Are you logging heavy mileage on the road? On your bike or running, these strategies and tips will work for you when utilized. Stick to your macronutrients. Carbohydrates, fats and protein. A good balance of your macronutrients will make you a stronger athlete. When looking at carbohydrates, look at complex carbohydrates. As a plant based athlete, I look to my whole grains and balance this with healthy fats to be strong and work to my peak performance. This can take more time meal prepping. The time put into meal planning throughout your training, gives you more time to train and recovery with less stress. Whether you are plant based or eat meat athlete, I highly suggest meal planning during your training. You can do this.
Whether you run or cycle. Your body burns a mixture of carbohydrate and fat. The harder your cadence, the higher the proportion of carbohydrate you utilize. The slower your cadence, the higher proportion of fat you utilize.
While walking, you are burning more than half of the calories you burn that are provided by the breakdown of fat. As you increase your cadence or pace while cycling and/or running, you start to utilize less fat and more carbohydrate.
An example of an easy recovery run may be fueled by 65 percent carbohydrate and 35 percent of the fuel you utilize by the breakdown of carbohydrate.
Carbohydrates are actually a more efficient energy source than fat. The breakdown of fat requires more oxygen per calorie than that of carbohydrate.
Fat doesn’t produce energy aerobically, as efficient as the carbohydrate does. You cannot run fast or cycle fast with just burning through fat.
The body utilizes several survival strategies to keep you from running out of carbohydrate stores while being physically active. One strategy is when the body begins utilizing more fat when carbohydrate levels are low.
When you suddenly need to slow down in along run or long bike ride. Perhaps, it is not dehydration. It just may be that of Glycogen depletion. There are no warning signs of Glycogen depletion typically until it is too late. Glycogen depletion generally does not occur until it is too late. As an active person on the move, bring snacks to revive these glycogen levels.
Rule of prevention of depletion. Glycogen loading, also known as Carbohydrate loading. The practice of manipulating you’re eating regimen and training to increase your glycogen levels.
Strategies you can utilize to increase your glycogen replenishment while in training:
- Don’t wait until it is too late
- Bring along easy to digest carbohydrate drinks and foods. This will speed your glycogen resynthesizes.
- Recommended 1 gram of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight within the first 10-15 minutes post workout. Additionally, another gram per kg of body weight over the next three hours.
- Increase your carbohydrate intake.
- Eat high Glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of a food is determined by the effect it has on your blood glucose levels. High glycemic foods can cause a large increase in your blood glucose levels. Low glycemic index foods will have lesser effect.
- During the three to five hours at most post workout session, you will be replenished more quickly if you eat high glycemic index foods. Examples include: potatoes, rice cakes, breads, bagels and crackers.
Fat can be utilized as fuel. This is more efficient when matched with carbohydrates. Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, oils, and a variety of fish. I highly recommend finding recipes and making them your own.
Here’s a few to add to your grocery list: Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachio, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, flax/.chia seeds, unrefined coconut oil, hemp seeds, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, olives, avocados, pumpkin seeds, fatty fish, almond butter and many more.
Example of a Carbohydrate loading day for a 140 -150lb athlete:
1 bagel with 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or almond butter (71 g)
1 medium banana (27 g)
8 ounces Greek yogurt with blueberries (41 g)
8 ounces orange juice (26 g)
2 Granola Bars (29 g)
8 ounces Gatorade or coconut water (14 g)
1 large baked potato with 1/4 cup salsa (69 g)
1 slice of bread (40 g)
8 ounces chocolate milk or almond/coconut milk (26 g)
1 Clif Bar (42 g)
8 ounces Gatorade or coconut water (14 g)
1 chicken or fish burrito with rice, corn salsa, and black beans (105 g)
Carb Total 504g
Keeping meals spread out is referenced as grazing. Grazing your meals every 2-3 hours throughout the day to help keep you fueled efficiently throughout your day. This especially important during training, keeping your energy levels high and you feel great too!
The role of protein. Your body needs protein to repair damaged muscles. To reproduce red blood cells to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen to your muscles.
The run down: to ultimately produce mitochondria in your muscles to produce energy aerobically, to maintain an overall strong immune system. Building enzymes and hormones that keep your body functioning.
As an endurance athlete, your protein needs are elevated. This is because of the greater wear and tear on the muscle tissue and red blood cells. The need perhaps for more mitochondria in the system. The recommendations for daily protein needs are generally 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.
Weight (lbs.) Weight (kg) Protein intake (g/day)
100 45 55-80
120 55 65-95
140 64 75-110
160 73 85-130
180 82 99-145
200 91 110-165
Too much protein can have a negative impact on your performance. If you eat too much protein, you may not be consuming enough carbohydrate. This type of regimen would reduce your energy levels and you wouldn’t feel so good. What would happen? Your body would utilize the excess protein as energy. This is known as a process of removing waste products from the body. This adds stress to the kidneys and can lead to dehydration.
With implementing macronutrients into your regimen. Keep a balance of your carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Be your own scientists and experiment what works the best. I recommend exploring recipes and making them your own. Finding out what works and what doesn’t work for you. Don’t get caught up in what other athletes are doing. You just do you. You are awesome.
Most importantly, Have fun and enjoy the ride.
Clark. N. (2013). “Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook”. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Fifth Edition.
Burke. L.M. (2007).”Nutrition strategies for the marathon: fuel for training and racing. Sports medicine. 37(4/5):344-347.
Eberle, S.G. (2007). Endurance sports nutrition (2nd edition). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Larson-Meyer, D.E. (2006). Vegetarian sports Nutrition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Coach Ali is a Personal Trainer, Group fitness Instructor, Nutrition coach, and Yoga instructor. Ali loves anything with fun and adventure in it. From cycling with She rides, to thriving in her running adventures and hiking and summiting NH's 48 4,000 footers with friends and her two adventure dogs fun is top priority!
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