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Take care of your body…it’s the only one you’ve got.

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I am truly amazed on a daily basis at the lifestyles my clients lead.  My clients are moms, dads, students, short-order cooks, employees, business owners, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, grandparents, gardeners, coaches, Presidents of their local trade organizations or PTA, superbly organized AND they still find time for exercise and training.

The amount these people can do in one day is unfathomed by many.  The only thing is…sometimes they forget to take care of themselves.  As a recreational athlete, I think they forget that they are still an athlete.  “Real” athletes get massage, have coaches, physical therapy, ice baths, heating regimens, supplements at their disposal, the best clothes/shoes for their sport, sports psychology AND they get enough sleep!  Recreational athletes are lucky if they do 2-3 of these things on a regular basis.  Yet, they still demand a lot from their bodies.  They train to eat, rather than eat to train.  They get 5 hours of sleep each night.  They don’t eat within 30 minutes of their workouts.  They often train 7 days a week.  They don’t stretch.  They don’t get help when they’re injured and sometimes don’t even rest when injured.  They often don’t cross train or get strength training in because “it’s just one extra thing.”

Now, I’m not going to say I’m perfect at any of this.  BUT…because I demand a lot from my body and it just so happens that I’m a Sports Dietitian, I am doing everything possible to train smart and take care of my body and I believe all recreational athletes should consider doing the same.  The results are amazing.  You’re never tired, your recovery times are amazingly fast, you make it through a season injury free AND don’t get sick, and you get faster if your training warrants getting faster.  More importantly than even these things, your hormones don’t go crazy on you and you maintain a good body weight and composition!  So many recreational athletes gain and lose the same 10-15 pounds every year.  You lose the weight through the season and the minute you take a break you put it right back on.  But you train day in and day out to be healthier right?

I was reminded of this after my recent first ultra run.  I teach my clients to replace calories they burn every weekend for long training sessions to avoid being hungry Monday and Tuesday every week when their volume is back down.  Yes, that means sometimes 3000-4000 calories on a Saturday.  But, doing that is not only amazing for recovery and energy, it’s huge to not feel like your appetite is out of control for several days after!   As I mentioned, I take the best care possible of my body.  My nutrition was spot on before and after the race.  Energy was perfect.  My training was perfect going into the race thanks to Gary Anderson.  No injuries even after running 54 miles 2 weeks before.  I got a massage the week before thanks to Terry Fuller.  The right type of massage going into an ultra race.  I took an ice bath as soon as I got back to the room after the race.  I wore compression for nearly 24 hours also.  The only thing I didn’t do was REPLACE THE CALORIES I BURNED ON SATURDAY.  Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to eat that much, especially if you don’t finish your workout or race until mid afternoon.  But, guess what that means?  You’re going to be hungry for DAYS afterwards.  And, if you’re not burning any calories because 1) you’re recovering like you should be or 2) because your season is over and you’re taking a break then, eating that way isn’t going to do you any favors in the weight department.  This is where nutrition periodization comes in and what you choose to eat can lead to the extra weight or it can help you from gaining it.  Since I took care of my body I was able to get right back at my training instead of taking too much time off which is good considering I’m in the middle of my season!

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Some of my carb load foods

All of that to help you understand what your body is doing after a big event and sometimes even after a big training weekend.  So, take care of your body….it’s the only one you have.

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Some of my carb load foods

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Some of my carb load foods

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