Category Archives: Energy Foods

How To Make Homemade Sports Drinks That Will Make You Run Faster

Sports drinks are used to enhance running performance. They can make a runner run faster and longer by keeping him/her hydrated, maintaining high energy levels and keeping electrolytes in balance.

Although popular sports / energy drinks like Gatorade and Powerade do a fine job, they are obscenely expensive. The alternative and cheaper option is making a homemade sports drink. Making a homemade sports drink is very simple. The ingredients required are things that you can find in a typical American kitchen.

Types of Sports drink that you can make at home

There are three types of sports drinks. Isotonic sports drinks, Hypotonic sports drink and hypertonic sports drink. The difference is the amount of sugar and salts in the drink.

Recipe for making a homemade Isotonic sports drink

Isotonic sports drinks are the common sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade that you find on the shelves of your local supermarket store. Isotonic sport drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body. They are formulated to quickly replace the water and electrolytes which are lost by sweating. They also provide a boost of carbohydrate. They can be drunk at any point of a race.

  • 500ml unsweetened fruit juice (orange, apple, pineapple)
  • 500ml water
  • Mix them all together in a jug and cool down in fridge.

Recipe for making a homemade hypertonic sports drink.

Hypertonic sport drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body. Hypertonic drinks are used to supplement your daily carbohydrate intake. They contain higher levels of carbs than isotonic and hypotonic drinks.

The best time to drink is in the final stages of a marathon when your glycogen stores are low or depleted. They are also drunk immediately after finishing running to aid in the recovery process.

  • 400ml of squash
  • One litre of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Mix, cool and drink

Recipe for making a homemade Hypotonic sports drink

Hypotonic sport drinks contain a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.Hypotonic are formulated to quickly replaces fluids lost through sweating. Unlike isotonic and hypertonic drinks they are low in salts carbohydrates.

They are the best type of sports drinks to drink at the early stages of a race. In the early stages you have lost very little salt through sweating and your energy levels are still high. An hypotonic drink will replace the water lost through sweating without adding on the sugars and salts.

  • 100ml of squash
  • One litre of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Mix, cool and drink

Experiment with these drinks during your training runs before trying them in a race. During the experimentation process you will find out how your body responds to them. Although most runners respond well to sports drinks, there are runners who experience side effects. Some of the side effects are nausea and stomach pains.

A sports drinks is not the panacea to running faster. You will need to continue working hard in your training if you dream of running faster and with endurance.

Common Foods That Cause Stomach Cramps When Running

Stomach cramps are the bane of running. The cramps are in form of sharp pains that interfere with running experience. The pains are so bad that they make runners slow down. The cramps are common among new runners but they start going away with running experience.

Causes of Stomach Cramps

The most common cause of running  stomach cramps are in-experience, dehydration, poor breathing technique, lactic acid build up in the body and poor food choice.

This article touches on foods that make you suffer stomach cramps when running. All runners have a pre race meal but some of the foods eaten before running are prone to cause abdominal pain.

It is good to note runners are different, some runners might feed on these foods and not suffer any adverse reaction. For runners who have been suffering stomach cramps while running and don’t know what is the cause, look at the following food list and see if you feast on any food before racing. Then cut it out of your pre race meal and see whether things will improve.

Foods To Avoid that Cause stomach cramps while running

Dairy products – Foods like milk yoghurt and cheese contain large amount of lactose. Runners who suffer from lactose intolerance will get a negative reaction in form of stomach cramps whenever they consume large quantities of dairy products.

Fiber Rich Foods

Although fiber reach foods are good for digestion, they are bad when consumed a few minutes before running. They stay longer in the stomach and take longer to be absorbed in to the body. Running with that extra matter in your stomach will cause cramps.

Proteins.

Protein rich diets of beef, chicken and pork are good when eaten after the race but bad before the race. Just like fiber rich foods, proteins like meat and beef stay longer in the stomach longer and are hard to digest. Combine that with running and you will suffer stomach cramps.

Gluten rich food

Runners who suffer celiac acids may suffer stomach cramps whenever they eat a diet rich in gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat, barley and rye

Caffeine

Research has shown drinking a reasonable amount of coffee can be good for running by boosting running performance. However,coffee is a stimulant that can affect the digestive tract. if you suspect coffee is giving you stomach cramps try to reduce the amount of coffee you guzzle before running. If that does not work, trying cutting out coffee from your pre race meal.

Energy Drinks

I love energy drinks but some energy drinks have been show to cause stomach cramps. Different runner react differently to energy drinks. The only way to know the energy drink best suited for you is to experiment with different energy drink during training.

Juices –

Majority of juices sold in supermarkets are made from concentrates. Many contain high levels of sugars. When taken before or during your run, they can cause abdominal pain. Orange juice and grape juice are notorious for this.

Pears, melons, pineapple

These fruits and veggies are high in fiber, but are also known for causing gas. This can lead to painful bloating.

 

What To Eat After Running : 6 Super Foods For Active Runners

Good nutrition is extremely important to good performance when you run. What you eat after running is equally important as to what you eat before running.

One of the most commonly asked question by newbie runners is “what to eat after running” Before I answer that question I need to explain what happens to your body after rigorous running exercise.

After your running routine your body enters into a catabolic state in which your metabolism is breaking down tissue. Muscle glycogen has been depleted and cortisol levels are up. Both states are unhealthy.

You need a quick fix to return to an anabolic state where tissue growth and repair takes place.

How do you accomplish that necessary recovery in a speedy and healthy manner?

Choose foods that your body can quickly, easily and efficiently digest. You need to create a quick insulin spike with simple carbohydrates(fruits, veggies, pasta etc) to move nutrients to the muscles fast. You also need quickly digestible protein that provides the amino acids that start muscle repair ASAP.

Generally you will get the fastest response from a meal ranging around 300-500 calories, depending on your body size. Females usually need the lower amount and males the higher number.

Super Foods to Eat After Running

1. Salmon

This fish is rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Those two are powerful healing nutrients. They help in rebuilding muscle, repairing stress fractures, tendons, and ligaments.

2. Carrots

After running your body immune system is down and you are vulnerable to infections. To give it a lift, feast on a bowl of carrots. Carrots are rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in building white blood cells, which your body needs to fight infections.

3. Bananas

Bananas are rich in calories and give you much needed energy boost. They are also a good source of potassium. During running you lose a lot of potassium through sweating and eating a banana will give you a fix.

3. Soy drink

Soy is a great source of post-exercise protein to promote muscle recovery.

3. Oatmeal

It is rich in calories, and the energy from it is long lasting.

4. Ovacado

Although low on calories, ovacado is packed with healthy fats. It also contains essential vitamin and minerals necessary for body repair.

5. Whole meal pasta/rice eat

After you have eaten simple carbs to get a quick fix and you now feel like resting and and taking a well earned rest you should eat a whole meal diet of pasta or rice. Whole meal is slow acting and provides you with longer lasting energy.

How much should food should you eat after running?

The optimal ratio of carbs to protein runs between 2:1 to 4:1. How do you decide the numbers that are right for you? Start with the lower number and notice how you feel. Your goal is to feel good and be at your best to face the day full of energy, vitality and clear thinking.

If you do not get back to feeling great quickly increase your ratio above the 2:1. Always honor how you feel. When you feel good keep doing what you are doing!

Pre Race Meal Plan To Help You Run Faster

Hours and hours of intense training go into your preparation for marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5K event. When the final day arrives you want to be on top of your game. You want to feel like you’ve done every possible thing to facilitate peak performance. One key element to a fast race on race day is your pre-race nutrition. Eating the right, or wrong foods for that matter, can make a big difference in your running speed.

Pre Race Meal On The Night Before The Race

Two to three days before you race, as you begin to taper your activity, you want to increase your carbohydrate consumption. Of the three macro-nutrients that food are made up of, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will be the best form of energy for you. Carb-loading helps to increase your muscle glycogen stores. Foods such as breads, pastas, and fruits are high in carbohydrates and are best. You should avoid high fiber foods such as, vegetables, beans, and bran-filled grains the day before to lighten the bowel load. The day before the race you should consume 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of your body weight. (1 kg = 2.2 lbs). Since you should be basically resting the few days before your event your body doesn’t need as much protein for muscle repair.

Pre Race Diet Morning Of The Race

Ideally, you should eat two to four hours before your big event, allowing proper time for digestion. With most races beginning in the wee hours of the morning this can be difficult. Getting up early enough to allow proper time for digestion might take away from sleep time, which is equally as important. This is where you need to find the balance that works for you. Your pre-race meal should be about 300-500 calories, with 80% of your calories coming from carbohydrates. Your goal should be to eat enough to give you adequate energy for your race, but not make you feel uncomfortable as you are racing. Avoid foods that are high in fiber, protein, and fat. Choose foods and drinks that are easily digested, and easily consumed. Some good options are Bagels; primarily made up of carbohydrates, topped with a low fat cream cheese or eaten plain. Bananas; containing more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, they are easily digested and contain potassium which is lost in sweat while you work out vigorously. There are energy bars made specifically to be a pre-race food. Be careful here to avoid the bars high in protein. Most of them are low in carbohydrates, and will not have the same advantageous effect on your body. Oatmeal is another great pre-race meal. It is made up primarily of carbohydrates, is easily digested, and will help you feel full. Another key factor is to make sure you’re adequately hydrated. Beginning hydrated will help you to maintain a proper fluid balance throughout your race.

The most important thing to remember here is to stick to what you know. The morning of your big race is not the time to try out new eating regimens you’ve heard work wonders. The time to figure out what is going to work best for your body is when you’re in training. Find the foods that your body digests well, and that give you sufficient energy. Putting the time into making sure your pre-race meal is satisfactory will be well worth your while, and can give you the boost necessary to ensure top performance!

Drink Caffeine To Run Faster

Athletes and office workers alike have used caffeine as a way to stay alert and improve endurance. Many athletes have experienced success when using caffeine as a performance enhancing supplement with very few problems. A study on use of Caffeine by Olympic athletes showed it was the drug of choice for the majority. More than two-thirds of Olympic athletes reported using caffeine to increase their performance. You can be quite sure that if Olympic athletes are using caffeine, it works.

This legal performance enhancing drug is found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, chocolate, cocoa beans and cola nuts, and is often added to carbonated drinks.

Research That Proves Caffeine Boosts Running Performance

It is one of the best-researched nutritional supplements, and the overwhelming scientific evidence suggests that, it enhances sporting performance. Makes runners run faster, swimmers swim faster and cyclist cycle faster. Caffeine delays fatigue and helps to increase energy levels, increase alertness and even decrease muscle pain. All these positive effects lead to workouts that are longer, more productive and often more enjoyable to the athlete. One technical reason for this is due to the effect caffeine has on the increased stimulation of the central nervous system.

Caffeine Makes Hard & Fast Running Feel Easier

Research shows caffeine alters a runner’s mind by boosting levels of dopamine. This boosts your mental alertness, improves your mood, and boosts your desire to run hard. . It makes running fast and hard feel easier.

Caffeine Promotes Use of Fat as Fuel

In another research, caffeine promoted the use of fat as a fuel source. This is important to long distance runners who need to conserve glycogen to be able to runner further. Caffeine increases the number of fatty acids in the blood stream, which increases the speed at which your body can covert fat to usable energy.

Caffeine Improves Running Speed

A group of researchers studied caffeine consumption by 5k Runners. The researchers found that runners who used caffeine prior to their 5k race improved by 1.0 to 1.1 percent.

There is so much data that proves that caffeine improves performance. It’s been shown in well-respected studies around the world. Many athletes have experienced success when using caffeine as a performance enhancing supplement with very few problems.

The Best Time To Take Caffeine If You Want To Boost Running Speed.

Caffeine is effective when taken before the start of a race. Caffeine is absorbed quickly and reaches its highest blood concentration in about an hour, and this high concentration can be maintained for several hours. When taken an hour before a race, the effect can last the duration of a 5K, 10K and even a marathon.

Recommended Dosage for Caffeine

The recommended dose to help enhance endurance workouts is about 6 mg per kg of body weight. The scientific literature also suggests that the risk of negative side effects is increased if caffeine is taken in doses higher than 9mg per kg of body mass. Experiment with different dosages in your training to see what works best for you.

The average cup of coffee has about 60 mg to 120 mg, so it does not take a whole pot of coffee to do the job. Caffeine pills are also an option to really dial in correct dosages.

The half-life of caffeine, the time required for the body to eliminate one-half of the total amount of caffeine, varies widely among individuals. Depending on factors such as age, liver function, pregnancy, and some medications, caffeine’s half-life is approximately five hours in healthy athletic adults.

Side Effects of Caffeine Use By Runners

When taken in moderation, it has very few to no adverse health effects. When abused, it can cause annoying little problems such as increased urination, stomach upset, headaches and trouble sleeping.

Caffeine effect on first time users

Caffeine does increase the heart rate and blood pressure in people who are not regular uses. But after three or four days, that potentially negative effect is gone.

Caffeine Does Not Cause Dehydration in Athletes

While caffeine is a diuretic, exercise counteracts its negative impact on hydration. In a recent scientific review, researchers from the University of Connecticut found that, contrary to popular beliefs, caffeine consumption does not result in:-

(1) water-electrolyte imbalances

(2) hypothermia and

(3) reduced exercise-heat tolerance.

Athletes engaged in heavy endurance training often seek additional nutritional strategies to help maximize performance, however as with any intervention or use of supplementation, individual responses will vary. Athletes should monitor their caffeine dosage strategy before putting it to the test in a competition. Caffeine can benefit you in a race but does not replace a sound training plan and healthy diet.

25 Running Foods For Energy, Power, Speed & Endurance

A good running diet for marathon runners, half marathon runners, 5k and 10k runners is one that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and sufficient but not excessive in protein. That translates to about 60 percent of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat, and 15 percent from protein.

Carbohydrates are the most important foods in a runners diet. That is why it is recommend they have 60% in their diet. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen, the primary fuel you need to keep you moving. When this efficient source of energy wears out, so do you. You hit the wall and can go no further (often after about 90 minutes or two hours of running).

Carbohydrates come in two flavors: simple and complex. The complex carbos are the ones you’re after. These are absorbed slowly into your system and give you a steady energy supply.

Best Complex Carbohydrates Foods For Runners who want energy, speed & endurance.

1. Bananas

Bananas make the perfect pre-race snack. They are easy to eat and digest and are loaded with fast-acting carbohydrates (one large banana provides 31 grams of carbs).

2. Whole-Wheat Pasta

You don’t need me to tell you that pasta is high in carbs. One cup of whole-wheat spaghetti provides 37 grams. As with other grain-based foods, whole-grain pasta supplies more nutrition and yields longer-lasting energy.

3. Brown Rice

Cereal grains such as brown rice are among the richest sources of carbohydrate. One cup of brown rice has 45 grams of carbohydrate. Whole grains such as brown rice are considered healthier than refined grains such as white rice because they contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also absorbed more slowly, so they provide more lasting energy.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an ideal pre-race breakfast food. It’s easy to eat and digest and provides a ton of carbs: one half-cup gives you a whopping 54 grams!

5. Sweet Potatoes

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid), vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. The sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. A serving of 100g will give you 365 calories.

6. Whole-Grain Bread

Whole-grain breads are a better choice that all white breads. All white breads are all calories without nutritional values. Whole grain bread is made from cereal grains and contains germ, endosperm and bran, unlike refined grains, which contain only the endosperm. Because whole grain bread retains the germ and bran of the grain, it contains higher amounts of fiber, vitamins and minerals than white bread. Whole grain bread contains about 70 calories per slice.

7. Low fat Yogurt

Low fat milk-based foods such as yogurt are very rich sources of carbohydrate. A six-ounce serving of low fat blueberry yogurt supplies 26 grams of carbs. Low fat yogurt is another good pre- race food, because it works quickly.

8. Vegetables

Vegetables are high in water, low in fat, have multiple vitamins and minerals, and most varieties are complex carbs. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, turnip greens, eggplant, potatoes, yams, corn, carrots, onions, all types of lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes and asparagus are all examples of these.

Foods That Keep You Lean and Running as Fast as a Cheetah

Although protein is not used as energy source during running, it plays an important role in repairing and building your body. Running is an impact sport and a well built body will withstand the heavy pounding. This will enable you to have stamina, power and endurance in your running.

Proteins also helps to keep your body lean. It is a fact, the lighter you are the faster you can run.

9. Milk

The health benefits of milk—which has carbohydrates, electrolytes, calcium and vitamin D—have long been established. But for athletes, milk also contains the two proteins best for rebuilding muscles: casein and whey. Some scientist even argue, milk may be just as good or even better than sports drinks for serious athletes.

10. Eggs.

Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.

11. Beans.

Beans are high in protein. Soybeans have “complete” protein and other beans contain high levels of all but one of the necessary amino acids (methionine) that makes protein “complete”.Bean nutrition is high. Besides fiber, protein and other nutrients, beans are rich in iron and magnesium.

12. Lean beef.

Beef is a naturally nutrient-rich powerhouse that is an excellent source of five essential nutrients: protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, and phosphorous. It’s a good source of five more essential nutrients: choline, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and riboflavin. Today beef is 20% leaner, on average, than it was early 1990s. The 29 cuts of lean beef average 154 calories in a 3-oz. serving and only one more gram of saturated fat than a comparable serving of skinless, boneless chicken breast.

13. Nuts 

Yes, they are fattening: A handful of peanuts is about 165 calories. But research shows that people who snack on nuts tend to be slimmer than those who don’t.

14. Tofu

Tofu is popular with the vegetarian athletes, but that is for good reason. Tofu can fill in where meat would normally fit in. It is rich in protein and calcium. An ounce of firm tofu contains about 11 g of protein.

Good Fats for runners who want speed endurance.

Fat is also used as an energy source in aerobic activities such as marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5k races. The amount of fat  used as fuel depends on the athlete’s condition. Trained athletes use fat for energy more quickly than untrained athletes.

15. Peanuts and natural peanut butter:

With a high dose of monounsaturated fat, some minerals and a bit of fiber, this is a wonderful addition to any sound diet, as long as you are not allergic of course.

16. Olive Oil

One good olive is the extra virgin olive oil. The “extra virgin” means from the first cold pressing, meaning that it also retains all the nutrients of the olive, but even more concentrated, yet no salty brines. Feel free to use them on salads, vegetable trays or right out of the jar for a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. Cured olives have been a treat enjoyed by the masses throughout the ages.

17. Salmon and other fatty fish

These are still primarily a protein food, but the healthy fat inside cannot be understated. There are several varieties like Sockeye, Copper River and King and all are amazing foods.

18. Organic, unpasteurized butter & cream

A little taste of the French Paradox here! Definitely worth it if you can find these, as they contain enzymes and CLA and are easy on the palette. Even better if they come from certified grass-fed cows.

19. Raw nuts

Almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias, etc. are tremendous healthy fats. Good sources of protein and fiber, while also a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat, minerals, and Vitamin E. Try the nut butters if you don’t like nuts, just make sure there is no roasting or commercial processing involved.

20. Avocadoes.

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat.

Recipe for runners food who want to run faster

This is a Carbon Loading recipe to be prepared and eaten on the eve of a race. This recipe is courtesy of leana of small snippetblogNoodles