Add these to your grocery list

Best foods for runners to eat before and after a run

Courtesy photo

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

I'm looking in my email inbox. One thing is clear (other than I really need to delete some emails), race season is beginning. There is the Hot Chocolate Run, the Bayou City Classic, and Run Like a Diva Marathon. I'm getting totally excited thinking about all the medals I can get. Then, I think about last running season. My habits were pretty sloppy last race season. There is a reason why you haven't seen my finish line picture. My nutrition was shotty. So I went to my friend, Google, and did some research on the best foods for runners. Here is what I found:

As an experienced runner, what you eat before you run is of the utmost importance. It is no fun to run out of steam due to not eating. It is also no fun to eat the wrong thing and get gassy. It is no fun to eat something that makes it hard to move and slows your time down. Once before a long run of 16 miles, I grabbed a plum from my fridge in haste. I forgot that a plum is really a prune. I got what they call runner trots (that's diarrhea) around mile 11. And that's really no fun. So what are the best foods to eat before a run or a race.

Banana

Bananas are full of potassium which help regulate the body's muscle contractions and prevents cramping. It also has enough starch to provide the glucose (where energy comes from) for your run and is easy to digest earning the name Old Fait.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

If you are in the mid point of training for a half, full marathon, or a spartan race, you will have long strenuous workouts and runs. Oatmeal makes a perfect choice to get you through. Like the banana, it is easy on the stomach and is full of carbohydrates to get you through your workout. It's a wonderful source of protein and because it has a low glycemic index, it provides sustained release of energy thus making sure you finish strong.

Nut Butter

Nut butters, like peanut, almonds, and cashews are great to eat before and after your run. Nut butters are full of fat and protein making you feel fuller longer. What's cool about that is you can eat less and you won't run the risk of cramping and sluggishness that comes with eating too much. Pair it with Ezekiel Toast (bread made with all the ingredients found at Ezekiel 4:9) to have a light meal made from complete plant protein. And its quick and easy to make. Just add honey to taste.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are great to consume before your workout, whether it is running, cross fit, or lifting weights. They are full of protein like the name suggests. If you are on a specific diet, they work well into your daily calories and nutrients. They come in amazing flavors like chocolate chip cookie dough and salted caramel. Chose a plant based protein powder over whey for running. It sustains you without weighing you down and is easy on the stomach. I recommend AdvoGreens Salted Caramel by Advocare.

Eggs

One of the best things ever created was the egg. Eggs are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners especially. Forget about them being a complete protein, but a little goes a long way. One egg over Ezekiel toast before a run will last until the end. After a run, you can enjoy an omelette to not only fight hunger, but inflammation. Also, eggs are full of Vitamin K which promotes bone health. Let's just say, the egg is awesome!

Some foods are great for runners to add to their overall diet.


Sweet potato

Runners need their carbs. You can't just eat Doritos and think that's going to cut it. Instead try adding sweet potato to your diet. Sweet potatoes are good carbs meaning they don't cause your sugar to spike which is great for runners because you can last a lot longer on the track. They are also full of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. You can eat them stuffed, in a hash, or baked them as fries with salt and vinegar drizzled on top.

Yogurt

Yogurt is also great for runners as it helps boost your immune system by its many strains of probiotics. Nothing can ruin a training schedule than getting sick over and over again. Yogurt is another great source of protein as well as calcium. It is a very diverse food. You can enjoy it off the spoon, as kefir, or as a smoothie with your favorite fruit. I'm thinking a berry, banana blast with pineapple (pineapple is great for preventing injuries).

Avocado

I can't have enough reasons to eat avocado. Avocados are a runner's best friend. Avocados have as much as 60% more potassium than bananas. Because of their high fat and fiber content, they keep you feeling full for longer. They possess Omega 3 Fatty Acids and other anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces muscle and joint soreness and assists in recovery between workouts. Although amazing by themselves, avocados are great on sandwiches, with eggs, and just about anything.

Legumes

Like eggs, legumes are an inexpensive solution to many dietary problems for runners. They are a complete protein-carbohydrate combination that will give you sustained energy and helps repair your muscles. They are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and will fit into a vegan, vegetarian, and a meat eaters diet. Think lentil stew or a bowl of chili to satiate your hunger after a long run. I would wait to enjoy after the run. They could cause gas.

So next time you go to the grocery store, be sure to include these items on your list. Better yet, pick out a couple of recipes to try out.

This Power Hour will kick your butt

Title Boxing makes it look easy

We got our boxing on. Courtesy photo.

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So I am taking a break from running (remember my article from a couple of weeks ago). I'm looking for a new activity to get into. Sometimes, when you are passionate about a sport like running, it becomes part of your identity. I felt like maybe I am a quitter. Maybe I lost my mojo. At first, it was hard to reconcile not wanting to run, but here are my reasons:

  • I'm going to be honest. I need to lose weight (there is a good reason why you have not seen my finish line photo from Iceland).
  • I have noticed that my balance and posture have been off.
  • Like I said, I have been super stressed and haven't been feeling running.
  • I want faster running times.

I've been peeping the Title Boxing Gym that is around the corner from my house. I've always been curious about what went on there. Well, I'm going to find out.

As I opened the door and stepped in, I surveyed the room. Lined up heavy bags were hanging throughout the room. There was a rack of medicine balls along a mirrored wall. In the corner, there was a full sized boxing ring. About 10 MMA bags were tucked behind the ring. It looked serious.

"Hello, how are you?" I turned my attention to a lean man holding his hand out waiting for me to shake it. "I'm Totrek. What is your name?"

"Jovan. So, what's the deal here?"

As Totrek leads me into the gym, he explains Title Boxing.

"We offer hour long boxing, kickboxing, and MMA classes we call the Power Hour. Each class starts with 15 minutes of calisthenics, eight rounds of three minutes of punch/kick combinations, and ends with 15 minutes of core for a cool down with stretching. This is no contact boxing, we just hit heavy bags. There are 55 of them to be exact."

I'm a little intimidated. How many women exactly belong to the gym? What is the age range? Totrek assures me that I would fit in and to just go at my own pace. Also noteworthy is you can burn anywhere from 600-1000 calories in an hour. Totrek is now showing me the schedule of classes. "So when can you come in to try your first shot on us?"


First timers getting instructed.

I chose the 9:30am class on Monday morning. "You're instructor will be Chris. Just make sure you bring $11.90, the day of class for your hand wraps, which are a must, and arrive 15 minutes early to get registered and wrapped. We will loan you boxing gloves. See you then!

Monday rolls around. I make sure I'm there at 9:15am. Kate, who works the front desk greets and rings me up. Kate is a beautiful, blond amazon woman from the Czech Republic who stands about 6"2 without heels. She wears stilettos because everyone else should be taller. She gets me registered and wraps my hands. Afterwards, she introduces me to Chris. I have needed an obnoxious black man in my life to get me motivated. I took one look at him and knew he would do just fine. Chris goes over a brief tutorial on how to breath and the different punches we would be doing. I chose my bag and take my place.

The music starts. It is a blend of modern day rap and from the early 2000's. Think Luda meets Drake. Chris is energetic and unapologetic. Chris leads us through 15 minutes of damn, I lost my fitness. Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, high knees. All with no rest. I think I burned 400 calories within the first 15 minutes.


Feeling like champ with Salutu

He tells us to take position in the front of the room. Our assignment is to jab. jab/cross. hook. down the line of bags. The music starts. It's Tyga. As I punch each bag, i feel like Mila Jovavich on the Fifth Element. Each bag is my opponent. They can get a TASTE....TASTE. I was having so much fun. I thought of all the people who deserved a TASTE.....TASTE.

"Will you stop smiling? You have been cheezin this entire time." says Chris. Here I was wanting to get out all that frustration and it turned out I was so happy to hit something. I thought I would be angrier, but I'm just not an angry person, I guess. That's a relief.

The class ends with 15 mins of core and stretching. Everyone is soaked in sweat. The music ends and so does the class. I can't wait for the next class. This is definitely my new activity.

If you want to try your first shot from Title Boxing Gym, visit Title Boxing Club Westchase or call 713-637-4246.

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