Hey, friends! Today I’m just popping in today to share a post I wrote over at the DTFN Blog! I know many of you are runners and gearing up to increase your mileage this time of year. I think you’ll find this post extremely helpful when considering refuel strategies as the mileage builds up!
Often times our clients are athletes who have the goal of boosting performance while changing body composition. Together, these goals can be tricky to achieve because calorie deficits do not enhance recovery. The most effective strategy is to focus on fat loss early on in the training schedule when the intensity and miles are lower. This may be counter intuitive because you may think that as the miles increase it would be easier to lose weight. In fact, it’s very common to GAIN weight during the second half of training!
Heavy training increases a hormone called cortisol, your body’s natural stress hormone. Excess cortisol leads to weight gain through many mechanisms including increasing blood sugar and increasing sugar cravings. Inadequate recovery including poor nutrition and under eating often increases cortisol further. So, if a runner inadequately refuels after a long run (ie under eats with the goal of weight loss) this may increase their cortisol and ultimately lead to weight gain. Managing cortisol is actually easier when the training schedule is lighter, which is why weight loss is easier and safer during that time.