A Runner’s Diet

For many people who consider themselves recreational runners, it can be quite annoying that they still carry around that extra ten pounds of weight. How can a person who is running and exercising hard, have that extra ten pounds to deal with? You would think that you are getting the exercise you need, but the sad fact is that what you are eating is what is killing you here. Let’s explain what you need from a runner’s diet.

First of all, all of those high carb drinks and snack bars are hurting you. It takes just one 100 calorie energy bar to mess you up. It only takes 100 calories a day extra to equal ten pounds of extra weight in a year. As recreational runners, we simply do not need the extra carbs that the elite runners do. What you need to know is when you should to eat carbs and just what type of carbs to eat.

In your runner’s diet, you need to know the real number of calories you need to run effectively and lose weight. Consider these numbers. 50% come from carbohydrates, 25% come from protein, and 25% come from fat. What does this get you? The huge percentage of carbs helps to insure your running diet needs. Carbs=fuel for runs. The other 50%? This keeps you feeling full longer. Light bulb! Less intake, less calories, losing weight.

There is one more key element to a runner’s nutritional needs. And that element is when you need to eat these foods. Carbohydrate intake needs to be around your runs. In addition, protein and fat intake should be closely monitored to be the right types. Here is some help.

  • Step One: Calculate your caloric goal for your optimal nutrition. You need to determine what your calorie need is to maintain your current weight. Take your weight and multiply that by 13 which will cover your metabolic need for the day. So, to lose just a pound a week, you need to decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day. Now, this may seem difficult, but you need to factor in your running as well. You can burn one hundred calories simply by running one mile. Ideally, you need to decrease your calories not only by eating less but also by burning off calories through your running.
  • Step Two: Where the calories should come from. You need to know what foods you need to eat. So, take the calories you got from step one and divide them into the 50%, 25%, and 25% levels. Remember, 50% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 25% fats. While you need to do this for your overall daily intake, you don’t have to do this for each and every food that you eat.
  • Side Note: Many runners will consider this carbohydrate level too low, but the fact of the matter is that as recreational runners, your running diet shouldn’t be so high in carbohydrates. Elite runners need this high percentage of carbs to compensate for the hard running they are doing, but those who are simply recreational runners, their levels can and should be lower. But, remember, you need to eat these right before and right after your run to help sustain your energy. Also, look for carbs that are high in fiber and water content.
  • Step Three: Proteins for running nutrition. These need to be eaten to help you feel full. Protein gives you more of a content feeling than anything else. When you eat the right amount and type of calories it lasts longer. The proteins you eat need to be lean. Think like this. The fattier the protein, the less you can eat of it.
  • Step Four: Fats. Most people, who begin dieting, do so by cutting fats. Unfortunately, they cut the wrong ones. Your body needs a source of good fats, like oils and nuts. A little fat helps with the process of digestion. It also helps to slow things down which keeps you feeling full longer.
  • Step Five: Eating pattern you need to follow. Not all of us run at the same times during the day. So, that means you need to control the amount of carbs, fats, and proteins you need and when you eat them. You need your carbohydrates to come right before and right after your runs. The rest of the day, while you are not working, you will be able to eat mostly proteins and fats which will keep you full, longer. One more tip. Make sure that you don’t wait too long in between meals. Your body signals starvation mode which will make you want to eat more. Instead, eat three meals a day and snacks that you are used to while insuring that they all add up to the 50-25-25 ratio in the end with the right amount of calories. If you do the above your running diet will be quite effective.


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