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GOOD LUCK!

Hopefully, these pieces of advice will help you enjoy your first marathon training journey and cross your first marathon finish line with a smile on your face. If you have enjoyed this article, subscribe to our magazine to get exclusive and free access to all of our articles!

GOOD LUCK!

Hopefully, these pieces of advice will help you enjoy your first marathon training journey and cross your first marathon finish line with a smile on your face. If you have enjoyed this article, subscribe to our magazine to get exclusive and free access to all of our articles!

GOOD LUCK!

Hopefully, these pieces of advice will help you enjoy your first marathon training journey and cross your first marathon finish line with a smile on your face. If you have enjoyed this article, subscribe to our magazine to get exclusive and free access to all of our articles!

GOOD LUCK!

Hopefully, these pieces of advice will help you enjoy your first marathon training journey and cross your first marathon finish line with a smile on your face. If you have enjoyed this article, subscribe to our magazine to get exclusive and free access to all of our articles!

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By Paula Marcé, Dietitian-Nutritionist by the University of Barcelona and studying the master’s degree in nutrition in physical activity and sports. Focused on sports research and nutrition.

We started another year and with this a list of new purposes, and perhaps also some old ones that we did not complete in previous years. These can be both in the personal field or in a professional or sportive scale.

If by chance it is the case that one of these goals is to improve your body composition, keep a good energy level in a game for longer, optimize your recovery to be at a 100% after a competition or even prevent the risk of suffering an injury, we want you to know that improving your eating habits by following a nutritional guideline can help you. However, as we know that sometimes it can be difficult to follow a diet for a long period of time, here there are a few tips for you to be able to introduce a nutritional routine in your daily life with the improvement of your eating habits.

Invisible training is the set of activities performed by an athlete out of training hours. Performing a good invisible training will allow you to obtain positive results from the stimuli generated in training, such as shortening the recovery period, avoid injuries and overloads, restore energy substrates or repair muscle fibers more quickly. Food, together with rest, physiotherapy, psychology and hygiene is part of this invisible training. Therefore, how and what do we eat is one of the key factors in moving from being a good athlete to one of the best. So, let’s start: what do we have to do to be able to follow a nutritional guideline for a long period of time?

Understand why it is important to follow a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet to your needs as an individual and as an athlete

Food is the way you have to provide your body with essential substances for the maintenance of life. It is a voluntary and conscious process in which you choose a certain food and eat it. From this moment, nutrition begins, a set of processes in which your body transforms and uses the substances present in food.

Adequate nutrition, in terms of quantity and quality, before, during and after training or competition is essential to optimize your performance. It can make the difference between you and the other athletes, or in yourself on two different occasions, or even in your pace and effort capacity during the last moments of a race or game.

Good nutrition can not replace incorrect training or good physical condition, but an inadequate diet can harm the performance of a well-trained athlete. Therefore, the foods you choose to consume during the week, before and after training or matches will affect your athletic performance.

 

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Know what your plate should contain and why

Sports practice increases your energy needs and therefore, the need to eat a wider variety of foods. With this, you are probably asking yourself “but what foods are the best?” Well, it is not about which are better or worse, but to improve the quality of your alimentation by reducing processed foods, starting to buy quality food and increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, it is also important to know how to differentiate each food according to the main nutrient that it provides, in what proportion it should be present on your plate and when is the best time to ingest it as an athlete. In general, food can be classified into 4 groups according to their composition, which determines its main function.

On the one hand, we have RED foods, such as milk and derivatives, meat, fish or eggs, which help us to form tissue. Secondly, the foods of color YELLOW are those that give us energy, such as carbohydrates and fats present in cereals, these better if they are whole (bread, pasta, quinoa, rice, etc.) and oils. In GREEN we see the regulatory foods in which the vitamins and minerals intervene in the mechanisms of absorption and use of other nutritious substances and provide us with dietary fiber. This is the case of vegetables and fruits. Finally, ORANGE colored foods are a mix of all the others. They give us energy, help us form tissue and act as regulators since they are rich in vitamins and minerals. Examples of this could be legumes or nuts.

So, in what proportion should these foods be present on your plate? In relation to the quantities, it is very important to individualize and personalize according to each case. Even so, as a general idea it is important that you follow the Healthy Dish recommendations: half of your plate should contain green foods (vegetables or fruit), ¼ should be made up of foods rich in carbohydrates, such as whole cereals (rice, pasta, quinoa, bread, pulses, etc.), and the other quarter should contain red foods or protein foods (meat, fish, eggs or dairy products such as cheese). Another possible combination could be half of the plate with green foods (vegetables and greens) and the other half with legumes (lentils, chickpeas, peas, etc.) since as we have seen previously, legumes are a mixed food and it brings us both carbohydrates and proteins.

Understand that you are not dieting but improving your eating habits

The concept of diet comes from the Greek díaita and means “lifestyle”. Diet, therefore, is not a restriction but a habit and constitutes a way of life. Thus, with the monitoring of the food guideline you are learning to eat healthy and combined with physical activity you are optimizing and improving your health and sports performance.

Introduce changes little by little, always and only as much as it is possible

If you have a hard time following your food routine, you have to do the changes little by little. The first thing that you have to ask yourself is: what do I see myself most capable of changing initially? From here, go introducing the changes, little by little but steadily and continuously, making your dish more and more assimilated to the Healthy Dish that we have seen in the previous section.

Enjoy what you eat

Are you comfortable with your diet? Do you like to eat this way? Do you feel capable of being able to continue for a long period of time? Although in the world of sports this is not always possible due to the fact that there are some strict objectives to be reached rigorously, it is important that most of the time the answer to these questions is affirmative. This is important because these are the basis and the main objective to be able to improve your eating habits, health, and performance. If the answer is negative, we must consider and find out what is failing and keep trying. It does not help to elaborate a perfect diet if you can not follow it or if you only follow it for a short time. So, you have to find a way of healthy dieting that you enjoy and that you are able to follow.

Have a good relationship with food

Food is one more way we have to communicate with those around us and with ourselves, although many people are not so aware of the last one. Usually, we use it to reward ourselves, feel better, punish ourselves, de-stress, to keep us entertained and many others. Therefore, you have to learn to be aware of these situations and know how to differentiate when you are actually hungry. Learning to be aware of your feelings of hunger and satiety will help you to be more able to decide what you want or not to eat and when you really have to.

 

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If someday you can not follow the diet, do not feel overwhelmed

Not following the guidelines strictly as described before or eating any food that is not included in the diet does not have to overwhelm you. You have to be aware of what you are eating and why. It is vital that you do not try to compensate for a “bad” meal by not eating the next one or saying that you will start the diet the following week. After eating something that did not fit your plans, continue with the pattern as normal. Starting over next week, you will only succeed in not advancing in the process and finding yourself permanently at the same point, the starting point. In addition, not eating will only cause you to end up eating between meals, which will not help you either. Finally, as the saying goes “do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today”, follow the guideline and when you eat out from home try to follow the recommendations of the Healthy Dish, it will help you not to feel guilty and to advance in the improvement of your eating habits.

With all this, remember that following a healthy diet and having beneficial habits for your body is synonymous of better performance when it comes to sports and a better feeling with yourself in your day to day life, which will possibly be translated into a more positive mood. Do not worry if one day you can not follow the diet, as we have said in this article, this is not about going hungry in-between meals or living with continuous restrictions when it comes to eating. However, you should be aware that eating healthy requires certain doses of willpower at times when processed foods and fast food tempt us.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you improve your sports performance and your quality of life. In case it has been like that, you will find more articles like this in our Magazine. Subscribe to be able to read them all without any restriction!