight but my workouts sucked. I know carbs are important for athletes -- but what’s the right balance?
The good news is carbohydrates are NOT fattening so you have no need to cut back on them as a part of a weight reduction plan. Excess calories are fattening, in particular,excess calories of fat. People lose weight when they give up carbs because they actually give up the dietary fat that accompanies the carbs:
--butter on the potato,
--mayo on the sandwich,
--cheesesauce on thepasta.
Initially,the dieters also lose water-weight, because for each one ounce of carb stored in your muscles as glycogen, your body stores about three ounces of water. When you deplete the carbs by exercising, you lose the water (weight).
The carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables and grain-foods are important for athletes because only carbs convert into muscle glycogen, the fuel that keeps you from “hitting the wall.” Glycogen depletion is associated with fatigue. You'll have trouble doing hard exercise with a low carb diet.
You should plan a sports diet that includes quality carbs as the foundation of each meal, such as
--cereal for breakfast,
--sandwich bread with lunch, and
--starch(rice, noodles, pasta, potato) with dinner.
Round out the meal with more carbs from fruits and veggies.
You want more grams of carbs than grams of protein. Include at least 200 to 300 calories of grain-food per meal—about 1/3 of your plate. Protein should take up about ¼-1/3 of the plate and be the accompaniment to the carbs, but not the main focus of the meal. Choose additional “quality carbs” from fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads to round out the meal. These are preferable to the sugary carbs (sweets and treats) that can also fuel your muscles but fail to invest in optimal health.
I’m on the Paleo diet and am not eating grains. My muscles feel tired a lot. How many carbs do I need?
According to the International Olympic Committee’s Nutrition Recommendations, adequate carbs means:
Amount of exercise
Grams carb / kg
Moderate exercise (~1 hour/day)
2.5 to 3
Endurance exercise (1-3 h/day)
2.5 to 4.5
Extreme exercise (>4-5 h/day)
3.5 to 5.5
Example, a 150-lb triathlete doing extreme exercise should target ~500 to 800 g carb/day (2,000-3,200 carb-calories). That’s about 500 to 800 g carbs every 4 hours during the daytime.
For optimal performance, your recovery meals and snacks should include a foundation of carbohydrate-rich foods (such as breads, cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables) plus a smaller amount of protein (about 10-20 grams per recovery snack or meal). This can be hard to do on a Paleo Diet, unless you eat a lot of “heavy” fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, mango, dried fruits, beets, winter squash, and sweet potato).
For your recovery meal, do not consume just protein, as in a protein shake or protein bar. Protein fills your stomach and helps build and repair muscles, but it does not refuel your muscles. Your muscles want three or four times more calories from carbs than from protein. If you like the convenience of protein shakes, at least add carbs to them. That is, blend insome banana and frozen berries.
Nancy, what are some suggestions for snacks mid-workout, such as after running for 45 to 60 minutes and before lifting? I think my lifting would be better if I could refuel a bit after the run.
Answer: Having a snack between your run and lift is a smart choice. A small energy boost (100 to 300 calories) can help you lifter harder—and you’ll better enjoy the workout.
What do YOU want to consume? Only you know what your body will be able to tolerate. Some athletes want only liquids mid-workout. Others are able to tolerate solid foods (plus water). Some may have little interest in anything (in which case, they should make the effort to eat a substantial breakfast the hour or two before the workout and at least sip on some water.)
Some "healthy options" include:
Chocolate milk (low fat or skim)
Orange juice or any kind of fruit juice
Canned peaches or fruit cocktail
Dried fruit (raisins, dates, dried pineapple)
What the body really wants is sugar, water, and yes, some caffeine (makes the effort seem easier). Sweetened iced tea might be popular, as would Coke or Pepsi. Not sure I'm recommending these choices, but they would do thejob!
Other (not necessarily recommended but popular options) are sugary foods: sports drinks, gels, bloks, gummy candy, sports beans, any kind of sugary candy, marshmallows, swig of maple syrup, or a spoonful of honey—plus water. Given that 10% of daily calories can appropriately come from sugar, a mid-workout sugar-snack can be balanced into an overall wholesome diet. Sugary snacks just don't don’t support the “health” message; so if you go that route, please choose primarily “quality calories” at other times throughout the day.
'Tis the season for nutrition resolutions. My advice is: be realistic!
I have a lot of clients who resolve to eat the perfect sports diet (no sugar, white flour, red meat, processed foods, etc.). These are the same athletes who then scold themselves for “cheating” when they eat a cookie or “being bad” if they sneak a French fry. Sometimes they let their bodies become ravenously hungry because “there was nothing healthy to eat” at an event. Somehow eating a white bagel would negate all other efforts to choose whole grain foods.
As you make your New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions, I suggest you think about enjoying a diet that averages out to be at least 90% “quality calories” and about 10% “whatever.” That is, you need not eat a perfect diet to have a good diet. And remember: there are times when eating any food is better than eating nothing. (Yes, getting “too hungry” is abusive. Don’t do that!) On the afternoon when you get stuck without any trail mix or "healthy" snacks, I’d rather see you munch on a candy bar than abuse your body with lack of fuel.
What are your New Year's Nutrition Resolutions? Are they sustainable?
With best wishes for a 2012 filled with enjoyable meals and balanced food choices,