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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Cardio ‘Cat: Food for fuel

Risa Johnson
Risa Johnson

I had a friend in high school that would down two scoops of ice cream right before track practice, no problem. Unfortunately, I am not as lucky, and food has a big impact on my work-outs.

Knowing what to eat and when to eat is important.

If you just woke up and are running out the door, you need to eat something. Down a water and eat a banana, an energy gel or a small yogurt. Don’t eat a full breakfast unless there is time to let it settle, otherwise stomach pain will likely ruin your exercise.

Athletes, especially runners, should eat a breakfast loaded with good carbohydrates. Some good, quick meal choices would be whole- grain cereal or a whole-grain bagel. Those are usually my choices most mornings. On the weekends, though, I usually cook a healthy breakfast that requires just a little bit of effort.

Try a breakfast wrap on a whole- grain tortilla, with pinto beans, avocado, veggies and one egg.

A smoothie is always a good choice. Try using Greek yogurt and get some fruits or veggies in at the start of the day.

I have enjoyed oatmeal since I was a little kid, and I love how filling a small amount is. Try whole oats with chopped fruit, some nuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Snacking is good for people who exercise frequently. Try whole-grain crackers and hummus dip or veggies and high-quality dip.

Snack bars actually aren’t very nutritious, unless the bar is loaded with organic seeds, nuts, whole grains and fruit. Be wary of eating too many of these easy-open snacks.

Some good lunch ideas include a chicken caesar salad wrap with lettuce and chicken breast, or a lean turkey sandwich, loaded with vegetables between slices of whole-grain bread.

Dinner is the last chance of the day to get needed carbohydrates in.

Try whole-wheat angel hair pasta with a side of salad or a baked potato with broccoli.

Eat healthy and feel the difference. Fight the urge to “reward” yourself after a workout with unhealthy foods and help grow muscle by giving the body the carbohydrates it needs.

Risa Johnson can be reached at or @risapisa on Twitter.

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