While my book can get you through all the key areas of training, it’s not designed to be a top sports nutrition book.
That’s because I’m not a Registered Dietitian and your running coach, your personal trainer, your gym buddy shouldn’t be your source for a deep dive on nutrition information.
An RD is some one with years of school and in person, hands on experience understanding exactly how people respond to nutrition. A Sports RD has done additional work to really understand athletes.
And the one’s with a sports nutrition focus have worked with TONS of athletes, read the research and the studies to come up with the best information.
Not interested in all the research and just want it boiled down for you?
I teamed up with runner focused Registered Dietitian Serena Marie to create a course that helps you create an actionable plan to perform your best with the right fuel.
Best Sports Nutrition Books
What I’m looking for is something that provides actionable advice.
Information that helps you better understand what’s going on with your training and then determining what will truly work best for your body.
I’ve included a plant based option for any runners focused on that, but it will be useful to everyone in increasing their veggie intake.
Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Athlete
Marni is actually someone I had the pleasure of meeting nearly a decade ago. She not only walks the walk of what she teaches, but is a coach to a high performing team of triathletes.
They perform because they fuel!
In fact, I’ve had Marni on the blog previously helping to debunk some running nutrition fads.
What can you expect from Marni?
“I often hear from my athletes that dairy is bad or that sugar is off-limits during competition season. Right now, the current sports nutrition trend is to restrict carbohydrate intake. I tell athletes that being mindful of what you eat is important, but adhering to only one set of sports nutrition principles is short-sighted.
Applying a restrictive approach to sports nutrition often ignores long-term health and performance consequences—especially if the diet is seen as a “quick fix” to boost performance or change body composition. In this book, I take a more all-inclusive approach.
I’ll give you practical nutrition strategies to help you enhance sports performance, fitness, and long-lasting health.”
This is advice that’s going to carry you through many years of training to make not only the miles feel stronger, but ensure you are truly healthy.
Bigger Leaner Stronger
He also has a women’s version, but it was woefully undifferentiated so either copy will get you all the baseline information. His approach as a straight shooter is one that I like.
His focus is definitely more on aesthetics, but it’s all done in a healthy way.
- You’ll learn a ton about strength training which runners need.
- If you want to truly understand macros, this will do it.
- Understanding of insulin and high sugar foods on our body.
- How not to over complicate meals and food (probably why I like this, I’m not a huge cook).
- Unlike some of the other books he is not an RD! He is a personal trainer with years of hands on experience.
Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook
I feel like this is the handbook that every coach works from. She is a recognized leader in the running world on sports nutrition.
I’m also going to be super honest and say it’s not my personal favorite. BUT most of the sports nutrition RD’s I talk to say they recommend it, so I felt it had to be on the list! I mean it’s on the 6th edition, the book is doing a lot things right.
“If you aren’t eating enough, your body works hard to maintain heat in the core, but your hands and feet are always cold, and you think, “oh I have raynauds disease”, well, it is amazing the amount of people who do not have raynauds disease, they are just undereating and when they eat more, their hands and feet don’t get cold anymore.”
– from her great interview on Running For Real
Plenty of great charts, diagrams and recipes to help you put what you’re learning in to practice.
The Plant Based Athlete
Again, this is another great resource to break down macros, protein, carbs, fats and all the myths surrounding plant based nutrition. It’s filled with information to help you truly fuel your body correctly and have the best possible training.
I love that they give real life examples of different athletes. Allowing you to see how it has impacted their life. And of course, you know I’m a fan of books that remind you to find what works for you!
“really onto something when she experimented with different types of plant-based diets to find what was optimal for her. She played around with her macronutrient ratios until she found that sweet spot that best supported her performance and athletic goals.”
Charts that help you quickly think about how to build plant based meals and plenty of ideas, will make this a lasting resource.
This one won’t tell you how to eat, but it’s extremely eye opening about the variety of diets out there.
“…people want to believe that a certain way of eating is the best way because it gives them a sense of identity and a feeling of belonging.”
Why do you think Paleo is bigger in the CrossFit community or Veganism is bigger in yoga? Really they could swap places and be just the same…getting back to our roots, eating naturally, feeling better. Isn’t that the main goal of both diets?
I love the way he breaks down why there are testimonials for every diet, why we crave certain foods and truly what we need to know to find what works for us.
Cooking as a Runner
Beyond sports nutrition books that are going to teach you things and also include recipes, there are of course incredible books devoted to help you in the kitchen.
Please don’t skip over the knowledge piece first. That seems to help us truly put it all in to action, rather than having some beautiful books that we flip through and think “that would be nice to make”.
- Cook, Eat, Run — Also has great tips on fueling your workouts!
- Run Fast, Eat Slow
- The Athlete’s Palate
And if you’re looking for more book recommendations:
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