National Nutrition Month Featured Blogger: Heather Calcote, RD
National Nutrition Month is about living a healthy lifestyle, which means eating right AND staying active! Our featured blogger, Heather Caclote, RD has learned from experience what it takes to fuel properly while staying active and is here to share her tips with us. Check out Heather’s blog, Dietitian on the Run, for your chance to win a case of our 3 newest CHO flavors!
(RD) Running Dietitian: Learning to Fuel and Go
I learn something new every time I race, but my first marathon was tough – fuel smart, run strong; fuel poorly, pay the price. As a Dietitian, it was hard to admit that sports nutrition had completely eluded me. I knew the science, but in execution, quite a few mistakes were made. Dehydration, nausea and fatigue set in long before my legs deserved.
Three marathons later and I’ve got most of my own quirks figured out! It can take a lot of trial and error, but knowing the basics of fueling on-the-go will get you where you’re running (riding, hiking, walking, etc).
First, there’s the science: our muscles and brain use glucose (a form of sugar) as the primary fuel to function. When we exercise, they burn through what is readily available in the muscles & liver (stored as glycogen). That “hitting the wall” feeling results from the depletion of your body’s glucose storage and the need to be refueled.
Then, there’s the art: fuel sources that replace what you’re burning should be carbohydrate-based. Some will work, others may strongly disagree with you (I speak from experience!). There are a wide variety of options in sport-specific products, which provide the needed sugars (carbohydrates), and electrolytes (sodium, potassium). And of course, “real” food works too!
Watch the clock, and follow these general timing guidelines:
- <60 minutes or less of exercise: Drink water as needed.
- 60-75 minutes of exercise: 100-250 calories at around 30-40 minutes; rehydrate with water and/or sport drink as needed.**
- >75 minutes of exercise: 100-250 calories per 30-40 minutes, and/or 14-16 oz of fluid (water and/or sports drink) per hour.**
**Specific caloric and fluid ounce needs differ based on athlete’s weight, endurance level, the weather and amount of time spent exercising.
Remember to refuel! It’s essential to replenish what you deplete. Refuel within 30 minutes of a workout to put carbs back into storage, and provide protein for muscle repair and building. Greek yogurt is an ideal post-workout snack, with a great balance of sugars & protein!
My favorite long-run refueling snack is a Smoothie:
- 6oz 0% Plain Chobani
- 1 banana
- 1/2c frozen fruit
- 1 cup ice
- Optional: 1 tbsp nut butter
Fueling plans will differ with each runner. If you’re training for endurance and tackling new distances, be ready to experiment! You’ll quickly find out what doesn’t work for you, but once the nutrition facts align and you master the art, your muscles and mind will reward you with the miles. It’s worth every step!
Don’t forget to stop on by Heather’s blog to enter to win a case of fuel…I mean CHO!
Heather Calcote is a Registered Dietitian (RD) in Washington, DC and author of the blog, Dietitian on the Run. She works in Corporate Wellness and Nutrition Counseling, coaching, event-planning, writing & educating. She eats real food, considers running a lifestyle, prioritizes balance, and would never turn down a Colorado-brewed IPA.