- In Nutrition
Fueling Up for Broad Street: Nutrition Series, Tip #1 Breakfast
Are you running your first Broad Street run? Are you a return runner trying to beat last year’s time? Either way, you’ve come to the right place! These next four weeks leading up to the race, I will be providing you with some quick, easy to follow nutrition tips to take your training to the next level!
As my clients and friends know, I love to talk about nutrition, and believe that it applies to every aspect of life – especially exercise and sports training. So, with that, let’s start with my first tip for those of you training for the Broad Street Run (and those of you not training for anything!).
Most people associate breakfast with sugary cereal, pancakes, a sugar (or fake sugar) filled protein bar, or even nothing. Let’s define breakfast simply as the first meal of the day: “breaking the fast” that your body experienced during sleep. Breakfast is important for a few reasons. First off, it stabilizes your blood sugar. This means that a solid breakfast will keep you from feeling false notions of hunger throughout the day. Breakfast also helps to fuel your body for exercise and daily activities, and helps your body repair from prior training. When increasing running mileage or trying to improve athletic performance, it is crucial to make sure our muscles are fueled with the proper nutrients to be able to perform at their maximum capacity, and avoid injury.
Breakfast does not have to be eaten right when you wake up – everyone is different. The important part of breakfast timing is to eat it before your blood sugar gets too low, meaning that you start to feel “hangry,” or that mix of hunger and anger where you are so hungry that you cannot think straight and would eat whatever was put in front of you. For some people, this may be within minutes to an hour of waking up. Others may prefer to do their race training or other exercise first thing in the morning, and eat after that, and others may even feel better waiting until around lunch time to eat breakfast. Whenever it is eaten, the important part is what is eaten for breakfast.
So, what does a solid breakfast consist of? Ideally, breakfast would include a non-processed item from each of the three groups of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Below I’ll give you some examples of ingredients to include from each group, and you can mix and match flavors to make a “healthified” version of exactly what you crave in the morning that will fuel your Broad Street training! The key to feeling satisfied, keeping your blood sugar stable, and fueling your muscles is having a combination of each of the three groups below. For example, having a banana (carbohydrate) alone will spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling hungrier in little time. However, pairing that banana with two eggs (protein) and some almond butter (fat) slows down the digestion and absorption of sugar, while also providing amino acids and fatty acids that your body needs to transport nutrients, build, and repair new tissues and muscle. Here are some examples of nutritious foods from the three macronutrient groups*:
Carbohydrates: potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables, oats, fruit, whole grain bread, beans, lentils
Proteins: eggs, egg whites, lean meat, Greek yogurt, beans, tempeh/ tofu, lentils
Fats: nuts, nut butters, avocado, full fat Greek yogurt, olive oil, seeds, cheese, coconut butter/ oil, flaxseeds, ghee
*The overlap in some food groups is because foods can provide several types of fuel for your body. I still recommend picking one of each so you get the most nutrient dense, well-rounded diet!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and be sure to check in next week for the second nutrition tip! If you have any questions or want to hear more, you know where to find me!
by Lizzy Greener
Lizzy is a Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue and is studying to become a Registered Dietitian.