Everyone who has every embarked upon a weight loss effort or an attempt to get into shape knows that it’s no piece of cake. Making an effort to exercise is inevitably a difficult proposition that tests every single fiber of your character and self-discipline. This is because human bodies naturally resist movement to an extent. In a state of nature, the availability of calories is always in question, which means that it behooves the vast majority of people to undertake taxing activities as few times a day as possible. By doing so, the human body ensure that it has a better chance of staving off starvation.
The problem is that modern society is starkly different from a state of nature. These days, food is both relatively inexpensive and widely available. Instead of starvation being the largest barrier to survival, the modern person is more likely to see their lifespan cut short by obesity. While cars, airplanes and trains are vital pieces of urban infrastructure that make it easy to travel between otherwise far-flung points, they also have the negative effect of limiting the number of exercise people are forced to do. The diminishing in physical activity, when combined with the wide availability of calories, makes it so that getting overweight is not only easy but also to be expected.
In order to get your body back the right track, it is imperative that you change your activity level and nutrition profile accordingly. While running will always seem hugely challenging to any beginner, the reality is that it is one of the most effective and affordable forms of exercise. It vastly improves aerobic capacity, and at the same time exercises muscles all around the body. In this sense, it is the single exercise that everyone should choose if they are only doing one form of physical activity.
When you are undertaking a new running regimen, complementing your newly increased physical activity level with a balanced and nutritious diet can make it much improving your bodily health much more effective and efficient. Running naturally breaks down and rebuilds rarely exercised parts of the body, which means that it causes cells to use nutrients and calories more quickly. The goal when designing any kind of running nutrition plan is to make sure that the foods that are consumed are capable of replacing the nutrients lost through exercise.
The running nutrition plan can be split into three separate categories: pre-run, during a run, and post-run. These different categories are important, as the body requires different things at each separate point of the running cycle.
During the pre-run, your main goal is to make sure that you are well hydrated and have enough readily available calories to power your body for the next few hours. Drink plenty of water, as hydrating before your run will make it so that you have to drink less while actually running. This is a good thing, as trying to drink too much during a run can often cause stomach cramps. Pair this water with some dried fruit or granola, anything with enough carbs to supply a good amount of healthy sugar. If you are participating in a very long run, you may even have to start consuming an unusually high amount of carbs a few days before the actual run. This is called carbo loading, and it is the best way to store up energy without weighing your body down too close to the running date.
While you’re running, you will generally not require food. For the vast majority of runs, having some water is enough to get you through it, as the body more than likely has enough carbs to keep powering your muscles. If you’re running in hot or humid weather, replacing the water with a sports drink will help you replenish the electrolytes you may lose during the activity.
For runs that are sufficiently long enough to demand some caloric refueling, the best way to find out what to eat is to try a few different things. The ideal food will have some protein, sugar, and fat, and will be easy to eat while moving.
After you are finished running, make sure to rehydrate. Drink some water and eat some fruit, as the nutrients can prevent muscle cramping. Afterward, try to pack some protein into your next meal. Running strenuously will cause micro-tears in the muscle fibers, and your body will require protein to repair the tears.
Planning the perfect nutrition plan for running isn’t always a straightforward effort. Oftentimes, the only way to get the plan completely right is to try a few different variations and see what works best. As long as you are focused on putting in the things your body needs, you will be able to perform admirably.