Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting on track

Day 1 of Spring Training-Watching what I put in my mouth. 
There is no doubt that what you put in your body can either help you or hurt you when training for any sport or endurance activity. I would love to think that the actual fact that running several miles equals burning several hundred calories which is my ticket to mindless-stuffing-my-face eating!
Oh, how I wish it was that easy. Of course you have to turn to food to fuel you through the long runs and strength training, but picking the right foods and ensuring the adequate amount of hydration can make or break any fitness goal you have set.

So my first step is actually tracking what I eat. I like to think I am cognizant of the nutritional value of food, but it is amazing how fast calories add up when you are just munching on snacks throughout the day. And not to focus only on calories, but more importantly, what do I need to be giving my body to perform at its best?? There are a few things that I can control when training, and one of those is definitely what I put in my mouth! So while I consider myself a "foodie" and love nothing more than good food, if I want to take this running thing seriously this year, I have to give my body what it needs, not just want my mind and stomach want!

So in order to track the calories and nutritional value of the food I eat I need something easy and convenient to use.

I have started using Calorie Count: Food Log. It is a great website that allows you to enter everything you eat, log activity, track goals and read about other users' successes and challenges.
There are many features that I just love. For example, I love the dashboard on the food log that shows you how many calories you have left for the day (based off of your weight goals) while calculating your calorie burn rate (based on some standard questions in your profile).
Opps! Looks like I went over my daily calorie allowance on my first day! But this does not include my exercise tonight, so it looks like I have some work to do in the gym!

Another great feature, and what I am most interested in, is all the great nutritional value you get from entering in everything you eat. The list of foods is endless, so I an confident that a majority of the food I eat can be found on this website.

According to my nutritional grade, I had a good amount of everything but was low on calcium and Vitamin A and a little high on fiber. So more milk tomorrow and less brown rice should get rid of that A-!
Another great thing is tracking my water intake all day which serves as a consistent remind to keep my water bottle filled up all day!

So I think this tool will be of great help to me as I start to pick up the running and require more energy. I have bookmarked it at work and on my home computer and I am preparing to download it on my blackberry tonight!
Not only will keeping track of all the foods I eat serve as great way to watch calories and nutrients, but it will be fun to track calories, activities, weight, and goals to see if things improve as the running increases!
Off to the gym!

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