Calories For The Athlete

Hey boys and girls!

So if you read my last post, I talked about counting calories, or for me, the fact I don’t.Β  I say that until last year when I was in the heaviest training I’ve done since I started getting all athletic(y).

When you’re pushing your body hard most days of the week it comes into focus that your nutrition and caloric needs need to be brought up to speed too.

IΒ was eatingΒ healthy but quickly realized on some days my caloric needs were going to be greater than other days. It meantΒ  taking a look at my caloric output for the day (roughly) and adjusting my needs accordingly.

No, I didn’t start counting but knew I had to realistically eat more food. The tricky part for me as a distance runner is that it usually shoots my appetite. After a long run IΒ often drank/ateΒ  because I knew my body needed it for recovery versus true hunger ( ha that often came hours later πŸ™‚

If you have days of high intensity workouts, you need to make adjustments to your overall intake. Obviously, a day I’d run 20-23 miles my needs were greater than a day I only ran say, 4 miles.

I was recently asked how many calories I took in on those high mileage days. Technically, for my personal age and size, after a 23 mile run it was pushing 3,000 calories…. of which I can tell you I didn’t tap into. I ate as my body was hungry and feed it good food when I did.

Although, I have to say there were times when I felt like a bottomless pit haha

It’s very helpful that you understand what your BMR is. This is the number of calories you need to maintain your body doing pretty much nothing all day. I did a blog on this before or you can google up the harris- benedict calculator to find out your exact caloric needs. It then helps you figure what you need with your daily work and purposeful exercise.

I know my BMR is roughly 1500 calories ( can you see why I never managed to exist on diets that let me eat that…all day long ?? It’s not enough food!) quick figuring also showed me based on my day and my physical active level I could take in about 2,400 calories… yes!

A quick assessment if I knewΒ my day was much more physically demanding than the “norm”Β  told me I’d take in about 2,900 calories.Β  I will say, I really don’t consume them all, but on some days maybe I should. It’s just hard for me to eat when I’m not hungry, even understanding at that point, food is fuel to help my body recover from the demands I put on it that day.

The beauty of this is understanding and adjusting your needs based on your exercise level. I really am addressing high intensity and duration workouts here ( long cycling or running) usually lasting over an hour or more.

By understanding this, you can feed your body adequately on hard work days, and cut back on easier days.

I found two books to be extremely helpful in the past year as I’ve plowed through my training.

20150924_175442Whereas I found this book helpful athletically, it’s also written and is good for the rest of the world too. Solid, sound nutritional advice can guide an individual to successfulΒ Β weight loss.

If I could pull one chapter out and make everyone read it that would be Chapter 15… “How to lose weight without starving”Β  Nancy Clark offers sustainable and realistic nutritional advice and expertise. It’s a book well worth having in your personal library.

Of course she covers meals and nutrition for the athlete, the importance of good fueling for success, snack ideas and lots more.

endurance bookThis book I picked up training for my marathon and 50K. It gets into the science of nutrition for endurance athletes, the need for good fuel, ways to understand and know your fuel needs, how and what to eat for training and everyday life. Areas covered are running, cycling, triathlons, mountain biking, swimming and rowing. If you’re an endurance athlete I highly recommend it.Β  There is a new edition out, but the one I’m showing I got on half.com for .75 plus shipping… what a deal!

Ok… I’m done plugging books haha πŸ˜‰ I only plug ones I think are super helpful and beneficial.

You don’t need to count calories as an athlete, but being educated and understanding your nutritional needs is key to success in whatever activity you pursue.

If you do endurance activities, do you follow a certain plan ? Do you adjust your days nutritionally depending on your training ?

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Published by

Sassyfitnesschick

8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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