When you start a new workout routine or make a change in your exercise schedule you may often feel tired. Many people experience this whether it’s due to the amount of work we do every day or we’re giving ourselves that extra push in our workouts. But many times runners may feel that they’re feeling tired or as I would call it “burned out” for no reason – it may be due to the reason that we’re lacking iron in their everyday diet.
Here are tips on how to get an extra dose of iron:
1. Be Popeye and eat more spinach
Many times we opt out of many food choices that give us the right nutritional supplement. For a good run and staying healthy, they key is to receive the correct nutrition. Meaning if you give your body the correct amount of nutrients you will be able to keep your running on track.
You can easily get these nutrients by just a few changes to your everyday meals. For example my go to meal for filling yet nutritious dinner includes a lovely spinach salad. All you need to do is toss a little salt and lemon in your chopped spinach and garnish it with any kinds of nuts or berries. This makes a very leafy addition to your meal and much like Popeye this spinach will “fill” your muscles with strength.
2. Red Meat can also give you that dose of iron
Although it’s not a necessity, as many people are vegetarians or have dietary concerns; red meat is a very good iron supplement to have in your meals. Based on experience, I have seen many people savor red meat and some not like the taste at all. But if you’re a runner and you enjoy eating red meat; you have an excellent source of iron, protein, niacin, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc as well. It’s also high in, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus and is a source of magnesium, potassium and vitamin D.
3. Add seeds and beans to your meal
For example pumpkin seeds, edamame, beans and lentils are all examples of these sources. The good thing about them they’re easy to make and they will last you a while. My personal preference is to make a gondola consisting of some of these nuts and seeds. You could also boil lentils and use them in different salads, or have them with some seasoning.
Another meat option besides red meat are shellfish such as shrimp, clams, mussels and oysters, because they have very similar levels of absorbable iron.
4. Don't forget to eat veggies and grains
It’s absolutely important that you balance your diet alongside finding room for an extra dose of iron. Your balanced diet will definitely help in these nutritional supplements having effect on your wellness.
A good indicator that you have achieved this goal is that your meals usually include at least half a plate of veggies, a quarter plate of lean protein and the other quarter of some grains. This way there’s so much opportunity for you to receive the correct nutritional supplements and the foods that are rich in iron.
Also it’s a good idea to balance the meal with a glass of skim milk, yogurt or a piece of fruit. Low-fat dairy foods with fruit are ideal for runners as they contain a perfect balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates and naturally occurring electrolytes needed for high intensity activity. It also helps to include foods such as bell peppers, broccoli and citrus fruits as they allow for better iron absorption because they have lots of Vitamin C.
5. Take protein supplements
If you’re training for a marathon or are competitively preparing for a run or giving yourself that extra push in your day to day workouts:
• It’s a good habit to incorporate some sort of protein supplement in every meal or snack you consume.
• Dark Chocolate, or protein filled granola bars and protein powder in smoothies or milkshakes are all good iron filled snacks to eat.
And so iron and protein are major players in getting your body in shape to run. You need enough of it so you can maximize your body’s full potential—and win that race!
If you have any suggestions about how to add more iron to your diet, we would love to hear your thoughts.