How Do I Find My ‘Magic Balance’?
The Magic of Nutrition & Hydration Balance when Training
Training is very much an individual experience and it always comes down to balancing your nutrition and hydration to get the most out of your performance. When training for a 5K, a 10K or even an ultra-marathon, it is important to set your own “magic balance” for the right number of calories and appropriate levels of hydration.
Over the last 35 years, I have worked with hundreds (if not thousands) of athletes to help them define their magic balance and put that into the context of where they are in their training journey: a pre-training regiment, while they are training, or when they are in recovery. In all cases, I start with a baseline of advice and guidance, and that evolves with the athlete as well as what defines their magic balance.
Here are a few of the baseline factors to consider as you create a magic balance in your training journey:
The night before a run/when you are training
1. Have dinner by 6 p.m.
2. Cook fish or chicken, as those are the best choices for lean protein.
3. Add at least one vegetable; broccoli is my first choice/recommendation.
4. Mix in some brown rice.
5. Have a sports drink/STYR Labs electrolyte mix.
6. Stay away from processed foods, junk foods and high sugar foods.
1. You will need a balance of healthy carbs and protein to fuel your body.
2. Eat two and a half hours before a long run or race.
3. Eat your meal slowly and be mindful of what you are putting into your body.
4. Meal tip: half a bagel with almond or peanut butter and a banana.
5. Hydration tip: drink plenty of fluids (non-sugar electrolyte drinks are best).
When Training (an hour long run/bike)
1. With food or liquid, consume 200 calories per hour (300 if biking) – a few of the best I recommend:
b. Honey Stingers
c. Shot Blocks
e. Rice Crackers
h. Sweet Potato
2. For proper hydration, I use the STYR Labs electrolyte mix with tap water.
When Training (longer than an hour run/bike)
1. 200-calories-per-hour rule remains (300 calories if biking)
2. 12-16 ounces of water/electrolyte mix per hour
3. Adjust hydration according to heat:
a. 75-80 degrees: 24-36 ounces per hour
b. 90+ degrees: One salt stick per hour along with 24-36 ounces per hour
Post-training or race-day meal
1. Try to eat and drink within 30 minutes of finishing.
2. Have a recovery drink to replenish lost nutrients/electrolytes (non-sugar is key).
3. Eat a healthy meal with a mix of lean protein and carbohydrates.
4. Eat as many vegetables as you are hungry for.
This is the best approach I have found for coaching my athletes through training and race-day when building their magic balance. Start here and then let your body lead your own individual evolution with the plan!
Keep up the great efforts.
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.