Nutrition Comments Off on The “ideal diet” to follow before a big marathon |

The “ideal diet” to follow before a big marathon

Eating well before and after a marathon is a game-changer. Protima Tiwary spoke with coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the diet to consume before a big marathon.

You’ve been training on the track religiously, making sure you stick to your training routine, carefully mapping out the distances and recording your progress. But you know what they say- the correct diet is more than half the work done. So take a pause and ask yourself a question- have you been eating right to be well equipped to run the marathon? We caught up with a fitness lifestyle coach and nutritionist Sheetal Sood to help us understand the importance of the diet leading up to a marathon.

You’re a lifestyle coach and nutritionist. How did this journey for you begin? What keeps you going?

It started around 18years ago during my first pregnancy.  I started noticing my body and the way it was changing. I had always been an active child, interested in sports and outdoor games before college and professional life took over. I was a lawyer in the Mumbai High Court before I moved to Pune, and it is here when I embarked upon my personal fitness journey. I was recently married, my first baby was on its way and I started taking care of myself with yoga and Pilates through pre and post-natal classes.

I stuck with my training regime even after delivery and considered becoming a personal trainer 12 years ago. It was only three years ago that I went ahead with my certification, and I am so glad that I did! I love how fitness has gained importance in our lifestyles, and for me, my work doesn’t even feel like work anymore!

Today, a workout is an integral part of my routine. I want to be a role model for my children, and I wish to motivate my clients, so I guess that is what keeps me going.

A fit foodie at 47, do you find it easy to combine your love for food and your fit lifestyle?

Yes, I love to eat and workout. I do not let myself feel guilty for that one off cheat meal. Apart from that, my food choices are healthy. I satisfy my sweet cravings with homemade all nut butter or peanut butter, and my go-to meal is a mixed salad with good vinaigrette dressing.

Chocolate is my comfort food, so I do cheat sometimes with a rich chocolate cake or ice cream. However, if I can find a healthy option that tastes as good, I will always choose that.

Coming to marathon preparations- how important is the food in your training plan?

Whenever we put ourselves through intense activity, we need a specially curated meal plan supporting the activity. Poor nutrition will always lead to poor performance, even injuries. Preparing for a marathon isn’t an overnight decision- your meals have to be designed weeks in advance.

Carb-cycling is important when you are preparing for a marathon. You need to have days of high carb, moderate and low carbs. Stock your house with good carbs like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, jowar and bajra flour, buckwheat and amaranth for rotis. Nuts, legumes, green veggies, paneer are a must too. Foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and beetroot are a must have. Remove all junk food.

Also, stock up on BCAAs and bulletproof coffees!

What does an ideal diet 7 days before a big run look like?

You need to have foods that make you feel light and energetic. Load up on foods that contain nitrate (eg- beet) Choose complex carbs for every meal. Go on a high carb, moderate protein, low-fat diet.

Lunch can be large but your dinners have to be light and early (but carb loaded) A light dinner could be a big bowl of soup with meat, vegetables and noodles or rice in the soup.

Please do not eat biryanis and pizzas thinking you will burn it off. The sugar in these processed foods are evil!

 

What is the ideal meal to eat post running?

I would highly recommend a shake or juice first thing after a race. This is because our body absorbs liquids with much ease as
compared to solids. An ideal shake would be made of bananas, almond
milk, honey or peanut butter (and protein powder if you wish to)

The second meal after the run can be eggs (in any form) with multigrain bread/rotis. You can also opt for paneer bhurji.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An Army kid who wishes to travel the world one wellness vacation at a time, Protima Tiwary is a freelance content writer by day and Dumbbells and Drama, a fitness blogger by night. High on love and life, she is mildly obsessed about travelling and to-do lists and loves her long gym sessions like a fat kid loves cake.

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Featured, Nutrition Comments Off on Ensure Adequate Fuelling |

Ensure Adequate Fuelling

Shiny Surendran, the city’s leading sports nutritionist, talks to Radhika Meganathan about what is important for runners to ensure adequate fuelling.

Shiny Surendran wears many hats. Not only is she a certified nutritionist and a published author, she also is the first Indian to be awarded Graduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition from International Olympic Committee, possesses a masters in food service management and is the Chairperson of the Website team of Indian Dietetic Association. Today, she speaks to The Finisher Mag about the kind of foods to eat and avoid when it comes to running

In your opinion, how does an avid runner err in terms of nutrition and eating habits?

I have often noticed that a group which runs together usually has a team breakfast post run. Sometimes with all the group energy, they might eat more than they have expended during the run! Portion control is a good thing to keep in mind if you’d like to maintain your peak running stats.

Some runners overeat carbs and not include enough protein. Another point to ponder is not getting adequate Magnesium and Omega 3 fats. These mistakes can be easily rectified by mindful awareness about nutrition, and more effectively, by consulting a nutritionist who will analyse your body type, health stats and suggest the best diet for you.

What is your recommended power foods for pre or post run?

A fruit milkshake such as apple / banana milkshake (use almond milk if you are lactose intolerant) is great for pre workout / post workout drink. For pre-/post-run meal, keep to complex carbs such as oats or Multi grain porridge mix, with fruits and/or nuts in it. Since most of our climate is tropical, watermelon and pomegranate juice are good for anti oxidants, aids recovery with phyto nutrients. And then there is the affordable and nature’s bounty coconut water which is excellent for hydration plus electrolytes.

What kind of food is best avoided by runners?

I’d have to say, fibre rich foods, raw salads, and sprout salad, especially before a run. Runners should also avoid legumes like peanuts, rajma, white channa, gas producing foods like cabbage. As a general nutritional guideline, athletes are recommended to avoid white sugar, maida, food with artificial colors and flavours. And I recommend avoiding fruit juice, ice cubes made from tap water, raw chutneys or raw salads if you are in a new city for a run. Chances of food poisoning or gastric infection is very high, so be on guard!

What is good for recovery nutrition?

Hydration is very important to replace the salts lost and vital for recovery. I advise runners to drink at least 1 litre of sport drink after the run, especially if you live in a city which is hot and humid. In case you have high sweat loss, it is a good idea to include pickle, papad, and salty seafood dishes which have high levels of sodium.

Recent opinion is that low carb diets like paleo or keto are harmful for runners, since runners need carbs for fueling. Is this true? 

A former colleague and a fitness professional would eat a full south Indian meal 2 hours and run very well at long distance events. Somehow when he implemented the sport nutrition principles of eating 4 hours before the run, did not work well for him. The fullness / satiety helped him run well. He defied all principles of sport nutrition!

The reason I am mentioning this here is to stress that we are not all cut from the same cloth. Body types and their response to carbohydrate rich food are different. Our body has large amounts of fat which could be tapped for energy. People who are insulin sensitive can eat carbs in moderation but the ones with insulin resistance will benefit from Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets. This will have NO adverse affect on their running efficacy.

You mean, runners do not need carbs at all?

As I always say, everything in moderation. My stance is that carbs are not indispensable, nor is it a bad word. Do consult a certified nutritionist before changing your diet or training, and find out what kind of body type you have. People have varying levels of insulin resistance – the ones who really struggle to lose weight in spite of eating healthy complex carbs and good dose of protein and fibre – they will benefit a lot from LCHF diets. During off season they could try LCHF until they reach ideal weight and then before competition training, they can reload carbs moderately.

 Did you notice anything interesting while training runners or athletes? 

While working in YMCA sports medicine department, I observed physical education students drinking aerated drinks with glucose added to it for that extra boost of energy. Little did they realise, they would have sugar levels crashing after 20-30 minutes. I of course told them to avoid this type of stimulating drinks.

A recreational runner that I knew got severe stomach pain while running. She experimented and found better results with electrol than the commercial sports drinks. My brother’s friend would consume fermented rice mixed with buttermilk every morning and run marvelously well. He was the best runner in school. Simple carbs worked well for him. One needs to experiment to find what suits their body types.

 Can you give some nutrition tips for our runner readers?

  • My first tip would be to eat real food. Not the one that comes in plastic or dripping in additives/sauces, but the food that is closer to what has been made in your home for years. Freshly made, with local ingredients and love and care.
  • Experiment during non-competition days. Figure out what works to optimize your running. Create a template of foods that enhances your running. Stick to it.
  • Pure vegetarians (lacto vegetarians) should consider whey or plant protein options to pep up recovery and build muscle mass
  • Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and B complex, Omega 3 fats are very important. Eat lots of red- and green-coloured locally available greens, such as radish and turnip greens, agathi keerai, drumstick leaves (moringa leaves), spinach, manathakkali, etc which are all excellent source of Magnesium, calcium and iron. Especially if you are a vegetarian who does not eat much vegetables (sadly this is more common than you’d think, many vegetarians consume a lot of carbs at the expense of vegetables) you MUST pay attention to your daily meal plan.

Balance is the key. You don’t have to deny yourself your favorite stuff, just make sure you enjoy all foods in moderation. Do not ape latest trends!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

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