It is a topic that often raises questions and should not be neglected for athletes: nutrition. What is good for my body What should I keep my hands off of – or at least avoid regular consumption? What effects does diet have on my sport and what should beginners watch out for if they want to lose weight? What seems a little complicated at first glance is – if you take a closer look – ultimately not that difficult. But easy to say is not easy to do. The prerequisite is knowledge of processes in the body, what defines a healthy diet and – probably the most difficult components – perseverance in implementation and the will.
- Lose weight solely through exercise? – “Basic nutrition is very important”
It is not uncommon for weight reduction to be one of the goals that drive people to integrate more sport into their everyday lives. The faster you can see success, the better. The fact that the desired effects often do not occur immediately after the first running unit and it takes a certain period of time before success can be achieved can be demotivating. However, it is important to know that sport alone is not everything.
“It’s about 70 to 80 percent nutrition and 20 to 30 percent exercise. Both together are wonderful, interlocking. But basic nutrition is actually very important in everyday life if you want to lose weight, ”explained nutrition expert Anke Tieken in the endurance blog podcast “ Why some people lose weight by running and others don’t ” .
“The best thing you can do is eat as naturally as possible,” Anke continued. The recommendations, for example, can provide clues for thisof the German Nutrition Society (DGE), which are based on (but partly older) scientific findings. This includes, among other things, the recommendation to eat a total of five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, which Anke also mentioned. Combine this with good carbohydrates and protein sources – in the best case, vegetable. These include, for example, legumes. “If you simply – it sounds so simple – eat a balanced diet, with what nature offers you, then you are on the right path,” she recommends. What are good sources of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals? You can get a brief overview of this here .
Nutrition for runners – with these 7 steps you as a runner create the right basis for a healthy diet.
- Effective fat burning pulse training to lose weight? – “Yes and no”
The body gets its energy primarily from two sources: carbohydrates and fat. Carbohydrates are stored in the liver and skeletal muscles in the form of glycogen. Fats are generally divided into saturated and unsaturated fats. The body needs all fats, but we typically eat too much saturated fat. “Our body has a carbohydrate metabolism and a fat metabolism. You optimize both if you are a beginner and run regularly, ”explained Anke.
But can you lose weight as a beginner by training in a very specific pulse range – the so-called fat burning pulse range? “Yes and no,” was the nutritionist’s answer. “When you start, the body will primarily use the carbohydrate metabolism for the time being. The better you are trained, the better you can get into this fat burning area, ”says Anke. Basically, it is therefore correct that you burn fat when you run in a low heart rate range. But the decisive factor is the distinction between a relative and an absolute view (which you can read through here in detail).
“Run slowly, burn fat – it doesn’t have to be absolutely right,” Anke made clear. Instead, the variety of running pace should fix it, she continued. Because that’s how you train both metabolisms. “Be patient and stay tuned and a little hard work. Then it gets better – by itself. That’s the great thing. “
- Carbohydrates – Refill memory quickly
Runners who exercise regularly should consume 50 to 55 percent carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be consumed especially shortly after a training session in order to replenish the glycogen stores mentioned above. The faster you fill up your memory, the faster it will be available to you again. Carbohydrates can be consumed in juice spritzers, for example.
- Lose weight on an empty stomach? – “Wouldn’t recommend this for beginners yet”
Anke gave no recommendation for beginners to lose weight for units that are completed in the morning without breakfast – so-called so-called fasting runs. That is more something for advanced users. The background to an empty run is that the glycogen stores are no longer completely full in the morning. The body uses fats.
“Here again the goal is to turn off the fat metabolism,” says Anke. “I always say: someone who trains for the marathon wants the same thing as someone who wants to lose weight. Both want to optimize their fat metabolism. That said, it can be useful. But I wouldn’t recommend that for beginners yet. “
On the other hand, to try it out and see how a slow run on an empty stomach feels and affects, but says nothing. When it comes to breakfast in general, everyone has to find out for themselves what is good for them personally. “Trial and error”, as Anke put it in a nutshell.
Nutrition for runners – 7 steps to a good foundation
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- Adequate hydration
Sufficient hydration, i.e. an adequate supply of water, is equally important for beginners and advanced users in everyday life. The DGE recommends drinking around 1.5 liters every day and, ideally, using water. “Many things that can inhibit us, for example heavy legs, but also cramps or gastrointestinal complaints, can result from a lack of drinking in everyday life,” explained Anke.
In addition to the lack of fluid, carbohydrates can be responsible for heavy legs when running. Nevertheless, before and after training, you have the opportunity to replenish your carbohydrate storage by hydrating, for example “by simply drinking a juice spritzer”. While running, however, you should only consume water “to keep your fat metabolism going”. In terms of timing, it is recommended that you only take drinks with you if you run for about 90 minutes, according to Anke.
- Breaks between training and eating
It is advised to “not eat anything heavy” for almost two hours before training, Anke said in the podcast “ The do’s and don’ts when it comes to nutrition ” and continued: “Everything that you still have in your stomach is heavy “These include, for example, dietary fiber, which generally counts as carbohydrates, but is largely indigestible. Eating too little is not a solution either, but rather inhibits your performance. Anke’s tip for runners who tend to eat less during the day: eat half a banana, half a fruit bar or some fruit shortly beforehand.
After training, as mentioned under 3. Carbohydrates, you should fill up the memory as soon as possible – “within the next hour, the next two hours”. However, there is no one right course of action here either, because everyone is different.
If some cannot eat anything at first after an intensive session, others need something immediately. In both cases it is important to choose the right one. Instead of a Coke, rather “drink a juice spritzer and maybe a few nuts”, Anke advises those who cannot eat something directly. Everyone else can rely on vegetables or whole grains as a source of carbohydrates. In addition, a good source of protein and a handful of raw vegetables, because “there are our vitamins inside, which can be a bit overcooked in the cooked vegetables.”
- It’s the basis – and exceptions are allowed
Ultimately, a healthy basic diet, i.e. a balanced diet, lays the foundation for runners – but actually for everyone. And that is regardless of what goal you are pursuing. Outliers are quite normal there too. After an intensive session or a marathon, you can treat yourself to something – and then enjoy it too. It is only important that the occasional outlier does not become a habit and that you still maintain the healthy basis.