I have heard of a few endurance athletes who dream of post run cookies and pizza…ok most of us at some point.
But during training those foods may hinder our recovery and limit our potential. Knowing this area is one that many of the Clean and Lean participants struggle with I reached out to someone who can speak from experience…
Hello! I’m Lindsay Cotter, blogger and Nutrition Specialist over at Cotter Crunch!
It just so happens that I have been married to a professional endurance athlete who actually wanted my advice and help in the kitchen. What I’ve come to learn is that every body works differently in regards to fueling and race day nutrition, but the one thing that all endurance athletes do work similarly in is their NEED for is GOOD CLEAN EATS the 75% of time they’re not training.
Let me explain.
My husband knows exactly what fuel works for him during his long training sessions, his hard training sessions, and during races. This basically comes from trial and error.
Clean eating isn’t as important here as sometimes just getting calories in, and without stomach distress. BUT…the cleaner the better, right?
The meals that matter most are the ones that follow the 24 hours post workout/race/etc. This is where the body recovers, heals, and absorbs nutrients.
Timing is everything! (source below: Coach Matt Dixon)Notice the last section, 45-90 minutes POST TRAINING. This is where it counts, REAL FOOD that is. Not only are replenishing your calories, you are now replenishing your NUTRIENTS!
A Good 4:1 ratio of Carbs and Protein…examples:
– Brown rice and eggs
– Turkey wrap
– Oatmeal and cottage cheese
– Cheese on GF toast
– Quinoa and chicken or pork bowl
The meals consumed after that post race/workout meal should now be protein/fat/vegetable based.
These are the “building blocks” of good nutrition, and your body will naturally crave them if you fueled properly before. And remember this isn’t about perfection or being a zealot about your food! Stop focusing on eliminating foods and get focused on how you can include anti-inflammatory foods and more veggies.Do endurance athletes really need to worry about what they eat? Tips from @cottercrunch Click To Tweet
– Salmon, steamed veggies, and avocado salad
– Steak kabobs
– Bell peppers stuffed with Tempeh or Tofu, Vegan cheese on top, and then roasted or broiled
– Grilled chicken on a bed of steamed spinach with crumbled feta, cucumber, tomatoes, and olives
– Warm breakfast salad
These are just a few examples of healthy protein/fat/veggie based meals.
It’s also important to remember that you need to get in ENOUGH calories to prevent muscle wasting. A consistent period of being in calorie deficit means your body will begin to use muscles, not fat, to provide the energy you need for those long workouts.
Read more on maintaining muscle mass with endurance training >>
Now we must be realistic, this isn’t always going happen. There will be times when life happens, we’re stuck without proper food, etc.
Try to be prepared for that I’m too tired to cook post workout moment or the days on the road, but when you’re not, just don’t stress about it.
If you can nail your nutrition 80-90% of time, then that’s great! The other 10% of the time, do whatcha can don’t freak out about it. Sometimes that stress just causes more damage. Ya know?See even the elites aren’t perfect…though this was probably Lindsey’s gluten free, dairy free amazing Vegan Maple Cashew Cream Cheese frosting.
In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff!
Hope you found these tips somewhat useful.
Lindsay writes at CotterCrunch.com where you can find more amazing healthy recipes on enjoying life and the endurance journey.
She is also the creator/owner of Healthy Bites. These GLUTEN FREE snacks are great for training and healthy snacking! Real food ingredients! Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more gluten free ideas!
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