Fit Fuel: Intuitive Eating for Fitness

See our feature in Women’s Running Magazine!

Do you ever skip breakfast or a snack before you exercise whether due to time, nervousness, or in an effort to lose weight?

Ever finish a tough workout or race, not felt hungry, and then eaten everything later that day or the next?

I used to experience the above, too, as a college swimmer. After my division I career ended and I wasn’t active 20 hours per week, I really convinced myself that I didn’t need to fuel much once I started to train for half marathons, too. And boy was that first one brutal. I remember crossing the finish line on a hot June day of the Fairfield Half and my friend’s mom and my own mom talking about how awful I looked. I don’t think I realized the level of dehydration I experienced until I ran a half marathon and completed triathlons properly fueled. It wasn’t due to lack of fluid intake though. It was due to lack of carb and electrolyte intake. I never made that mistake again (and know exactly what fuel is right for me to be smiling at the end of a tough race).
I have too much experience in my distant past with eating inadequately to fuel my activity and so does my friend and fellow-RD Heather, who is also a running coach. We have too many clients that deal with fueling issues, too. We don’t want you to go through what we went through, so we’ve created a virtual course to help.

The human body was designed to be active. It was also designed in a way that we require food for our activity, not the other way around!

While sports nutrition science isn’t that old, the first time useful data started to be collected was in the the 1960’s. Since that time, when Gatorade became the first sports nutrition product at the University of Florida, we’ve learned a lot more. So much more that many practitioners feel confident providing sports nutrition recommendations for calories, carbs, protein and fat per kilogram of your body weight each day, and at what time. The same goes for hydration recommendations and even some functional foods and nutrients like beets or leucine. The problem is, each one of us is different. Different in our sport or activities, different in our lifestyles, the environments we live and train in, and most importantly in our genes and personal health.
An even bigger problem is that when athletes and active people try to follow diets, they aren’t following ones based on this science with recommendations created by a sports dietitian for their individual lifestyle and training. They’re usually following a fad diet that they saw or heard advertised on TV, the radio, or even via a Facebook “friend”. The media also brainwashes many people into thinking that we only deserve to eat certain foods when we’ve had a difficult workout, or that by eating a piece of cake or extra at dinner we need to exercise more for it.
As our brain collects information on these invalid diets and the behaviors of those they know or “follow”, it pushes away our instincts that tell us what our body wants and needs.  Remember when you were an infant and just knew when you needed to eat and when you needed to stop? You probably don’t, because very soon after you may have been told to be a member of the “clean the plate club”, were put on an eating schedule and later were maybe not allowed to eat or drink energy during a several hour long sports practice. So how could you possibly be in tune to your hunger and fullness as well as what you need to fuel your normal life and exercise? It would be so great to just eat when we’re hungry, be satisfied for awhile and not have to think about food. Then be able to enjoy the next meal once it’s time without getting “hangry” or questioning if what and how much we are eating is okay. Doesn’t that sound glorious?

There’s no reason we can’t be both science-based and intuitive in our eating patterns for exercise.

Sports Nutrition research is a tool to help us be more in tune with what our bodies need to perform well. It should not be misinterpreted to build fear around certain foods, products, or nutrients.
Heather and I have created a 4 week e-course that allows you to understand and merge research-based sports nutrition principles and intuitive eating philosophies. With our education and support, plus interaction with others, you’ll learn it’s possible to eat to fuel your body without obsessing over it.

Register for Fit Fueling: Intuitive Eating for the Female Athlete

As featured in Women’s Running Magazine

  • See my website for next session start date.
  • Cost: $120 (with early bird rates in advance
  • Includes: Four weeks with Heather Caplan and myself, who will be teaching the basics of Intuitive Eating and Sports Nutrition information in a variety of education formats including videos, handouts and group communications through Slack.
  • Join from: anywhere! This is a virtual course.
  • Course Benefits: Access to two dietitians who are both athletes, community support from fellow participants, and activities and resources allowing you to immediately apply education into your daily life.
  • Weekly curriculum overview:
    • Pre-assessment and preparatory information
    • Basics of Sports Nutrition for Women ( inclusive of all sports)
      • Energy and nutrients
      • Pre, during and post-workout nutrition
    • Honoring Hunger Cues
      • Hunger recognition, triggers and stress
      • How to use hunger cues for pre- and post-workout fueling
    • Eating to Satiety and Satisfaction
      • Understanding fullness cues
      • Fueling adequately for recovery
    • Bringing it All Together
      • How to eat well enough, everyday, at each meal
      • Eating for endurance and recovery
      • What it means for competition day, if applicable

Fill out this form to register and let us know what personal questions you have by emailing!

Questions that you think can benefit others? Ask them below!


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  1. Hi, As a runner myself (about 50 miles a week on average) I have been debating about purchasing a protein shake. As you know, there are so many different brands, prices, ingredients etc that each company sells (ideallean, isagenix, thrive products, shakeology, profile by Sanford etc etc.) I also have a high A1C so I don’t need the carbs (I eat plenty already in my diet) but would love to continue building lean muscle. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!!

    1. Hi Robyn! While A1C is more about meal/snack balance than amount of carbs, protein is an important part of that. I always advocate food first, but am a Adam of garden of life for plant based protein and Kura for whey!