Exercise NutritionHow far can a car get on an empty tank? Not very far! (Unless, of course, it’s a standard sitting at the top of a hill, but good luck getting it back up there!!)

Here’s another: Any idea what happens when you pump a Prius full of diesel fuel? Me neither, but I can tell you one thing that won’t happen: The Prius won’t perform the way it was built to.

These two analogies should run through your mind every time you think about food, especially now that you’re preparing for a 5K or 10K. Food is our fuel. And you need plenty of fuel to get you through these training sessions, as well as the Big Day on October 15. The human body is similar to a car engine in that it needs the proper amount and quality of food (fuel) to operate at its peak capacity. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose one pound or a 100 pounds you still have to eat!

The key to planning your nutrition over these last 6 – 7 weeks is balance. The good news is you get to eats lots of carbohydrates. The bad news is that processed breads and cereals are not the type of carbohydrates we’re referring to here.

To make things simpler, we will break down meal size by plate size (much easier than counting calories). Approximately 55% of your plate should be made up of a variety of vegetables. 25% will be lean protein, and the remaining 15% will consist of health fats (such as avocados, healthy oils, nuts, etc.).

Here are a few other items to consider:

  • Eat slowly and stop eating when you’re 80% full.
  • Save the starchy carbohydrates for after the workout (run).
  • Choose mostly whole foods with minimal processing.
  • Choose local or organic foods when possible.
  • Use smaller or larger plates, depending on your body size.

In our next post, we will discuss pre-exercise nutrition (what to eat before your workout and when).

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