For our question of the week, we turned to our resident nutritionist, Ilana Katz of Optimal Nutrition for Life. In part 1, she talks about some of the benefits of incorporating real food into your training and racing. In part 2 next week, we’ll delve into specific meal ideas, and in part 3, we’ll go over guidelines for athletes.
The philosophy here is eating “food” and there is a whole variety of it to choose from versus engineered, processed and chemically products (hope I am not reducing anyone’s sponsorships here). Most of this stuff tastes awful anyway (okay some might say they enjoy the taste, but I personally think that’s a defense mechanism for a chosen product believed to “perform” performance). There is no need to sacrifice taste just because you need “fuel”.
Often the intense sweetness, and sugar alcohols in sports nutrition designed products cause gastrointestinal distress during training, and even worse, during a big race, especially because we need so much of it every hour. Endurance athletes can relate, right?
Food itself reduces that funny feeling in your gut while exercising.
You never have to over complicate nutrition when it comes to designing plans for training AND racing. Pack foods that are simple, tasty and nutritionally dense (especially in carbohydrates) when it comes to endurance, and keep daily nutrition as close to the earth as possible. Never neglect your hydration and that includes replenishing electrolytes lost in sweat.