Posted by: Joe English | January 12, 2012

Nutrition — Five Easy Calorie Killers for Runners

running-advice-bugSo we’re in week number two of the New Year and I continue to hear people talking about their New Year’s resolutions. I was talking with one young woman at the track today who was complaining about not having any energy this week. What had she changed in her diet I asked? She was trying to lose a few pounds, so she had started skipping breakfast. Probably the cause of her lack of energy. Skipping meals isn’t ever a good idea, especially when there are so many places where calories hide that we can cut without even really missing them.

So I thought I would give a couple of pieces of advice on easy places to cut calories to support your New Year’s weight loss resolutions. We all need to keep in mind that running itself only burns about 115 calories per mile, so running say 4 miles only burns away about 450 calories — not enough to give you a license to eat anything you want. Here are my top five calorie killers for runners looking to shave off some weight in the new year:

Calories lurk in places like the coffee drink

Calorie Killer Number 1 Kill the coffee drinks — Sorry folks, but skipping breakfast and then drinking a Venti Carmel Macchiato is not going to cut it. People seem to think that the calories in those coffee drinks don’t count for much. Unfortunately, they do. Many of the ingredients in coffee drinks are loaded with sugar or fat. To give you an example, a yummy Grande Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream (but only 2% milk) comes in at 500 calories. That’s more than your four mile run would burn away. You can check out the calories content of all of your favorite Starbucks drinks can be found by clicking here. But don’t get me wrong, there are good choices on the menu at your local coffee shop. Regular coffee has almost no calories and opting for skim milk dramatically cuts the calories on most drinks. Opt for drinks with sugar free flavorings if you must have them or even better, drink your coffee black.

Calorie Killer Number 2Lose the beer and wine — They say that moderation is a virtue, but some of us seem to drink beer and wine with a sort of nutritional blind-spot. Runners World even had an article in the January 2012 issue talking about how runners love to drink beer socially after their runs. But, as with coffee drinks, there are a lot of calories lurking in them thar beverages. Most “normal” beers (meaning not “light” beers) come in around 150-200 calories per twelve ounce bottle. My favorite beers seem to have the most calories, including Blue Moon that comes in at 171 calories with 13.7 grams of Carbohydrate. You can see a list of calories in many domestic beers by clicking here. As with the coffee drinks, opting for light beers will cut calories. But drinking in moderation will help a great deal as well.

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