Cooking in compression gear in Kona, Hawaii.
Food is fuel.
I have studied the body during activity for nearly 13 years but I am still learning as the body is extremely complicated. But as an athlete and clinical dietitian, I am constantly reminded that food not only fuels our workout routine but also our life. That is, if we don't have the right balance of nutrients on a day-to-day basis, our workouts will suffer. The picture above is from the 2011 Ironman World Championships. Just another day of cooking in my condo before the biggest endurance event in the world. Although the event may be extreme, cooking is nothing complicated to me and surely it helped me get to the starting line of my past 4 Ironmans (including Ironman #5 and my 2nd Ironman World Championship). While in Kona, I wrote an article for LAVA on "taking your plate to the big island
" which was a lot of fun for me to write as I believe that we should never stop fueling our body with fuel and nutrients.,,,,even on the days leading up to an endurance event.
When it comes to the daily diet and sport nutrition, there needs to be an understanding that although sport nutrition products can help give you a competitive edge, we must always respect the body with food on a day-to-day basis and then address the priorities for the body during exercise, when it comes to sport nutrition. I love helping athletes with the daily diet because once we figure out a solid foundation on a day-to-day basis, the sport nutrition becomes much easier to understand. I do encourage athletes to take advantage of well-formulated sport nutrition products during training (ex. sport drinks and gels) and to prioritize a pre training and recovery snack. I am not for training on an empty stomach to "burn fat" (specifically during build and peak training) or to train with only water during training (this is something I believe should never occur, specifically if a workout is intense over 1 hour or moderate intensity over 75-90 minutes). I believe we must respect the body with the right fluids, electrolytes and carbs to support metabolic processes and I feel in today's society, the body is overly stressed with poor sleep, stress and eating habits and thus, athletes have no idea how to fuel throughout the day thus compromising performance during training.
I hope you enjoy my latest article from my monthly column with Iron Girl
. Thanks for reading.
Foundation of FuelingBy Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
To succeed in sports, every athlete should address the building blocks of great performances. As you train to improve fitness, skills and mental strength, it is important to commit to providing your body with the right types of nutrients to fuel your body. Remember – A well-fueled body is a happy body.
Carbohydrates (like fruits, veggies, starches and grains) provide useful energy to fuel and refuel from activity. Protein (like dairy, meat, fish and lentils) helps the body repair and rebuild for future training sessions. Lastly, heart-healthy fats are essential components of a balanced diet to support overall health.
Refuel/Fuel – Carbohydrates.
-50-65% of the daily diet should be from primarily heart-healthy carbohydrates. Veggies, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, low-fat dairy and starches provide the body and brain with energy, vitamins and minerals to fuel workouts and to assist in recovery.
Rebuild/Recover – Protein.
-18-25% (or 1.1-1.5g/kg body weight) of the daily diet should be from lean/low fat quality protein. Beans, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, meat, tempeh, tofu and low-fat dairy repair damaged tissues and muscles throughout the day and help reduce the risk for injury by keeping muscles strong and growing.
Satisfy/Protect - Fats
-25-30% of the daily diet should be from heart-healthy fat. Nuts, seeds, oils, nut butters, cheese and fish protect organs, transport nutrients within the body and keep your tummy happy.
Don’t forget your water to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts and throughout the day. Aim for at least 8 – 12 ounces water with meals, snacks and before/after training. Consume around 20-28 ounces fluids during each hour of training, sipping every 10-15 minutes.
*Breakfast: Oats + low-fat milk (or yogurt) + berries + flax seeds (ground) and cinnamon/cloves + chopped nuts.
*Snack: String cheese and fresh figs.
*Lunch: Mixed greens/veggies sautéed in olive oil + protein (ex. beans + fish or tempeh) topped with a little cheese or avocado. Served with whole grain tortilla, pita bread or whole grains (ex. millet, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur).
*Snack: Apple (or fruit) + nut butter
*“Breakfast” for Dinner: Scrambled eggs + veggies + fruit + whole grain bread or waffle.
*Dessert/snack: 1 ounce dark chocolate + strawberries.
*Pre workout – Whole grain toast (if sensitive stomach – rice cake) + nut butter + banana slices
*Post workout snack: 8 ounces low-fat/non-fat milk (or ½ cup low fat yogurt) + small fruit (or handful favorite cereal) OR 8 ounces low-fat chocolate milk.