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Fueling Your Engine

There’s no denying it- what you put in your body will affect how you feel and perform. Are you skeptical? Pay attention to how you feel the next time you eat something rich or indulgent. Sure, you might feel good at the moment (who doesn’t love a good piece of chocolate cake?), but a few hours later when you hit the pavement for a run, you’ll most likely regret the sugary decision.

There’s a lot of advice out there on nutrition and how to lose or maintain weight. It seems everyone has a theory and those theories sometime involve complicated systems and rules. Our theory is simple- eat to fuel your engine. If you want to perform well, you must eat well. In our minds this means eating food closest to it’s natural form.

Ever heard the advice to shop the outer aisles of the grocery store first? It’s great advice! Most grocery stores line the edges of the store with fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, cheese, and fresh baked breads. These are the staples from which to build your meals. The more you can fuel your body with whole foods, the better you will feel and essentially, the better you will run.

Follow these easy runner’s diet guidelines for balancing your food choices to optimize your running:

  • 60-65% of your daily caloric intake should be carbohydrates. Whole grain carbs, fruits and veggies are the best choice in this category. Fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain oatmeal, whole grain pasta and whole grain bread are all good options.

  • 15-20% of your daily caloric intake should be lean protein. Protein helps repair muscle fibers that are broken down due to the impact of running. Lean protein is key. Chicken, fish, turkey and beans are all good sources of low-fat protein.

  • 20-25% of your daily caloric intake should be fat. Make sure you pay attention to foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Heart healthy nuts such as almonds are a good option for your daily fat intake. Also, using olive oil to cook or sauté foods is usually a wise choice.

With these guidelines in mind, what’s your favorite go-to food to fuel your engine for running?