This week, as part of our Inspiration Month, we're focusing on healthy eating, so we asked the experts to give us some guidance. Chris Newport and Sarah Heckler, nutritionists and registered dietitians at The Endurance Edge, stopped by earlier this week to talk with us about their 3 fundamental rules of nutrition:
We all know that protein is crucial to build muscle, and as runners we're typically pretty cognizant of our protein intake when we're training. But protein does a lot more than build muscle: among other things, it provides enzymes that facilitate digestion and energy production, aids in hormonal functions, builds collagen (hair and skin), and makes antibodies for immune health. Chris and Sarah recommend upping the protein all the time, not just during a training cycle or right after a workout, and regardless of activity level. They say it's a misconception that increased protein without increased exertion causes weight gain; even a sedentary person can benefit from more protein.
Keto, paleo, gluten-free, charcoal (?!) etc. - diet trends are everywhere, whether the goal is weight loss, athletic stamina, whatever the heck charcoal is supposed to do... There may be evidence of the effectiveness of some of these trends, and everyone knows someone who's cousin's friend lost 30 pounds on a keto diet; regardless, they're still trends. Trends are impermanent and often shifting. It's hard to build a lasting healthy lifestyle on a trend. Instead, stick to tried and true science. This is not to say that every health trend is based on bunk science, of course (and if you have an actual gluten allergy, gluten-free is definitely not a trend), but you can't go wrong with well-established research.
We know this one, but still, it's tough. You might have the best of intentions to eat healthy, but it's so easy to get derailed without a plan. Maybe you're too tired to cook, or you get home too late, or you do that thing where you stare into the fridge for five minutes and can't think of a single thing that sounds good, so you just order pizza. We all do it. The best way to minimize situations that might drive you into the warm, salty arms of fast food is to plan. This can mean writing out a weekly calendar of meals, cooking several days' worth of food at once, or prepping ingredients to cook later. It might not be fun to give up weekend time to meal prep, but a few hours on a Sunday afternoon can save time and energy later in the week. Aside from making it easier to stick to nutritious meals, you'll save money with fewer meals out and reduce food waste - if you've already chopped up all that broccoli you're much more likely to actually cook it instead of letting it rot in the veggie drawer.
Chris Newport, MS, RDN/LDN, EP-C, CLT, CISSN, is the founder and head coach of The Endurance Edge and creator of The Fueling Edge.
Sarah Heckler, MS, RDN/LDN, CISSN, is a registered dietitian and nutritionist at The Endurance Edge and creator of The Fueling Edge.