Nutrition For Runners
It doesn't seem to matter whether we love or hate Christmas..we usually all have one thing in common at this time of the year..we eat and drink too much. Which is fine..except we tend to exercise less as well because we are so busy....and of course we all know eating more and exercising less can only mean one thing....FAT
When we exercise there is formula as to how we burn up those calories...the first thing that goes (if it is in the system) is alcohol (due to its high sugar content); when it's burnt we start on the carbs, and depending on how many are in our system, the carbs will also dictate how hard and how long we will exercise as they provide our energy; after carbs we start to burn fat; and after fat (if we are still going) we burn protein, which is something we don't want to be doing.
A lot of people think that alcohol isn't fattening and isn't a major cause of weight gain...let me tell you, alcohol does make you fat. It is full of sugar and simple carbohydrates and because it is empty calories..meaning it doesn't satisfy your hunger, you are still eating the same, and often we eat more when we are drinking.
However, its not all bad and I do say..drink..be merry at this time of the year...but offset it with running. As I told you earlier, alcohol will be burnt up first, so after a night of drinking the best way to get rid of it is go for a run in the morning...I can hear the howls from here..how can you run with a hangover..easy..just get the shoes on and run.
Over the years many of my runs have been done to cure many a hangover. However, one word of warning, make sure you are in hangover mode and not still drunk mode, I've found it is a very fine line. Once when I had a nasty fall, I really dont know what side of the line I was on at the time!
Sure your going to feel like crap when you wake up and get ready but once you hit the road and start you usually begin to feel OK. I can feel the alcohol pouring out of me (in the form of sweat) when I run after a night on the grog. You may not run your fastest or your best but you will have got rid of those empty calories.
I know it sounds like I have given all runners a full pardon if they get off tap for every night of the silly season...but no I havent. Regular drinking of alcohol is not good for you and I dont care how much those red wine fanatics try to say it is, it's not.
It causes weight gain, excessive intake of alcohol can cause diabetes, and now some cancers in women have been linked to only a few glasses of alcohol a week. Alcohol is one of the most used, abused and widely accepted drugs of our lifetimes and its intake is on the increase, with kids starting to drink at younger ages...so if we are thinking the problems that it causes will just disappear, then we are dreaming.
Here are some suggestions to help curb your alcohol intake if you are finding you may indulge too much
- Have alcohol free days (AFDs), make every second day a drink free day or three or four alcohol free days a week
- When Out, have a wine, then when the glass is empty fill it with water, drink that glass as slow as you drank your wine, then have another glass of wine...this way you are cutting the alcohol in half, getting fluids and probably finding you dont even need the second glass. Make sure you put the water in a wine or champagne glass, it will be like the real thing then!
- Dont keep alcohol in the house. I know its hard now with all the great discounts on 6 pack buys, but I avoid them. If I am having a drink with dinner one night, I ride my bike up to the Bottle O and buy one bottle in a brown paper bag and ride home...the good old fashioned way!
-Dont drink at home, so thats your rule, you only drink when you go out for dinner...yeah I know, now you will never be at home!!
- If it's only you who drinks in the house, and you find it too easy to go through a whole bottle, buy the little single serve bottles (like the ones on the airlines), they are available now and good for solo drinkers
- Cath tells me just drinking soda water when out is just as good as an alcoholic drink, make sure you get it with lemon and ice, and in a proper cocktail or long ball glass...if it looks like alcohol, I bet it tastes like alcohol!
- Keep tabs on your alcohol intake. Know exactly how much you are drinking and how often. Many people are often shocked when forced to add up their alcohol intake over a week. Just as you know how often you run in a week and how many kms, you should also know how much alcohol you have consumed.
If you are like me and love this time of the year, and cant resist all the great food on offer and like to celebrate with friends and family with champagne..do it..but increase your exercise, or even maintain it, it will be so much easier after the silly season is over to know you are not going into the new year carrying extra kilos...so my tip for this week..keep drinking and eating..and keep running.