Do you recommend that we take a supplement each day such as magnesium or a multivitamin? And why do we need to if we maintain a healthy balanced diet? Should we take electrolytes during or after a long run?
Answer from MetPro Coach Dallas:
A healthy, well-balanced diet full of a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should provide your body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs. However, taking a multivitamin daily may help make up for the days/weeks in which variety isn’t at it’s best. If you choose to take one, you don’t need anything special. A women’s or men’s daily vitamin will serve just fine. Be careful of those promoting high levels. While they may sound great and many of us think, “the more the better” some vitamins do have toxicity levels, meaning too much can harm you. These harmful levels are normally found amongst the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins are dissolved and absorbed into the tissues for immediate use and the excess is excreted in the urine, so toxic levels are not common. Though, too much Vitamin C has been known to cause diarrhea when taken in excess.
Electrolytes are particularly important during long runs and hot summer months. If you feel you will be sweating a lot, it’s important to ensure we keep those hydration levels high. There are a variety of electrolyte supplements out there and each is great for different people. Experiment and find the one that works best for you. As for timing, I always advise taking some during long runs, and if you feel you’ve been training particularly hard during warm months, having a little before your race may not hurt either.
Any ideas on how I can continue to practice intermittent fasting but also have enough energy to do a 5 mile run a couple of days a week and a 10 mile run on the weekends?
Answer from MetPro Coach Jared:
Intermittent fasting triggers weight loss primarily through reduced calorie consumption, which happens naturally when limiting your feeding window. Secondarily, consecutive fasting hours place your body in a hormonal state that may encourage weight loss. However, it comes at the cost of partial depletion, which could be why your body seems to be asking for more available fuel, especially on run days.
Our first recommendation is to decide what your goal is: weight loss or increase performance? Doing both at the same time is not impossible, but something usually gets compromised, which is why we like to schedule weight loss periods separate from performance. You may be able to strike a balance by increasing your fueling window and adjusting the time of day you run. Remember calories you haven’t yet eaten can’t help you run. Trying to perform at the end of a fasting period will always be harder.
Our favorite way to manage weight and perform well is to speed your metabolism, which doesn’t happen overnight but is possible. Smaller frequent meals weighted towards the first half of your day can help with performance and metabolism. If you continue to struggle with weight management, try eating lighter before bed. This is a challenge for some but can be effective.
Are there certain vitamins that runners should take in general or is this something that should be tailored to each person? I have also heard that not all vitamins are created equal. Are there ways to see if you are getting products that are more pure than others? Finally, how can you tell if you are getting true benefits of taking these products?
Answer from MetPro Coach Dallas:
Not all vitamins are created equally. Supplements are not reviewed by the FDA, so it’s important that you look for ones that have been examined and certified. U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, and ConsumerLab.com are all companies that have a long history of certifying supplements. However, none of these organizations can guarantee that the product has any particular effect but instead can assure that the ingredients listed on the label are true and that they’re not contaminated with dangerous substances.
As for the amount you should take, the recommended daily amount is just fine. Often, consumers buy the label with the highest number thinking “the more the better” but as discussed in a previous question, this isn’t always the best for you.