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16-year old female runner - what should I eat?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 30, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I did Paleo/PHD/'clean eating' before, but now I'm sort of on a flexible kind of diet with milk and soy and grains etc. No sugar or oily foods though.

I'm 16 (turning 17 in January 2014) and a cross country runner. 5'5, 52-53kg, about 115 lbs, a weight that I'm okay with, though I would like to lean out and lower my body fat % (currently about 23-25%).

This is what my schedule looks like:

Mon AM - Bodyweight 666 Mon PM - Running

Tue AM - Rest Tue PM - Lifting, core work

Wed AM - Bodyweight 666 Wed PM - Running

Thu AM - Recovery run Thu PM - Lifting, core owrk

Fri AM - Bodyweight 66 Fri PM - Rest

Sat AM - 7.5 miles trail run, tempo effort Sat PM - Rest

Sun AM - Recovery run Sun PM - Rest

I do AM workouts fasted, first thing in the morning, except for Saturday morning trail runs. I'm only able to have ~5 meals a day (breakfast, recess, lunch, dinner, supper) because of school. I don't have an issue with strict paleo (no dairy).

Bodyweight exercises involve inverted rows, squats, pushups, leg raises etc. For lifting, I do squats (35kg, 5x5), OHP (12.5kg, 5x5) and deadlifts (35kg, 5x5). As for core work, it's normally a circuit of balance exercises (single leg deadlift), hollow body position/handstand practices/arch position/fish position/random core exercises with jumping jacks in between.

A few questions:

1) Should I be eating carbs? E.g. sweet potatoes, potatoes, chestnuts. If so, how much? 2) What should my macros be like? (Carbs/fat/protein - in grams, not %) 3) How many calories do I need? Or should I just eat when I am hungry?

A sample meal plan would be really good too. Thanks.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 30, 2013
at 10:15 PM

Ok, that makes sense. I just avoid eating out as much as possible.

A90dfb3c8b984191d8102ccfc0203e90

on July 30, 2013
at 09:38 PM

Thanks for your reply. When I mentioned "oily" foods I meant things like deep-fried items and greasy Chinese food (which is pretty much everywhere around here).

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on July 30, 2013
at 09:02 PM

you know this is a forum for people who eat primal/paleo diets, right? Which means no soy or grains and a healthy respect for good oils ... why are you asking this question here?

52ad7ee5eef0d7339d0977bd7a2ceb8a

(416)

on July 30, 2013
at 02:42 PM

what do you mean by "oily foods"? And also, restrict soy because I think that can prohibit nutrient absorption (which is important). Sugar is fine.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 30, 2013
at 02:23 PM

Seconded. For your activity level, you won't be hurt by carb levels, but excessive stress on your body (due to seven days a week of workouts) or improper recovery from exercise (due to inflammation from foods like grains or soy) could do some nasty long-term damage to you. You're young, so you'll likely bounce back from it, but why take the risk? Dial back the workouts (or, like an above poster mentioned, replace them with play that still gives you a workout; maybe replace some of the runs with pickup soccer or ultimate frisbee) and don't worry so much about what you're eating :)

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4 Answers

3
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 30, 2013
at 01:46 PM

Should you be eating carbs? YES, probably a couple hundred grams per day. What should your macros look like? The total of all three should be 100%, but beyond that, play around a bit because everyone is different, but just make sure you are getting enough protein for the amount of activity you are doing. In my opinion, you are overdoing it a bit, and will eventually need more rest days. Your body is under physical stress every day of the week, and that increases stress hormones, causing you to hold on to body fat. As for how many calories you need, let your hunger regulate that. Anyone who tells you to eat a certain number of calories for that activity level will be wrong. Every metabolism is different, but if you are eating real food then your body has the mechanisms to regulate hunger and weight management. I would also tell you to limit your soy and grains, as those are worse than "sugar and oily foods" as you called them.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 30, 2013
at 10:15 PM

Ok, that makes sense. I just avoid eating out as much as possible.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 30, 2013
at 02:23 PM

Seconded. For your activity level, you won't be hurt by carb levels, but excessive stress on your body (due to seven days a week of workouts) or improper recovery from exercise (due to inflammation from foods like grains or soy) could do some nasty long-term damage to you. You're young, so you'll likely bounce back from it, but why take the risk? Dial back the workouts (or, like an above poster mentioned, replace them with play that still gives you a workout; maybe replace some of the runs with pickup soccer or ultimate frisbee) and don't worry so much about what you're eating :)

A90dfb3c8b984191d8102ccfc0203e90

on July 30, 2013
at 09:38 PM

Thanks for your reply. When I mentioned "oily" foods I meant things like deep-fried items and greasy Chinese food (which is pretty much everywhere around here).

2
5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on July 30, 2013
at 01:44 PM

First off, you seem to be at a healthy weight for someone your age, but in the end those are just numbers. As long as you feel healthy and energetic -- THAT is what matters. Forget the scale and focus on how your body feels.

Secondly...at 16 you should be more focused on getting out and playing and socializing than following a strict exercise and eating routine, although your commitment to health/fitness is commendable. Unless you have some sort of chronic or serious issue (such as an allergy or intolerance of some kind), make sure you're getting out and enjoying life! n=1 this type of thinking at a young age can (not always) lead to issues with food/body image down the road. It can also be a little isolating for people both young and old, so just remember to take everything you read on here with a grain of salt and do what feels good for you.

I do commend you though on knowing and avoiding 'junk' foods like processed oils and added sugars and enjoying dairy -- so thumbs up.

To your questions... you're a cross country runner so you are doing loads of running. I'm not going to tell you not to do what you love, but you may find this and this article interesting. More information can't hurt.

You should be having carbs for sure, and sweet potatoes, chestnuts, fruits and other options like rice can be good choices. You'll need more calories from carbs on the days you're working out and more fat in place of the extra carbs on the days you don't. I'm about the same build as you and eat about 2200 calories on active days and 1800 on less active days.

Definitely eat when you're hungry and eat a variety of foods with lots of good fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, eggs and if you're doing dairy, full fat greek yoghurt (organic if you can). Don't forget about fruit and veg too.

What I typically eat (if it's helpful at all):

B: 3 eggs in butter with some veggies (kale, tomatoes + onions) + maybe some bacon S: Apple + almond butter L: Giant salad with whatever is in the fridge (eggs or meat, bacon, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, spinach etc) and 1 cup of bone broth D: Piece of steak/salmon/turkey/liver/any seafood w/ sweet potato and veggies

I'm not an expert by any means, this is just what works for me!

0
8d386bf2c5ba20fcc1a2a0c805b217c9

(743)

on July 30, 2013
at 02:26 PM

Meat, seafood, organs, eggs.

Fruits and berries.

Vegetables.

Nuts and seeds.

Starches.

0
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on July 30, 2013
at 01:41 PM

What do you mean by "no oily foods"? Fats are a critical part of a healthy diet. Hope you aren't cutting out healthy sources of fat from well-raised animals, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, avocados, bacon etc.

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