Get Lean, Get Fast and Stay Strong

Is there a perfect race weight? Can you maintain muscle mass and be a distance runner? Will being stronger make you a better runner?

These are all questions that have been coming up more and more lately, which is why you’ve seen more about them! I reached out once again for answers to a phenomenal coach – Elizabeth at Inpny Coaching for tips because I’ve seen her athletes and they define Get lean, Get Fast and Stay Strong.

As a lifelong competitive athlete and in more recent years nutrition coach, I've seen my share of runners struggling with proper fueling.

Most of my clients come to me with a three-part request “I want to lose x-amount weight, I want to PR and I want XYZ (more energy/better sleep/less injuries). ”

Each of these is doable but only if you train smart and create a very balanced eating plan. As much as we'd all love it, there is no magic bullet, no headline grabbing diet and no easy path to success.

I'm going to remind you of some of the dangers of not eating enough, warning signs to look out for that your body is suffering and then offer 7 valuable tips for getting on the fast track... pun intended! ElizFinish

Racing Weight or Underfueled?
I've never been to a race where you have to step on a scale before you are allowed to start– your results are based on your time and no one factors in your weight when determining that number. Signs you are over trainined and under fueled - how to fix it to achieve your race goalsWhile it's true that a 'leaner' athlete can run faster, it's a fine line between lean and thin. If you're not eating enough, your body will suffer in the long run.

Some real and very serious consequences of restricting calories when training for endurance events include:

  • reduced cardiac output
  • low energy
  • muscle breakdown
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • a weakened immune system
  • hormonal imbalances
  • lowered bone density
  • injury

What you eat can make the difference between performing at your best or sitting on the sidelines. Tired, sore muscles and stuck in a training plateau? – I call this the new normal. In our quest to get tougher, suffer more and be warrior athletes, we tend to ignore the red flags that something isn't right.

Telltale signs that you're not fueling correctly include:

  • Your body isn't recovering from workouts
  • You're constantly getting sick
  • You aren't sleeping through the night
  • Your performance isn't improving despite increased training
  • You've lost the motivation to work out.

Fueling For Performance: The Fast Track 7
How to get lean, get fast and stay strong during trainingFood Journal – Take one week to write down everything you eat, how you feel and how that influenced your training. Many athletes don't realize the direct correlation between food and performance and often have no idea what they are actually consuming.

Being aware is the first step towards making positive changes. After that week, make a plan that gives your body everything it needs (or have a nutritionist help you) and then stop obsessing.
Read more >> How to make food journaling really work

Know Your Numbers – While I don't encourage people to count calories you should know about how many you need to eat during the day and make sure you're getting enough. I recommend focusing on macro/micro nutrients – fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
Read more >> Understanding your calorie burn and needs

Choose Wisely – Whole, real, unprocessed foods should be the building blocks and foundation of your diet. You'd never buy cheap running shoes; why put fake, low cost food into your body? Nutrient rich vegetables, grains, fruits and fats are an essential part of your training plan. Runners need vitamins and minerals – make food choices that provide you with ample amounts of iron, magnesium, folate, Omega 3's and Vitamins D,A,C and E.

Limit Sports Products – While they can be big a convenience, they aren't always the right choice. Gels, blocks, bars and sugary caffeine-heavy hydration beverages not only get in the way of your weight goals but they also do a number on your gut. There is a time and place for these products but a 45 minute run isn't it.
Limit the use of sports products and other tips to get leaner while getting fasterEat correctly throughout the day and your body will have enough energy to get through that workout. If you are training longer, try making your own snacks with nut butter, dried fruit and salted sweet potato chunks. Look for sports products made from whole food ingredients and include them only when your training calls for it.
Read more >> How to fuel training with whole foods

Fuel Smart – The most important meal of the day is...all of them.It's true, but especially so for the meal you have directly after your workout.

Plan your healthiest eating around your training runs and workouts. After you've exercised, your body is in a weakened state and needs all the help it can get to repair and rebuild. If you want that PR this is the best gift you can give your body.
Read more >> 17 protein packed post workout green smoothies

Skipping Is For suckers – No one wins when you skip meals! You are setting yourself up for overeating later, impairing your bodies ability to recover and rebuild muscle, raising cortisol levels and disrupting your hormonal system. Make sure you eat on a regular basis throughout the day.

Role Model – I find it incredibly valuable to have a sports/nutrition role model. Look at other athletes that are leaders in their field (professional or amateur) who are performing at their best, not promoting crazy diets and achieving that fueling balance.

Mine is Meredith Kessler – a professional triathlete and all around incredible woman. Her body is a vehicle for performance and she trains harder than any human being I've ever met.

Meredith maintains that healthy, strong and fast body by eating enough of all the right foods. She doesn't diet, she doesn't cut calories and she doesn't obsess over a number on the scale. MeredithNot eating correctly will fail to make you leaner and sabotage your training by leaving your muscles under-fueled for maximum performance.

The key to achieving your goal of getting lean while running fast is about finding a balance between training and nutrition. I hope this has helped raise awareness on the importance of food in nailing your running goals.

Sacrificing performance for weight loss? Sports Nutritionist @INPYN shows how to do both on @runtothefinish

Read More:
Is your workout causing weight gain
Ultimate guide to managing marathon hunger

Hi Run To The Finish readers– when Amanda contacted me about writing a post around fueling for performance I jumped at the chance, having been a loyal reader for years. Recently, I started my own blog (can anyone say 'late to the party') and I couldn't think of a better way to reach thousands of runners and fitness enthusiasts and share something I'm so passionate about.

Elizabeth Inpyn is a Sports Nutritionist, former NCAA collegiate swimmer and water polo player and multiple 70.3 and Olympic distance triathlete. She works with endurance athletes, triathlon/run clubs and coaches to dial in training and race day nutrition plans from pros to amateurs.

Get connected: Instagram | Twitter | Website

Let’s talk!
What’s your biggest issue with weight while training?

Do you have and ideal race weight you think you need to be?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Blogger Widgets

Clean Eating Meal Plan–Oh She Glows

Way back when I first started blogging, I remember coming across Angela of Oh She Glows who at the time was also a runner and frequently shared her day of eats and workouts…

Clearly she has vanished in the following 7 years and none of you even know who she is.

What’s that? She has a hugely popular blog and vegan cook book?

Oh…well that would explain why she remains one of my go to resources when I am trying to figure out how to make a recipe dairy free. Her photography makes you want to leap through the screen and grab the food and I am sure will convince even your meat eating friends to consider a day of vegan eating.

Angela is far more willing to do recipes with LOTS of steps than I am, so I decided to create a meal plan for next week from recipes that I knew I could and would actually make.
Healthy Vegan Meal Plan - Featuring recipes from Oh She GlowsAll recipes featured below are VEGAN – yes dairy free, meat free and most are gluten free.

Happy Digestion Smoothie 
5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl 
Post Workout Green Smoothies 
High Protein Vegan Breakfast BurritoThis is the kind of thing I go for a few hours after long runs

I am a hummus fiend, this is a great way to switch up nutrients and spread out my veggie love beyond zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower.
Red lentil hummus veggie wrap 
Warm spring salad
Tuna avocado brown rice bowl

Love when I can find a meal that is a base of veggies. Then I can add chickpeas for me or animal protein for David and everyone is happy. And yes please note we do love Mexican food.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash 
Black bean and potato nacho plate

No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies 
Pumpkin oatmeal anytime squares
Super Power Chia Breadok this one is not super easy, but I have made it love it

Other meal plans: Clean eating from FitFoodieFindsA Whisk and Two Wands and a Gluten Free Runner Meal Plan

Other ways to connect with AmandaRunning_motivation_thumb
Instagram: RunToTheFinish

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

What’s SUPplments do you take? Do runners need them?

You like that pun right?

It took me ages to think of it, so I’m glad you LOL’ed, but now it’s time to get down to biznass. Ok, really I’m done now…really.

Because I tend to eat mass amounts of veggies, many folks are surprised to hear that I also still use supplements. Let me give you a few of the key reasons why:

  • smarter people than I take them
  • I push my body hard, a lot
  • I think our food sources are depleted of nutrients
  • they help me digest food to better absorb nutrients
  • I don’t eat much animal protein
  • I can tell I feel better using them

FitFluential and Vitamin Shoppe recently sent me a gift card to go exploring in their store and let’s be honest this is probably more fun for me than looking for shoes {except running shoes, nothing is better than that}.
What Supplements do runners need?In the same style of WIAW {What I Ate Wednesday}, I give you WIBF {What I Bought Friday}! To my great fortune they were having a buy one get one 50% sale on all Vitamin Shoppe products, so here is how we stretched $100.

  • Probiotics Read all about why
  • Digestive Enzymes – have skin issues? this might help!
  • Greens powder – I like to boost my green smoothies anyway I can
  • Men’s multi-vitamin – Dang it why did I bring David.
  • Fish Oil – David suddenly sees the benefit and wants to try it
  • 3 GU gels for upcoming races
  • 2 GU Brew containers – gag, but David likes it…again why did I bring him?

Well as you can see, I shared my goodies, but in the future will remember to do all shopping when he is out of town. Ok not really, I love when he WANTS of his own free will to do something healthy!!

I think going in to places like this can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ASK questions. There are a ton of products and it’s easy to start feeling like yikes I need to take everything!

Understanding which supplements are beneficial for runners

Really we all have different needs a few great selections can go a long ways to keeping your body and mind balanced…well as balanced as we crazy runners get.

I got a great question on my recent post-workout smoothies post asking “do we really need to add protein powder”? Which made me realize I might need to talk more about why supplements can benefit runners in general.

Protein Supplementation:
Here was my response:

Great question and the answer is...it depends.

  1. Protein powder thickens up the smoothie and makes it more satisfying for most people so it actually sticks with you longer than say a juice.
  2. However if you are having the smoothie along side a plate of eggs you're doing great with protein.
  3. If you generally get plenty of protein then no need to supplement at all. I know that my protein intake is pretty low since I don't eat meat, so adding it in here definitely helps me and curbs my appetite.

I personally don’t take a multi-vitamin, but that’s because I use the Vega One protein powder which has so many nutrients in it. I don’t think I need to over do it.

I don’t drink caffeine, so I can only imagine what would happen if I tried any kind of serious energy supplement. However, again I do use Vega Pre-Workout Energizer prior to long runs…but only half a serving. I know I’m weird.  Another natural option which I have used a little more recently is 100% Spirulina.

Getting the down low on supplements for runners from @runtothefinish #FitHappens

A few other things about supplements which I want to make really clear…

Quality matters. If a cheaper vitamin says it has quadruple the values…you should question it. Things don’t have to be more expensive, but the source and the quality matter.

Additives. Take a second to see what the label includes as added..could be milk or soy or gluten or other weird chemicals.

Pay attention. If you start taking something, pay attention to how you feel!! Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. I had to stop taking things a nutritionist recommended because it made my stomach hurt so bad, unfortunately it took me awhile to realize that was the cause.

Read more on sports nutrition:
101 on Electrolytes
Impact of food intolerance in athletes

Do you regularly take any supplements?

Other ways to connect with AmandaRunning_motivation_thumb
Instagram: RunToTheFinish

Pinterest: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Run, Think and Eat like an Elite Runner

What is it that they do differently?

Besides devoting their entire day to training, recovering and eating…ok well that actually pretty much answers what they do differently.

However, we all know there are things we could be adding to our routine, but we make the excuse about time or maybe it’s just lack of knowledge…hence a new book from our favorite Skecher wearing Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi called Meb for Mortals.

I met him once. He’s nice. He’s short. I felt like a giant person, but that seems to be the case with every elite I’ve met except Ryan Hall.

Anyhow, back to what you really want to know…how can we mere mortals take lessons from what they are doing to improve our own running. Tips from Elite Runner Meb Keflezighi to improve your running performance

I encourage you to get the book because I just think the more we read about running the more inspired we are to take new actions and keep going. BUT some of you have told me you don’t have time, so here are some of the highlights.

Meb provides visual examples of a set of speed and strength drills he does 2-3 times every week and says they are one of his biggest keys to eliminating injury. He goes so far as to say it would be worth running 1-2 miles less any given week to put time towards these.

Examples: Variations on skipping, lateral movements, carioca

He knows not everyone believes in its value, but he has seen the benefits and now stretches repeatedly throughout the day. His most important session for stretching is post run..I was not sold on static stretching before the run.

A few of his stretches gave me some new ideas and I have in fact been using them already. For example this hamstring stretch has you turning your foot and inward and out to get all the different heads of the muscle.Meb for Mortals - Example of hamstring stretch

Choices, Not Sacrifices.
Love. Love. Love. In a section about mindset, he gets really clear that when he doesn’t eat dessert or goes to bed early this isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a choice to get closer to his goal. Can you imagine making that one shift in thinking?

“Choice has a connotation of working toward something that’s important to you: “I could do this, but instead I’ll choose a different path that will better enable me to meet my goal.”

Strength Training.
Stay injury free, work on your imbalances with strength training moves that target your whole body. The focus here is not on lifting heavy, but on functional movements that involve using the stability ball and body weight. He devotes nearly 20 pages to images showing all the different moves he does and I’m fairly certain if I took the time they would all benefit me {except balancing on the stability ball on my knees…that’s just asking for a concussion}. Meb For Mortals - Strength Train with balance ball

Race Day.
I LOVE that Meb says he is slow to warm up because hello that is me to a T. What surprised me though was the amount of miles he might run prior to a race in order to get warmed up: he ran a 3 mile warm-up before winning the Boston Marathon.

“Racing is like graduation day. It’s the opportunity to put all your hard work toward giving 100 percent, physically and mentally.”

He talks a lot here about poor sleep the night before a race and what to do if that’s you…hint it can be an advantage, so don’t stress out!!

I wanna be like @runmeb >> Fabulous training tips from #mebformortals on @runtothefinish

Read more:
Tips for thinking like an elite runner
50 best running books of all time

Were you crying and cheering like I was for Meb in Boston last year?

What other questions do you have for the elites?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Healthy Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas - Gluten Free and Vegan Options

Mexican..gluten free?? Dairy free too?? Is it even worth it?!

Heck to the yes!! 

David beat me by 1 point in the NCAA brackets that we filled out, so I agreed to make any meal of his choosing. For the first time in our history of being together he asked for enchiladas…we eat a lot of Mexican, but this has never come up and it turns out this is another easy crockpot moment.Crockpot Enchiladas - A healthy meal that they won't even know is healthy!

Except of course I have a challenge, one many of you share!

How to make something that doesn’t look or sound too healthy and yet have it meet all my requirements: actually be healthy, dairy free and gluten free. The result was not surprisingly a little mix and match of cooking to satisfy everyone. Healthy Crockpot Enchiladas - Make with chicken or veggies..or mix and match to feed everyone like I did. Gluten Free and Dairy Free optionsCrockpot Chicken Enchiladas

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
8 Udi’s Gluten Free tortillas
1 zucchini spiralized
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded (for David)
1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese (for me)


  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place chicken in slow cooker, top with salsa, taco seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
  • Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove chicken and use forks to shred. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick spray (or coconut oil)
  • Place 1/2 cup of chicken mixture on tortilla
  • Roll up, place in dish with edges overlapping so they don’t unroll
  • Top enchiladas with enchilada sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes

David requested refried beans and rice to fully round out his Mexican experience, so I obliged while mine per usual turned in to a bit more of a salad thanks to a spiralized zucchini.

Going gluten free doesn’t have to mean never having breads or tortillas again. It just means finding smarter choices and of course not leaning too far to packaged foods that are gluten free by default…yes I still remember by boss saying “I can’t figure out what to eat, but I know Snickers is gluten free”.

I’m ready for an easy healthy Mexican meal tonight! Crockpot Enchilads from @runtothefinish

Find more ideas, tips and tricks to enjoy gluten free eating from the Udi’s Ambassador team and connect with them on Facebook for future coupons and recipes.

Do you make bets around who has to cook?

Any meals you have to make multiple versions of?

Other ways to connect with AmandaRunning_motivation_thumb
Instagram: RunToTheFinish

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.