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Nutritionist and runner Katie Casto Hynes offers advice for building an effective diet for your body to perform at it’s best. {Image from Runner's World}

Posted in Healthy Eating, News, Performance Enhancement, Running.

September 23rd, 2014

3 Keys to Fueling YOUR Body

By Katie Casto Hynes

Wondering what to eat to best fuel your running? Even as a nutritionist, I am always looking to up my eating game. And yet I go to brunch post-run ravenous with teammates, scrutinizing the menu. Should I go uber healthy and load up on veggies? Or splurge on a giant stack of sugary pancakes? I find myself wondering what everyone else is going to order. But why?

We each have our own fueling needs. What your body requires to optimize performance and maintain a healthy racing weight is different than your running partner. Even at a similar body weight, you may burn extra energy and require additional calories.

1- Learn your calorie needs.
You can find out a general idea of your daily and weekly energy needs by using online calculators. This estimate will be based on your body size and activity amounts. Or by working with a nutritionist, you can receive a more tailored experience.

2- You are your own experiment.
Eat more – eat less. Sometimes you need to see how your body reacts. Maybe you are under-fueling but don’t realize it. You haven’t lost any weight, yet you feel sluggish on runs. Your body could be holding on to fat stores because it’s not sure when you are feeding it again. Try an extra snack or upping the size of your lunch, but pull back if you find your weight sneaking up.

3- Don’t obsess over calories.
Yes, it’s a good to have an idea of the amount you should be eating. However most of the time you don’t need to count calories. Listen to your hunger and fullness signals to avoid overeating. And most importantly eat better! Nutrient-dense whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins provide your body with key nutrients and healthy calories to promote lean body composition.

Remember food is fuel. Eating the right type of foods and the right amount for YOUR body will provide you with more energy and lead to better performances.

What do you find most difficult about fueling YOUR body? Tell us in the comments!

Katie Casto Hynes received her Masters of Science in Nutrition & Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University. A former collegiate athlete turned competitive marathon runner, her passion for fueling the body with healthy foods inspired her to enter this field. She has worked with athletes to help them improve their performance through nutrition and proper race fueling. Katie can often be seen running loops around Prospect Park and chatting about her latest kitchen adventures.

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