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More Nutrition: Eating to Body Type

We have talked about body type before at LHR, mainly as a determinant of what type of runner you are. However, as we have expanded our conversation  into nutrition, body type has come back into the picture. This time to really determine if body types change how we should eat. (Hint: I believe it does). Let’s take a quick look at the differences.


Ectomorph

  • Light and lean
  • Long limbs
  • Fast metabolism
  • Excess energy burnt thru activities like fidgeting and heat
  • Easily satisfied, rarely hungry (forget to eat)
  • SNS dominant, thyroid dominant (fight or flight)
  • High carbohydrate tolerant

They can easily maintain a “lean-normal” to a “lean-athletic” body fat percentage. This person may struggle to put on muscle. General nutrition guidelines would look like this: Ectos: 55% carbs, 25% protein, 20% fat.

So, what does this look like? For men, each day may include:

Men:

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 10-12 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 2-4 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women: 

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 7-9 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 1-3 thumbs of fat dense foods

Mesomorph

  • Medium and balanced, naturally muscular
  • Middle of road metabolism
  • Excess energy usually builds lean mass
  • Normal appetite, hunger, satiation
  • More hungry if active
  • Testosterone and growth hormone dominant
  • Normal carb tolerance

The trained person will have above average muscularity with “lean-normal” to “lean-athletic” body fat. They may have denser bones than average. Their diet may be composed like this: 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat and look like the following.

Men (daily intake):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense food
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 6-8 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 6-8 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women (daily intake):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 4-6 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 4-6 thumbs of fat dense foods

Endomorph

  • Heavier, more body fat
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excess energy gets stored as fat
  • Often sensitive to appetite and hunger cues. Less sensitive to satiation and satiety cues.
  • PNS dominant (conserves energy, increases digestion and gland activity)
  • Lower than average carbohydrate tolerant

This person will have denser bones than average. They may have a fair amount of lean mass, but still have a relatively higher body fat. There diet may be composed like this: 25% carbs, 35% protein, 40% fat. In more practical terms, it may look like the following:

Men (daily):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 2-4 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 10-12 thumbs of fat dense foods.

Women (daily):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 1-3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 7-9 thumbs of fat dense foods

Take-Aways and Caveats:

What I want to point out here is that at no point is a macronutrient scaled back so far that another macro has to make up for it. We are simply maximizing (or minimizing) a macronutrient to reach the body’s needs. I can’t stress enough that the body needs all three of the macronutrients, but not necessarily in the same proportions that other people require. This is simply an easier way to individualize nutrition to your needs.

The second point I want to make is that these guidelines are for eating outside what we call the workout window. The workout window is the 1-2 hours before your workout, the workout itself, and then the 1-2 hour recovery window after the workout. Now, personally, I don’t refer to easy runs as workouts. These are usually short enough for most people where they don’t drastically alter your daily nutrition needs. I am referring to SOS days, or speed, strength, tempo, and long runs. These runs are usually long enough and intense enough to drastically change glycogen stores, even if you are “fat adapted” and we need to replace those calories with quality carbohydrates. With all the options out there nowadays, finding real food and/or quality options is no longer an issue.

Pre-exercise guidelines have been discussed previously, so we won’t enter those discussions again. During your workout, general guidelines are 30-45 grams per hour of exercise. This may be a gel(s), or the right mixture of fluid. There seems to be a little bit of mixed thoughts on protein or BCAA’s during exercise, but some say 15g of BCAA per hour will help with performance. Finally, recovery is of the utmost importance if you want to improve your ability to perform and perform more. Again, there’s a bit discussion of how much is needed, but I would recommend at least 15-20 grams (up to 40 grams) of high quality protein or BCAA. Then I would say 80g of a mix of high glycemic/low glycemic carbohydrates. A 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose to enhance replacement of what you have utilized during the workout.

Once outside your workout window, assuming that you have adhered to workout nutrition, keep your nutrition to the recommendations given your body type. This is just one strategy to employ when trying to individualize your nutrition, but still maximize performance. Hope this helps you navigate the waters a little bit!

 

More Nutrition: Eating to Body Type

We have talked about body type before at LHR, mainly as a determinant of what type of runner you are. However, as we have expanded our conversation  into nutrition, body type has come back into the picture. This time to really determine if body types change how we should eat. (Hint: I believe it does). Let’s take a quick look at the differences.


Ectomorph

  • Light and lean
  • Long limbs
  • Fast metabolism
  • Excess energy burnt thru activities like fidgeting and heat
  • Easily satisfied, rarely hungry (forget to eat)
  • SNS dominant, thyroid dominant (fight or flight)
  • High carbohydrate tolerant

They can easily maintain a “lean-normal” to a “lean-athletic” body fat percentage. This person may struggle to put on muscle. General nutrition guidelines would look like this: Ectos: 55% carbs, 25% protein, 20% fat.

So, what does this look like? For men, each day may include:

Men:

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 10-12 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 2-4 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women: 

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 7-9 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 1-3 thumbs of fat dense foods

Mesomorph

  • Medium and balanced, naturally muscular
  • Middle of road metabolism
  • Excess energy usually builds lean mass
  • Normal appetite, hunger, satiation
  • More hungry if active
  • Testosterone and growth hormone dominant
  • Normal carb tolerance

The trained person will have above average muscularity with “lean-normal” to “lean-athletic” body fat. They may have denser bones than average. Their diet may be composed like this: 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat and look like the following.

Men (daily intake):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense food
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 6-8 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 6-8 thumbs of fat dense foods

Women (daily intake):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 4-6 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 4-6 thumbs of fat dense foods

Endomorph

  • Heavier, more body fat
  • Slow metabolism
  • Excess energy gets stored as fat
  • Often sensitive to appetite and hunger cues. Less sensitive to satiation and satiety cues.
  • PNS dominant (conserves energy, increases digestion and gland activity)
  • Lower than average carbohydrate tolerant

This person will have denser bones than average. They may have a fair amount of lean mass, but still have a relatively higher body fat. There diet may be composed like this: 25% carbs, 35% protein, 40% fat. In more practical terms, it may look like the following:

Men (daily):

  • 6-8 palms of protein dense foods
  • 6-8 fists of vegetables
  • 2-4 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 10-12 thumbs of fat dense foods.

Women (daily):

  • 4-6 palms of protein dense foods
  • 4-6 fists of vegetables
  • 1-3 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods
  • 7-9 thumbs of fat dense foods

Take-Aways and Caveats:

What I want to point out here is that at no point is a macronutrient scaled back so far that another macro has to make up for it. We are simply maximizing (or minimizing) a macronutrient to reach the body’s needs. I can’t stress enough that the body needs all three of the macronutrients, but not necessarily in the same proportions that other people require. This is simply an easier way to individualize nutrition to your needs.

The second point I want to make is that these guidelines are for eating outside what we call the workout window. The workout window is the 1-2 hours before your workout, the workout itself, and then the 1-2 hour recovery window after the workout. Now, personally, I don’t refer to easy runs as workouts. These are usually short enough for most people where they don’t drastically alter your daily nutrition needs. I am referring to SOS days, or speed, strength, tempo, and long runs. These runs are usually long enough and intense enough to drastically change glycogen stores, even if you are “fat adapted” and we need to replace those calories with quality carbohydrates. With all the options out there nowadays, finding real food and/or quality options is no longer an issue.

Pre-exercise guidelines have been discussed previously, so we won’t enter those discussions again. During your workout, general guidelines are 30-45 grams per hour of exercise. This may be a gel(s), or the right mixture of fluid. There seems to be a little bit of mixed thoughts on protein or BCAA’s during exercise, but some say 15g of BCAA per hour will help with performance. Finally, recovery is of the utmost importance if you want to improve your ability to perform and perform more. Again, there’s a bit discussion of how much is needed, but I would recommend at least 15-20 grams (up to 40 grams) of high quality protein or BCAA. Then I would say 80g of a mix of high glycemic/low glycemic carbohydrates. A 2:1 ratio of glucose to fructose to enhance replacement of what you have utilized during the workout.

Once outside your workout window, assuming that you have adhered to workout nutrition, keep your nutrition to the recommendations given your body type. This is just one strategy to employ when trying to individualize your nutrition, but still maximize performance. Hope this helps you navigate the waters a little bit!

 

Nutrition: Diet Definitions

Last time, we talked about macronutrients and the importance for balance in general health as well as performance. I hope that’s what everyone took out of it, at least. At the end of the day, balance is key and if there are major swings to focus on one macronutrient, the swing really should be short term and recognized that it may not be a sustainable option for long term (years). At the end of that discussion, I mentioned where I would like to take that conversation. One of the areas included what the definitions of diets actually contained and why the lack of continuity can blur the lines between what we think we are doing and what we actually are. So, today I’d like to explore an article from Burke, et al. (2018) that serves as a guide to understanding diet and exercise strategies. This entire article will be in reference to this article. I will share the link at the bottom of this post!

Let me first discuss that I am moving beyond general strategies here for overall health and talking mainly about running performance and adaptation to training.

High CHO diet

This is what we traditionally think of when we talk about endurance athletes. However, there is no clear definition of what this actually is, other than it is considered a daily diet. Definitions of a high CHO diet range from anything over 50% CHO, 60-70% CHO, 500-600g of CHO per day, or 7-10g/kg of body weight! The underlying premise is that all endurance athletes have a daily need for high amounts of fuel and these are met by high CHO intakes to support hard training. Overall, it’s not recommended to be using in isolation because it’s a poor correlation with muscle fuel needs for training.

Very interesting, huh? If you take anything from this diet is that it’s broad and based off the original research done in the 1960’s. So, this would really be seen as the starting point for endurance athletes. Don’t take away from this that CHO is not needed in larger amounts, but rather that there’s more info needed on an individual basis. Things like- type of exercise, volume, intensity, etc.

It goes back to what you have heard me say before- “Eat to your daily needs.”

Luckily, there’s been a number of updates to that original research that we can build from.

High CHO availability:

CHO spread across the day and is targeted at optimizing glycogen stores by exogenous supplies to meet the fuel demands of the days training/event. Amount is based on goals of training and body weight. Daily intake from 3-12 grams/kg of BW. Basically, we are going to make every run a focus for providing carbs right before, during, and after a run. Then the rest of the day might be a lower overall intake of CHO.

The potential problems are that it may take some guesswork and experimentation on your part to really nail down what works. In really high volume training (2+ sessions/day or 25+ hours per week of training) a person will probably have some training sessions that are low CHO availability.

Peridozed High CHO availability:

Essentially, the strategy as above, but now we decide which ones to make available based on the goals of the training. Each single session may have a different approach based on where you are at in training. So, early on, we may make all easy runs and shorter long runs low CHO availability, but keep high intensity SOS days a high CHO available day. Then, the closer we get, all SOS days may be high CHO available and keep shorter easy days at a low CHO availability. Two studies shown this to show performance improvements, but subsequent competitor studies have not been able to replicate.

Nonketogenic low CHO/high fat:

CHO availability is chronically (up to months) below muscle needs so that adaptations occur to promote fat oxidation. However, it is high enough to avoid ketosis. Typical: 15-20% CHO, 15-20% protein, and 60-65% fat daily intake. Or, CHO can be less than 2.5 grams/kg of BW. One important factor here is that this in combination with a moderate endurance program of less than 5 hours per week. I think that last sentence is pretty key to this! In context- It has been shown that this can up to double rates of fat oxidation, but this has not been shown to be in association with endurance performance overall.

I think there are some very important aspects to look at with this. The first is that there’s no doubt that it can increase fat oxidation and thus probably improve overall body composition. This alone will probably improve endurance performance.

If you weighed 200 pounds and lost 25 pounds of non excess fat, then yes, you will run faster.

However, this is only going to be true up to a point. Also, the amount and intensity of exercise you should be doing with this is pretty low- basically meeting the AHA guidelines for everyday health. I just think you are limited with the situations where this will be successful- especially long term.

Ketogenic LCHF:

A person severely restricts their CHO intake to less than 5% CHO (or 50 g/day), while protein is 15-20% and fat is 75-80% of daily intake. The basic premise is that this type of diet will produce very high rates of fat oxidation within 5 days to 2 weeks. However, extreme fatigue can occur for the first 3 weeks. Overall, exercise seems to be sustainable up to about 75% VO2max, but higher intensity exercise is not tolerated well, if at all. Another factor involved is that the severe restriction of food minimizes nutrient density and variety.

Thinking about the exercise tolerated makes sense. When we discussed macro nutrients, we talked about the body’s back up is to make glucose out of non glucose sources (both fat and protein), but it’s extra steps and it’s slow. The glycogen and glucose required for higher intensity exercise simply can’t be met with these back up mechanisms. I think it goes back to the level of athlete and their desired goal/outcome.

To wrap up, this is all pretty interesting.

For one, the body is really good at making due with what is being provided to it. Also, I think that what works for a lower level athlete isn’t particularly going to work for a higher level athlete. I am referring to both ability and amount of training.

Third, I think it’s important to note that these long term “diets” aren’t really suitable for more than a short period of time.

For instance, a high carb diet might only really be needed for a few days before a marathon. Meanwhile, a LCHF diet may be exactly what an overweight runner needs to shed some weight before starting a training plan and then can eat a more balanced diet. Lastly, what’s interesting in these diets is that the two main variables are fat and CHO. Why not change the amount of protein? For most endurance athletes, I would almost say that you keep CHO at 50-55%, fat at 15% and then protein at 30%. I’d have to work the numbers based on grams per kg of BW, but who knows? I mean, we know CHO needs are slightly higher, but so are protein needs. If we boost protein a little, we can maintain or build muscle during hard training, have a place to store glycogen, and we still change our body composition for the better. Ah well, maybe another time!

So next time, I think we continue on with the article I referenced and look at the more short term strategies and sequences for workouts and tapering (loading). I believe that propels us more into the idea that our “diet” really can shift from day to day. While one day may require a lot of CHO to replace what we utilized, another might not require as much. All in all, I think we are starting to paint the picture that from 10,000 feet, saying calories in, calories out is fine. However, as we zoom in, there’s more to it than that. Until next time!

 

Course 4 of our Boston Marathon Series is ready!

Our 4th course of the installment focuses on nutrition, starting from general nutrition, then narrowing down to performance considerations and your taper strategy. This is a course that all marathoners could benefit from, not just those running Boston. If you've taken the previous courses, then you probably received an email with a 15% off code for this course. I am writing this one to provide you a better code! How about one for 100% off?

 

To see the course: Course 4 Nutrition

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