• Helen Phillips

Food for Fitness Tip #3: DON'T SHUN CARBS


Food for Fitness Tip #3: DON'T SHUN CARBS

A few years back if you were training for an endurance race, such as a half or full marathon, carbs were king. Us marathon runners, we loaded up on massive plates of carbs at every opportunity, without a second thought!

Pasta was just perfect!

As a nutrition coach working with runners, to get their diets back on track for weightloss and training, these days I'm more likely to see CARB PHOBIC CLIENTS LACKING IN ENERGY, MOTIVATION AND MORALE than runners who are piling up too much pasta on their plates.

Carbs are now the enemy and sugar detoxes are now the thing!

Lots of people believe that carbohydrates are fattening and sugar is addictive, but 1g or carbs actually contains about half the calories of 1g of fat! Instead it is the fats that are added to carb dishes that increase calorie count and the combination of carbs and fats in sugary treats that we 'see' as addictive (there is no scientific evidence that backs up the belief that carbs are addictive).

Eat too much of any food and you'll pile on the pounds!

But carbs are really important for us runners, as we NEED CARBS TO BURN AS FUEL TO POWER OUR TRAINING.

Yes, we're training to run a marathon and to do that we need to get our bodies trained to burn fat as fuel. But our bodies biochemistry is such, that you will NEED CARBS TO BURN FAT ... it's a simple (actually rather complex, but I dont want to bore you with science) chemistry equation

CARBS + FAT = ENERGY

🧀 Yes you can train your body to be more efficient to burn fat as fuel. 🍗 Yes lots of marathon and ultra runners have a ketogenic diet (with very very low amounts of carb in their diets) 🥩 Yes you can go keto too!

But unless you want to change up your diet completely and miss out on all the great foods, meals and nutrition that wholegrains bring to your diet, then you need to be eating good quality carbs to give you energy.

Training for a marathon and eating healthy is hard enough for most people ... throw in "taking out carbs" to the mix and most people would just give up!

So todays tip, if you're training for an endurance race, such as a half or full marathon, is to make sure you're including quality carbs in your diet, plenty of starchy wholegrains and vegetables, rather than foods containing refined sugars.

What's so great about starchy wholegrains?

Starchy carbohydrates fill you up and provide energy, so should be included in every meal and eaten as snacks. Starchy carbs are broken down in the body to simple sugars and provide the body with fuel.

The best types of starchy carbs to eat are wholegrains (rather than refined grains ... yes I realise I have a pic of processed pasta in this post) as they contain heaps of great vitamins a minerals (B vitamins, calcium and iron), as well as more fibre which is essential for good gut health.

So what do you suggest I eat?

For breakfast eat wholegrain cereals, porridge or oats, for lunch you could have a pasta or rice dish, or a baked potato with the skin on for added fibre and make sure you're eating a portion of starchy carbs for your main evening meal.

So let's get eating carbs!

Helen x

For more FOODIE TIPS FOR RUNNERS join my Cheesecake Runner Eat Right for Your Marathon CHALLENGE for 5 Days and 5 Food for Fitness tips ... to help you get in shape for your training for your marathon next spring.

Click HERE to join the challenge.