Are you an endurance athlete struggling to drop those last few pounds? The answer?…….. Regulate your insulin levels through balanced eating. By now we all know how important it is to eat clean and avoid processed food, but let’s take this a step further. Anytime you consume an excess of carbohydrates you have a corresponding spike in the hormone insulin. This spike in insulin results in your body shutting off it’s ability to utilize fat as fuel. In addition, this spike also results in a crash in as little as a few hours and these spikes frequently lead to overeating. Carbohydrates are good, but we don’t need to overload on these. Endurance athletes are especially guilty of this. It’s not uncommon to see a triathlete or runner grab a bagel, banana, and a glass of orange juice for their breakfast meal. Talk about a severe insulin spike!
So what does this mean for you? There are a few things that help to balance your insulin levels. When you include protein and fiber in your daily meals not only are you getting the much needed nutrients, but you also control the blood glucose response to food. Your insulin levels will have less extreme highs and lows and you’ll be less likely to make poor food choices. This feeling of satiety(that full feeling) will stay with you for much longer.
- At each meal aim for one quality complex carbohydrate source, lean protein, fiber(found in quality carbohydrates), and healthy fat.
- During a training session your blood glucose levels will keep you energized for about 1:30 – 2:30 depending on your intensity. So rethink that gel and sports drink if you’re doing a shorter workout. If you are accustomed to refueling on a regular basis , then you may want to try a tapered approach.