Maintaining a Healthy Weight as an Endurance Athlete

In Advice Column, September 2017 by Jenna Davila

Dear Jenna,
I’m a cross country/ track runner and I’ve been wanting to convert to veganism (I’m a vegetarian that doesn’t have dairy due to lactose intolerance) but I’m having trouble maintaining my weight while training hard core and I was wondering if you could give me advice?Maddie, USA

Dear Maddie,

Hi Maddie, thank you for reaching out with your question. When someone is extremely active burning through calories and energy, it is very important to nourish the body in ways that promote quick recovery and healing. When it comes to maintaining weight, I recommend trying to introduce more healthy fats into your diet. These include avocados, coconut meat, nuts, nut butters, seeds like hemp, pumpkin and chia, to name a few. You may also benefit from eating more nutrient dense foods like mangoes, bananas, dates, persimmons, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, beans, lentils, quinoa, rice and gluten free oats. Including plant based protein powders into your smoothies, as well always having a stash of protein bars, is another way to help maintain a healthy weight if you are having trouble doing so.

Another recommendation is to not to allow yourself to get to a point that you feel ravaged with hunger. If you find this happening, try to be prepared and carry around snacks that will fill you up so that you never get too hungry as this will help keep your body in equilibrium. If you are struggling with weight, you may find it beneficial is to eat within 15 minutes of waking up and eating more frequently throughout the day, every 2-3 hours. This will help you expand your stomach muscles so you can eat more nutrients that will help you fuel your body. In addition, you may want to try increasing your meal size, especially after intense training. Play around with these suggestions and see what works best for you. I would also suggest incorporating strength training at least two times a week to help you pack on muscle. As a former track runner myself, I noticed I was losing a lot of muscle tone in my legs that I had built up from playing soccer and found lifting weights to be extremely beneficial. Thank you again for writing in and all the best!

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Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and the website are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.

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Every month, Jenna Davila answers questions regarding physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being on the Live Pure website.  You can submit your questions for next month’s column here!

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