NCRC - Nutrition For Runners
Nutrition is key for performance. You can't fuel your body on rubbish and expect it to perform to it's best.
Before you freak out and start planning on living on a diet of broccoli and steamed chicken - hang on. Jon of The Endurance Academy has taken the time to chat to us on camera where he introduces himself and what The Endurance Academy does alongside busting some nutritional myths.
I’d love to say yes but unfortunately not. In fact, diet will always trump exercise when it comes down to losing weight. If your intake is greater than what you expend exercise wise, then you’re not really going to see any changes in your weight loss.
What's the difference between “energy balance” and “energy availability”?
If we look at energy balance first, it can be described as the amount of dietary energy added to or lost from the body’s energy stores after the body’s physiological systems have done all their work for the day. It’s easy to work out…
Energy Balance (EB) = Energy Intake (EI) – Total Energy Expenditure (TEE)
You might measure it on a day-to-day basis, but it probably makes more sense to measure it over a period of several days or weeks to get a really good idea of what is happening with your intake. In a basic sense, when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, the energy balance is positive and weight gain will occur. Conversely, when energy intake is below energy expenditure, the energy balance is negative and weight loss will result.
Taking things further, as a nutritionist I prefer to drill down a little more and use Energy availability. This is defined as dietary energy intake minus the energy expended in exercise relative to Fat Free Mass, so we are looking at the bodies most metabolically active tissues. This really gives us an insight into what is going on and changes how we then prescribe dietary intake.
Why does weight stability not always infer optimal energy availability?
A strong example of why using energy balance can be an issue. Athletes who have a stable weight but have been in a state of negative energy balance may experience a suppression of physiological functions where the body starts to divert energy to where it is most needed. This will give a false picture of their energy availability, as you’re not losing weight you feel that you intake is enough, yet you will be feeling fatigued amongst other things.
An athlete could be in a state of energy balance but also in a state of low energy availability at the same time, so having a stable body weight should not be used as an indicator of adequate energy availability. It is often seen in female athletes with amenorrhea, and this is often an until sign of low energy availability.
Enjoy what you've read but want to know more? Then head on over to The Endurance Academy, where you can find everything you need from Jon and his team to take your health, fitness and sport to a new level. Whether you are a beginner or aspiring professional, they can get you there!