What Should I Eat While Training for Running? | Q+A

What Should I Eat While Training for Running? | Q+A

Need some advice for training specifically for running?

See what kind of foods may help with your running. No matter if you are training for a marathon or just want to run for fun!

 

Question:

I am by no means an apex athlete or anything.  However, I would like to start to train for an 8k run next March.  I currently do workout with a trainer at the Mt. Prospect Club (who’s awesome by the way).  Can you recommend an eating plan or point me to some resources to help me make the best decision when it comes to nutrition and my training?  Thanks in advance for your time.

-Robert T.

Answer:

Bravo on planning well ahead of time, Robert.  Let’s say that someone starting out jogs at 12-15 minutes per mile.  Your total jog time also depends on how far your current distance is. Conservatively, let’s say that it’s 2 miles. So perhaps you’re moving 24-30 minutes now.  By March, you’d like to be running faster 10-12 minute miles to complete the 8K (5 mile) race in about an hour. Given the time and energy expended, your training diet will not be much different than that for your current workouts with your trainer, but may be comprised of more carbohydrate and ample fluids.

breakfast

Your initial nutrition plan should be to support your in-gym training & short runs, and to experiment with what foods your gut can tolerate prior to a morning race. Pre-workout nutrition is key so you have the fuel you need to complete an exercise session without feeling drained. Read more about fueling up by clicking here. A bowl of cold cereal with milk might sit well for some individuals but be too slushy for others. An egg white, half an English muffin and half a banana may be all that you need after you wake up to have a successful workout an hour later. Now is the time to try whatever smoothies, protein shakes or bars you might like.

By January, you’ll want to shift your focus to eliminating heavy fats and big meals that make you sluggish, as well as cutting back on alcohol, desserts, and late evening eating. Your muscle cells will be in full training mode to become more efficient aerobically, and they’ll need lots of nutritional support. Balanced lunch and dinner meals mean a plate with 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.), 1/4 lean protein (poultry, fish, lean meats) and a tablespoon of healthy plant fat. Picture a big bowl of shrimp and vegetables stir-fried in oil with just one scoop of rice on the side. For heartier breakfasts on non-run days, you can pick a starch, protein, fruit and milk product such as oatmeal with raisins, nuts and low fat milk. Add a glass of water to your daily fluid intake.

For the few weeks preceding the race, it’s all about ready fuel and recovery as you will probably be running more often and for longer. Read more about recovery nutrition by clicking here. Having adequate glycogen stores will give you sustained energy beyond the blood sugar derived from your most recent meal. The key to muscle glycogen is complex carbohydrate intake, not just before a run, but daily at each meal. Picture the meal balance described in the last paragraph with whole grains, beans, or corn. Then add starch such as pretzels or popcorn at snacks, washed down with another additional glass of water.

You can also read the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics article “Beginners Guide to Running Your Personal Best” by clicking here.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Serve Up Joy This Season

Serve Up Joy This Season

This article was contributed by Debbie J., MS, RD

Joy In the Season

Pleasure in eating is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can be detrimental. The key is to choose the foods that make you feel good and only eat the amount that you need, not what you want. So what foods make you feel good? Though the answer may differ from person to person, science shows certain foods or nutrients really do help us feel more energetic or perk up our mood. Our hormones and neurotransmitters (see box below) are largely responsible for our emotions. What we eat may impact their production and thus, our mood. In addition, psychological factors surrounding eating may have a strong impact on our mood. Through experience, we associate certain feelings with some foods we eat.

The Foods + Nutrients

  • Your favorite foods, sometimes associated with fond memories, can trigger positive emotions.
  • What you consider luxury food may bring you bliss.
  • Your comfort foods, typically associated with warmth and caring, may make you feel at ease.
  • Fish, seafood, nuts & nut oils (Omega-3 fatty acids) are linked with dopamine and serotonin.
  • Starches, such as rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, oats, fruit, and vegetables contain Carbohydrates that increase blood sugar, causing a release of serotonin* and a surge in dopamine.
  •  Whole grains, pork, yeast, beans, nuts, peas, tomatoes, oranges, eggs contain Thiamine, which influences mood states, may increase sociability, energy levels and well-being.
  •  High protein foods, such as meats, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, and dairy contain Tyrosine and phenylalanine, which are precursors of dopamine and norepinephrine.
  • Quercetin, which can increase serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, is found in foods such as Apples, kale, dark berries, peppers, onion and even green tea.
  • Tuna, beef, rice, poultry, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, and bananas contain Vitamin B-6, which is needed in the production of norepinephrine.

Portion Control

Tailoring portions to what you need can be a challenge with family gatherings, holiday buffets and potlucks. The key to controlling portions without feeling restricted is to focus on the positive of what you serve your body. Be grateful for small amounts that are enough to provide pleasure without indulgence or gluttony. Remember that the flavors and sensation of eating are short-lived while the gastric and hormonal effects are long-lasting. A content stomach is one that’s satisfied but not full, rather than a stuffed one that brings later discomfort. Learn more about the effects of eating too much from a previous post here.

Tips to portion control

  • Don’t go more than 5 hours without eating – try to have a small snack handy.
  • Consider drinking a full glass of water before meals.
  • Eat when you are physically hungry, not appetite-driven or bored.
  • Use smaller plates, cups and bowls to help fool your eyes into thinking you have more.
  • Eat the vegetables and fruit on your plate first to fill up with fewer calories.
  • Consume enough to be comfortable and no longer feel hungry.
  • Distance yourself from the serving area to prevent mindless nibbling.
  • When you first perceive you may be finished, cleanse your palate to end eating.

So remember, holiday eating can be fun when you try to eat foods that make you feel good and recognize that portion control is not the enemy. Enjoy the holidays with those near you, and tell us what feel-good foods you made this year by leaving a comment below!

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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How Much Sugar Should You Have in a Day? | Q+A

How Much Sugar Should You Have in a Day? | Q+A

How much sugar do you consume in a day?

Find out nutrition tips below about sugar intake and where to get the best sugars from.

 

Question:

What is the high and low for a healthy daily sugar consumption?

-Michael B.

 

 

Answer:

“Sugar” includes small carbohydrate compounds, both natural and added. Let’s start with natural…

Natural sugars such as fructose and lactose comprise 50-100% of the calories from fruit and non-fat milk and 25% calories from some vegetables, so they make up a small base portion of the diet. There are minimal sugars in protein sources (egg, meat, fish, poultry) and most unprocessed starches (e.g. rice, oats), while none in pure fats. Natural sugars are not restricted – there are healthy fruitarians – although I will say that traditional strained juices are not recommended, and only endurance/pro athletes can probably balance out their diet while still eating 5+ servings of fruit.

The word sugar written into a pile of white granulated sugar

Added sugars, either for flavor or structure, are what we are concerned with. Corn syrup, table sugar, beet or cane sugar, honey, molasses, agave syrup and concentrated fruit juice are from natural sources, but used as sweeteners in food products and recipes. There are many diets that may reflect the newest 2015 US Dietary Guidelines for sugar consumption, including vegetarian, Mediterranean, higher-protein/modest carbohydrate, and medically prescribed patterns. Each one can affect an energy balanced diet with no more than 10% of daily calories coming from added sugars. This would be the high that you refer to in your question.

The limit is not a free license to eat ‘clean’ for a week then splurge on a dessert buffet, sending your body into a blood sugar spike. We’re talking about daily balance. A teaspoon of jam on toast, a drizzle of caramel in coffee, a splash of honey mustard dressing on a salad, and a tablespoon of sweet Thai chili sauce on salmon could hit the 10% mark for added sugar in a smaller diet. The idea is to consume your needed amounts of healthy protein, carbohydrate and fats, then only add sugars to meet your remaining calorie goals if not already met.

On the low end, you can survive without any sugar whatsoever if you eat enough other carbohydrates, but you’d be missing all the benefits from fruits, milk products and several vegetables which would NOT be healthy. No added sugar is certainly possible, though! It just means avoiding most condiments (think ketchup, teriyaki, marinara, BBQ sauce, dressings), sport or soft drinks, and processed foods, while eating wholesome mostly home-prepared foods. The result would not necessarily be bland. For example, oatmeal could be sweetened with dried fruit and cinnamon, meats can be marinated in vinegar or dry-rubbed, plain yogurt can be jazzed up with berries and nuts, and pasta can be dressed with diced tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.

Let us know the successes you’ve had in reducing added sugars by commenting below!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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12 Days of LA Fitness

12 Days of LA Fitness

12 Days of LA Fitness Challenge

The twelve days of fitness, is an exciting way to get into the holiday spirit this year! Each day, a workout will be added on to each other until you hit the twelfth day with 12 exercises in total. Now, follow along to the catchy song below and get your workout in for the 12 Days of Fitness. What are you waiting for? Start singing!

final-12-days-of-fitness

Day 1

  • On the first day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to one minute of a wall sit.

Day 2

  • On the second day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to do 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 3

  • On the third day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 4

  • On the fourth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 5

  • On the fifth day of fitness, LA fitness challenged me to 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 6

  • On the sixth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 6 lunches each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen row, and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 7

  • On the seventh day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 8

  • On the eighth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 8 mountain climbers, 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 9

  • On the ninth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 9 lateral raises, 8 mountain climbers, 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 10

  • On the tenth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 10 cherry pickers, 9 lateral raises, 8 mountain climbers, 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 11

  • On the eleventh day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 11 incline sit-ups, 10 cherry pickers, 9 lateral raises, 8 mountain climbers, 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

Day 12

  • On the twelfth day of fitness, LA Fitness challenged me to 12 minutes running, 11 incline sit-ups, 10 cherry pickers, 9 lateral raises, 8 mountain climbers, 7 solid push-ups, 6 lunges each leg, 5 jumping jacks, 4 sumo squats, 3 box jumps, 2 dozen rows and one minute of a wall sit.

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What Does it Take to Win a Club League Basketball Championship?

What Does it Take to Win a Club League Basketball Championship?

Interested in Club Leagues?

Find out more about Basketball Club Leagues here.

Check out all of the exciting action of the Club League basketball game below!

Club League Atmosphere

The sound of squeaking shoes on a shiny gym floor, the swish of the net and the feel of competition, all describe the atmosphere of a LA Fitness Club Leagues championship basketball game. What’s the winning prize? The prize is to bring home the victory of the Club Leagues championship, win a championship t-shirt and build a bond with team members that will last a lifetime.

Championship Game Recap

To make it to the championship game in a competitive Club League is an accomplishment! On Thursday November 17, 2016 in Irvine, CA two teams squared off in a thrilling championship game. Both the Gold team and the Blue team played hard, but only one team came out victorious.

To start the game, the Gold team led on a high note by scoring a 3-pointer & 2 free-throws early in the game. As the first half concluded, the Blue team came back and took the lead 28 to 26.

In the second 20-minute half, the Gold team narrowed the margin with a few free-throws and took the lead 43 to 41. The competition was fierce and the score continued to go back and forth in the second half. Ultimately, the game came down to the wire, with the Blue team winning the game 60 to 58!

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LA Fitness Community & Teamwork

Both teams put in an extraordinary amount of effort to reach the last game of the season. In the end, it is not always about winning or losing, it is about developing a bond with your teammates and living a healthy lifestyle.

“One of my best experiences in Club Leagues has been meeting the cool people on my team and playing the game of basketball, teaching some about the game if they don’t know already,” said Kenny W.,  member of the Gold team.  “The team has improved in a lot of ways. Getting that team chemistry, ball movement, defense, we have just enjoyed playing together, it’s been fun.” Even though Kenny and his team didn’t walk away with the championship title, he held his head high and has been happy with his experience in Club Leagues.

Some teams spark long-lasting friendships that can ultimately lead towards a more successful team bonding experience.

“We have been playing together since the first league!” said Frank Z. of the Blue team. “About three years now, we have built relationships with everyone in the leagues, so we have all become really good friends.”

Whether your team is brand new or has been together over the years, each experience is unique, competitive and fun! “It’s always fun to compete, and I have seen a lot of the same guys throughout the years,” said Matt G of the champion Blue team. “It’s about the longevity of actually playing together and having fun with the competition.”

What’s the best part of Club Leagues? The league environment offers a new experience at the gym, you can get a workout in, make friends and set goals, not only for yourself, but for your team as well. You aren’t alone in it! “Overall, the refs are great, it’s good clean basketball. It’s a good hour we get to spend together,” stated Frank Z. of the champion Blue team.

Joining a League

Club Leagues offers an enjoyable way to get involved with the LA Fitness community and experience a fun and healthy workout.  In Club Leagues basketball, there are two 20 minute halves; making the game fast paced and competitive.

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