Prepping for the Dubai Fitness Challenge? Here's what to eat


Prepping for the Dubai Fitness Challenge? Heres what to eat

If you're planning to take part in the 30x30 challenge, it's not just about workout routines but your diet

By Deepshikha Agarwal, 
 Dietician and sports nutritionist

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Published: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 2:00 AM

The Dubai Fitness Challenge (starting October 18), is upon us once more. And this year, for the first time, the event will include a City Half Marathon, to be held on October 25. If you're planning to be a part of the activities, and the marathon in particular, keep in mind that getting in shape isn't just about having a regular exercise regime but a healthy nutrition plan. Here are some guidelines marathon runners should keep in mind.
Preparing for the race:
No dieting. This is not to time to cut down on calories, especially in the form of carbs. Runners are recommended a diet of 65-75 per cent calories from carbs. Opt for complex carbs during your training period, in the form of brown rice, brown bread, pasta, oatmeal, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, breakfast cereals and granola bars.
Limit your consumption of fats. Butter, ghee and cooking oil make food taste better but they doesn't fill your glycogen stores. Limit fat intake to unsaturated fats found in nuts, needs, fish, etc.
Up your protein intake. Carbs are a source of fuel but protein helps repair muscle tissue and prevent muscle breakdown. Ensure 25 per cent of your calories come from protein.
Stay hydrated. This almost goes without saying: drink plenty of water!
Right before the race:
What the participant eats before the race is key as it will help him or her stay energised and stabalise their blood sugar levels. Have a small meal - low in fibre and fat - about two hours before the event. Here are some examples:
. Slices of toast with a teaspoon of jam and a banana with a glass of orange juice
. A bowl of breakfast cereal (wheat flakes or oats) with orange juice and fruit
. A bowl of pasta with tomato sauce and a glass of orange juice
. Idli and sambhar with a orange juice
. A bowl of poha with cranberry juice
Avoid coffee or other caffeinated beverages before the race, as they could cause stomach issues. It also increases water loss from the body which you can't afford during a race. Eat tried-and-tested sources of carbs; changing a diet drastically before an event could lead to stomach problems.
During the race:
Your priority should be to keep yourself as hydrated as possible. Drink two cups of water 30 minutes before the race and, during the race, keep sipping after every 20 minutes. Consuming carbs during a marathon should be done at a rate of 30 to 60 grams (120 to 180 calories) per hour and 30 to 40 minutes prior to fatigue. The amount and timing are based on the fact that glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream at a rate of 1.0 to 1.2 grams per minute. But runners should avoid consuming too much water or it could lead to bloating or increase the need to use the washroom. Swapping water with isotonic drinks may help this.
After the race:
This part of the race is mostly neglected by runners. Your post race snack should be high in carbs, protein and low in fat with loads of fluids to prevent any kind of dehydration. For example, hummus with pita bread, one large banana with a sports drink or a fruit smoothie, a glass of tomato juice with some nuts, or a cup of yoghurt with raisins. Have a great run!
What's the verdict on 'sugar-free drinks'? Are diet sodas healthier than the real thing?
Sodas and their diet-free versions may taste similar but differ in calorie count and carb content. Regular sodas contain high fructose corn syrup for sweetening while diet versions contain artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and Ace-K) that could still lead to obesity. Let's not forget that they don't provide any essential vitamins or minerals and are not good options for those who are looking to reduce weight.
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