OMY! Sports News

What to EAT and not to EAT before and after running?

Three key factors for progress in running are SLEEP, NUTRITION, and TRAINING.
Speed, strength, and endurance certainly are developing during training. Yet with insufficient sleep (recovery) hours, and poor nutrition (smaller energy storage) the training would not come in handy or come to happen at all.
# 1 mistake of a newborn runner.

When we talk about proper nutrition for runners, what immediately comes to mind is — a weight-loss diet. That’s what will help you run faster. This is the first mistake many stumble upon. The trouble here is that running increases your energy expenditure, by 300–500 kcal per day. By taking on a “weight loss” diet, and reducing your calorie intake, one is taking the risk of creating such an energy deficit (intake minus energy expenditure) that will make you completely forget about running. At least until you have a feast.
Top secret of sports nutrition.

Most likely, regular workouts will require you to consume MORE calories than you are used to. And it is all right. You may also need to change your macronutrient ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats. This will help you get the right energy to run faster, recover faster and prevent injury.
Energy for motion.

The main and simplest source of energy for a human is carbohydrates. They are quickly absorbed and converted into energy, which, like fuel for a car, is necessary for the process of moving. There are complex (1) and simple (2) carbs. Complex carbohydrates are contained in pasta and grains, and simple — are in sugar and sugar-containing drinks. Both of these can be useful. See below for how and when to use them.
Endurance secret ingredient.

Endurance is the ability to maintain a stable pace of movement for a considerably long time. We can safely say that this lies in the responsibility of complex carbohydrates. It is exactly due to the processing of carbs that glycogen is stored in muscles. These glycogen stores are gradually depleted during running. The most striking example of such carbohydrates is pasta.
Pasta Party.

It is not a very good idea to eat pasta right before a workout or a race. They are supposed to be “eaten up” in advance. Have you heard of pasta parties before big races? That’s not only a chance to get together and enjoy the food. That’s where carbo-loading actually happens. In the training process, we recommend having a «pasta party» more or less regularly in order to maintain a high level of glycogen in the muscles (a high level, but not too much). This is key to endurance and strength.
Energy for recovery.

During intense training or after the race, our body feels worn out as the muscles have just survived the shock. For a proper recovery of muscle tissues and ligaments along with the strengthening of bones, you need protein. It is found in most products — from meat and fish to pasta and cereals (especially in buckwheat).
Protein is the building block for muscles, but unlike carbohydrates, it is not as efficient as an energy source. Besides, it can cause a little drowsiness immediately after eating. Therefore, proteins should not be consumed before running. But afterwards, protein food is just what you need.
What about fats?

Fats are important for proper functioning of the body, especially in ligaments and joints. A sufficient amount of fat is a prerequisite for preventing injury. But fats are also different. So, 40 grams of butter fat and 40 grams of fat from a salmon steak will affect your body differently. Salmon fats will reduce inflammation in muscles induced by exercise, soften the work of the joints and act as an antioxidant. While fats from butter are more likely to clog arteries. Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats (omega-9) and fatty acids (omega-3). Stay away from products containing lots of saturated fats (more than 5 grams per 100 grams).
Cola and sweetened soft drinks.

Sitting on the couch and sipping cola non-stop would not end well. It is very high in sugar and caffeine. Yet, for runners, cola is a good source of energy during distance runs. You cannot get through an exhaustive 4-hour marathon without eating. Pasta, porridge, or bananas are difficult to digest on the go. While cola (or other sugary drinks) is quickly absorbed supplying you with the necessary sugar to produce energy. However, not for long –you’ll have to grab a cup of cola several times.
How to choose the right foods?

Proper diet nutrition is based on whole foods. That is the food that has undergone minimal thermal or chemical processing. Fillet is better than chopped meat. Fish is better than battered fish sticks. Boiled eggs are better than scrambled eggs (although there is nothing wrong with an omelet). Cottage cheese with honey instead of yogurt. Whole-grain oatmeal with fruits surpasses muesli. Homemade pasta is no comparison to quick noodles. Sweet potatoes are better than chips or French fries. Vegetable salad is better than mayonnaise mashed salad. Whole grain is superior to white bread.
For a more accurate determination of the ‘quality’ of the food product, use the formula:
(Sugar + Carbs — Fiber) / (Fats + Proteins) < 2
Calculate this ratio using the values in grams. If the result is 2 or less, feel good to take it. The more the value exceeds 2, the less useful product is in front of you.
How to eat during the day?

If you have a morning workout, opt for a light carbohydrate breakfast with easier and faster digestible foods. Do not overeat, just give the body the minimum energy necessary for training. The last thing you want to do is run on a full stomach. Just as well as running hungry. On running on an empty stomach, read here.
After a morning workout, you can enjoy loading up with a real and full breakfast.
If your workout is scheduled for the middle of the day, do it before lunch. And at least 3 hours after breakfast. Especially if it was a heavy one.
If you have a scheduled evening run, try not to overeat during the day. Finish lunch at least 3–4 hours prior to the run, so that the food is properly digested.
What is a no-go during intense training?

The most difficult foods to digest are those containing lots of fiber: fresh vegetables, beans, and peas, nuts (almonds), berries. When planning to participate in a race or having an intense training session, refrain from consuming high amounts of fiber 2 days before. Otherwise, there is a high chance of not completing the race.
Be careful with foods high in saturated fats. These include most sweets, fatty types of cheese, sausage, meatballs, also fatty yogurts, and mayo. By grilling meat at the home yard, your end product is also high in saturated fat.
P.S. The topic of nutrition is extremely large and complex. The optimal ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is individually determined and is based on personal experience, taste preferences, and goals (in sports and health).