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Tuesday, June 29, 2010 11:32 am

Eating for Exercise

Hey, long time - no see! Where have you been? I was worried sick about you! You really ought to come visit me more often. (Yeah, I haven't posted on this blog in awhile. I'll change, I promise!)

Now that you're back safe and sound, let's talk about diet. When you're exercising a lot, it's hard to balance your need for energy with the all-too-easy tendency to undo your workout by eating the wrong foods. I've found the best policy for me is eating low-calorie/moderate-carb fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds - all with plenty of fiber. I avoid the sport gels, beers, breads and chocolate milk that I've heard touted all the time. That stuff is great if you have a super high metabolism that will use the energy up before it gets turned into fat, but my body operates more like an 1850s steam locomotive than a Mag Lev train. My body reacts poorly to simple carbohydrates, so I try to stick with foods whose nutrients will be absorbed into my blood stream slowly. My primary goal for exercise is weight management, and when I work out, I push myself nearly to exhaustion. Accordingly, the recommendations in this post are for people with slow metabolisms and high nutrient-replacement needs. If you don't fit that criteria, this post may still be helpful, but you may want to use a more general source. http://www.marathonrookie.com/nutrition.html (*Disclaimer: I'm a vegetarian and sometimes vegan, so I obviously avoid animal proteins most of the time. Thus, I don't have much knowledge of what animal proteins are best for active people, and I've left that out of this post.)

The table below contains some of my favorite post-workout foods with corresponding nutrient values. Click the name of each food to see additional data about each entry. Note that most of them have a good mixture of the various protiens your body needs. You may also notice that I've included some of them with added salt. Though I normally keep my salt intake relatively low, I don't see a point in eating food that doesn't taste good - if you want to add salt, go for it. As with anything else in life, just don't go overboard.

Food Amount Calories Carbs (grams)
Sweet bell peppers 1 cup 30 7
Red tomotoes 1 cup 32 7
Roasted salted almonds 1 ounce 170 5
Roasted salted sunflower seeds 1 ounce 163 7
Bananas 1 large 121 31
Sweet potato 1 cup 176 41
Hummus 1 ounce 50 6

The great thing about eating mostly fruits and vegetables is that you can eat until you're satisfied without feeling guilty. (How many times did your mother scold you for pigging out on asparagus? My guess is ZERO.)

This is by no means a complete list, and what I've suggested here isn't going to give you everything you need for a healthy diet. This is just a starting point, but hopefully one that will send you in the right direction.

Keep up the good work, Springfield! You're looking great!

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