8.03.2016

Marathon Training: Part 4 - Nutrition

Over the years I have learned a lot about marathoning. More than I want to put into one post so I created a 4-part series on marathon training.
You are what you eat. How many times did you hear this growing up? Did you hear it a zillion times like myself? My mom would always say that or another version to me, if you eat one more xxx you will turn into a xxx. Fill those xxx's in with whatever food of choice you want but there is truth to this.

No, I never turned into a bean burritio or a Twinkie or an oatmeal pie but I did gain quite a bit of weight in my younger years to the point I was getting close to a size 14. And yes, my eating improved over the years. Improved to the point where I thought I was doing it right, eating clean and healthy, I was down in size but then I took a good hard look at how I was truly fueling my body and it wasn't a pretty, easy-to-swallow revelation.

To be totally transparent, this is what a typical eating day could look like for a work day.
  • Breakfast: Steel Cut Oats with a banana, blueberries, and peanut butter
  • Snack: Hummus with pita chips and veggies
  • Lunch: Salad, leftovers, or two bean burritos
  • Snack(s): Peanut Butter pretzels, chips, pita chips (And yes, I could have multiple snacking moments between lunch and dinner.)
  • Dinner: Protein with a veggie and often potatoes or bean based meal
  • Afters: Graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips (10-12)

Now for my weekends the breakfast became homemade waffles or pancakes with fruit and the morning snack could be something like peanut butter pretzels or a graham cracker or pita chips. Lunch was often homemade nachos and the rest of my day's eating was about the same.

Then I became a Beachbody Coach and really fine-tuned my nutrition after seeing I was eating waaaayyyy too many carbs. Way too many. I was a carboholic. 

And what I loved most was that the nutrition plan provided with the exercise program I started with was just that. A plan. Not a diet. There was no forbidden foods, just guidance. There was no weighing out, counting calories, etc. Just portion sizes and you know we all could use a little portion control here in America when so much is super sized. It is hard to eyeball what is right and sometimes I was wrong in the wrong way.

I thought one egg was a serving of protein. Nope, two eggs are so when I actually was eating an egg, I was eating enough to fill my tummy and nutrtion needs right. And all in all, I wan't eating enough protein. Take a good look at my sample diets up there. Do you see much protein?

Now, my typical eating plan every single solitary day looks like this.
A no-carb muffin love!
  • Breakfast: 2 eggs with a serving of fruit. Sometimes a few veggies are tossed into my eggs when I make an omelet on my eat at home days. Sometimes I do a fruit and almond flour muffin that counts as a fruit and a healthy fat for the day.
  • Snack: Veggies with hummus (or no hummus if I already had a healthy fat for the day).
  • Lunch: Salad or other veggies with a serving of protein (tuna, turkey, or tofu are my go to's). Some days I toss in a serving of crunchy carbs (yep, pita chips or the like) but those servings are now correctly sized. Before I was probably eating 2-3 servings as a serving. Yep, I was undersizing protein and oversizing carbs. This only threw my macros futher out of whack.
  • Snack: My daily shake! Sometimes I add in my second fruit serving in the shake, sometimes I munch on it as munching an apple helps fill that love of crunchy foods I have.
  • Dinner: Protein (often chicken but could be tofu but I don't eat tofu more than once a day and I don't eat tofu every day) with veggies. I may or may not add in another carb serving in this meal with a tortilla (homemade are best!) for taco night, etc. If I know I have carbs planned for dinner and will want them, I will skip them earlier in the day. And yes, beans count as carbs.
  • Afters: Many days I forego my fruit in my afternoon snack and save it for now.
  • Add in's: I can also have two 1 tsp servings of peanut butter a day. This can go into my shake or many times I grabbed one after my workouts (or before).  

Changing my diet has had HUGE impacts. I am no longer dragging my butt each day starting around 1-2 pm. This was the main motivation for me to try something new. I am also no longer starving hungry every minute of the day and I attribute this to eating better in terms of more protein and nutrient dense foods versus a carb and veggie diet. My stomach is less bloated, my skin is better, and I am sleeping better.

Add up all those positive results of eating better and you can see how it can contribute to better running performance and better training.

Yes, you are running longer and working harder but that doesn't mean you can (or should) eat a bag of potato chips, 10 billion servings of carbs (finger pointing at me), with a few veggies and say, yep, I am fueling myself well.

Even in this modified diet that seems very low carb versus what I was eating, I am still getting more carbs that you would imagine at first sight. Those fruits that count as fruits do have carbs in them. I fear that all that talk about carb loading for long runs and marathons has pushed many of us into eating too many carbs. I am beginning to think carbs are like salt. You get more in your diet than you think. Protein...that is where the meat is in your training. Your muscles need protein to repair. We know that. Many of us drink protein shakes for that reason, but are you getting enough protein?

I wasn't and I am happy to say my daily shake not only gives me protein but it gives me extra great stuff like vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, and that is a win-win for me. Drinking that just makes me feel better, inside and out.

If you want to learn more about how to fuel your body (as your needs are not necessarily the same as mine), email me. I would LOVE to chat with you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I have learned how to fuel my body better.

Daily Bible Verse: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. ~ Proverbs 30:8-9

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