Race Fueling:  Engineered Nutrition vs. Whole Foods by Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II, Sports Dietician

Race Fueling: Engineered Nutrition vs. Whole Foods by Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II, Sports Dietician

A commonly asked question these days by runners is “Can I eat real food instead of sports nutrition products?”. There are numerous options for fueling your runs, so let’s explore a few considerations in more detail to help you decide what is right for you. First, let’s clarify what is meant by “engineered foods”. Technically, this would be any kind of sports nutrition product such as gels, chews, beans, blocks, powdered drink mixes, and bars. In contrast, “whole foods” can include fruits or dried fruits, potatoes, homemade chia gels, or sandwiches.  Some foods can fall into both categories. For example, certain nutrition bars that contain few ingredients without fillers or artificial ingredients may be considered more of a whole food option. As to what is right for you, here are some considerations to ponder: What do you tolerate best?  Aside from having unique flavor preferences, some of us have stomachs and guts that simply do not tolerate certain kinds of calorie sources. If you cannot chew and run at the same time, you may want to rely on liquid calorie sources which typically will be a sports nutrition powdered formula.  Depending on run intensity, you can take nibbles of solid food to get needed calories and satisfy hunger. Beware that during your runs, it is not the time to consume much protein or fat-containing foods (ultra runners can be an exception to this) as these macronutrients slow down how quickly any carbohydrate will be digested. Also know that the very act of running can cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress when consuming calories (and especially when over–consuming calories!) due to the...
Exercise of the Week:  Straight Leg Sit Up

Exercise of the Week: Straight Leg Sit Up

Coach Rebecca demonstrates the exercise of the week. Straight leg sit up. Good for core and muscle control. Lay supine, arms above your head. Then with control bring arms forward and sit up as shown. Hold, then lower back down with control. This is one rep. Start with 1 set of 10 reps, then increase reps and add a...
Guest Blog by Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II, Board Certified Sport Dietician:  Nutrition Tips for the Off Season

Guest Blog by Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II, Board Certified Sport Dietician: Nutrition Tips for the Off Season

  Tips for the Off Season For athletes in the northern hemisphere, the “off season” typically occurs around the months of November and December and into the early part of the following new year. Most athletes have finished up their racing season and are enjoying some less structured training time. Because the holiday season coincides with this period of time, numerous nutritional challenges can arise. There are usually two modes of thought during this time: “I don’t care what I eat. I’ve been eating too rigidly all year and I want to be free!” or 2) “I don’t want to fall into the trap of overeating junk food and gaining a bunch of weight! ” If you associate with camp #1, I encourage you to keep reading as this article may change your mind about how you ponder your nutrition. For camp #2 folks, kudos for wanting to stay a notch ahead of the game. So what do we do to get through this off season (and holiday season) to feel free from harsh nutrition rules and yet still keep nutrition on the brain? Sure, we have the classic nutrition strategies of “drink more water” and “eat before you go to the party”, but I’d like to present a few other considerations related to food and nutrition for this off season:   It may be the season for some rest time, but take advantage of your time to explore different foods and try other food preparation methods. Get a collection of recipes that interest you, either from websites, youtube videos, or library books and then allocate time to tinker...
Exercise of the Week:  Off-Season Goals

Exercise of the Week: Off-Season Goals

Exercise of the week. This one is mental. Sit down with a pad of paper and write down your off-season goals. This can be anything from learning to swim, reconnecting with the love of the run, getting in touch with rate of perceived exertion, improving cadence, weight loss, kinetic chain strength and balance, or taking time off for off-season projects and spending more time with family. Then sketch out your plan for 2016. What races would you like to do? Which is your “A” race? Maybe racing is not your thing right now and building to a certain distance is the goal. Forming a plan now will keep you motivated through the holidays and set you up for a solid...
Hydration Guest Blog by Dina Griffin

Hydration Guest Blog by Dina Griffin

A couple of hot topics in the sport nutrition world lately relate to fluid and electrolyte needs for athletic individuals (no matter whether recreational or more elite in abilities). I want to address a few issues related to hydration in this article, some of which have also been questions previously posed by KRE teammates. Fluid and water recommendations for athletes have run the gamut in the context of daily needs and needs during exercise. As an example of this, check out the following list of recommendations that have circulated in recent years: 8 x 8-ounce glasses of water daily Drink 1/2 of your body weight in water daily Drink fluids until your pee is clear in color Drink fluids until your pee is pale in color Males: 15.5 cups of fluids; Females: 11 cups of fluids (Adequate Intake as set by the Institute of Medicine for healthy 19-70+ year-olds) 0.154 to 0.185 ounces of water per pound of body weight during exercise 3 to 8 oz of fluid every 15 minutes during exercise Drink ahead of thirst Drink to thirst Which one is right? The short answer is: none of them have been proven scientifically to be the “one and only way” for all healthy athletic individuals. What it really gets down to is figuring out what YOU need. Like most things when it comes to being an athlete, right? Before I present some hydration tips, let’s review some of the important benefits of hydration: 1. Aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food we eat 2. Necessary for proper bodily organ function and elimination of waste...
Get “Phat” with Fat

Get “Phat” with Fat

Get “Phat” with Fat Many recreational athletes and fitness enthusiasts are still “fat phobic”, believing that eating fat will make them fat or cause blockage in the arteries leading to heart disease. There still exists the notion of “good” and “bad” fats, which originated decades ago and is still perpetuated by the media and health professionals. To this, we say “times are changing” as nutrition research evolves and we build the body of scientific evidence. If you are interested in transforming your body to become more “metabolically efficient” (also known as “fat-adapted”), the implementation strategies involve eating more fat to varying degrees depending on which strategy is best suited for you. As we manipulate daily nutrition patterns to control carbohydrates, boost fat intake, and keep protein intake fairly constant, we can see the body begin to utilize internal fat stores as a fuel source, while preserving the limited stores of carbohydrate. All of this without compromising health and athletic performance — bonus! Now, this does not mean you have a free ticket to load up on any and all fats without giving attention to the other aspects of your daily nutrition choices and quantities. Nor does it necessarily mean you have to switch to nibbling on butter during exercise. The level of “how high fat do I need to go?” will depend on many factors, but the good news is when implemented properly, increasing fat does not cause athletes to become fat nor does it increase risk for incidence of disease states. On the contrary, the scientific evidence is showing it is high dietary intakes of carbohydrates that are...