Fuel up runners: Eat to run

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)- Working with many athletes over the years, I have been shocked at how many “run to eat”, instead of “eating to run”. As many runners ramp up their training for Gazelle Girl or the River Bank Run, focusing on your diet will help to ensure that you cross the finish line feeling great, looking great and most importantly uninjured. Many experts agree, fitness is 80% nutrition and 20% training.

Use your sport as a reason to eat clean –not an excuse to make poor food choices. Your body is a machine so give it the best fuel, nutrient dense organic whole foods.

Recommended eats:

Vegetables: Dark leafy greens and brightly colored veggies such as, beets and sweet potatoes.

Lean proteins: Tempeh, edamame, tofu, seitan (glutenous), legumes, chicken or turkey breast, lean meats, fish and egg whites.

Complex carbohydrates: Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa and millet.

Fruits: Berries and melon because they have a low glycemic index, meaning they will keep your blood sugar stable.

Healthy fats: Raw almonds, raw almond butter, natural peanut butter, avocados, flax seed, hemp seed, coconut oil, and olive oil are great choices. Look for cold pressed extra virgin oils when possible. It’s important to consume fats in our diet but use them sparingly.

Also, make sure to eat every three hours to keep your metabolism burning. Another key is to stay properly hydrated with purified water. Athletes should be drinking 2/3 of their body weight in ounces daily. If you find yourself thinking, “I ran today so I can eat anything I want” or, “I can eat junk, I’ll burn it off”, it’s time to focus on how you are fueling your body. Remember, fitness starts in the kitchen.

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