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trinda storey
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Location: kent, washington
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hello everyone

i am a 23 year old female who is extremely active. i do about 20 miles a day 7 days a week. conventional athletic diets say to eat lots of carbs however i do not feel well on this diet. can anyone give me guidance on what a good diet would be for this level of activity.

also on top of the 20 miles i work doing landscaping
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 176
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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When you say you "do twenty miles" do you mean running? Hiking? Cycling? Elliptical at the gym? Rowing?

Very broadly speaking, cardio exercise tends to demand more carbs, and strength exercise tends to demand more protein for muscle recovery. Exercise at a lower heart rate tends to burn fat instead of carbs.

Since you do landscaping work as well as what I presume is cardio, and because you are a human being and meant to eat a somewhat varied and balanced diet, I would definitely make sure to get sufficient fat and protein as well as carbs. This can be meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, or if you are vegan some combination of relatively high-protein plants such as legumes + healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc.

I would certainly not avoid carbs, since most people, especially women, find long-term endurance exercise on a low-carb diet to be rather disastrous, but I wouldn't center my diet around carbs alone, either. People can sustain high levels of exercise on very varied diets, and just because you are active does not mean you should eschew balance in your diet. I would try to get most of my carbs in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables and starchy tubers such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus legumes and whole grains if you like (some people are more sensitive to legumes and/or grains, and don't feel well when eating them, so you might experiment with that), not from, say, large helpings of pasta, rice, and bread, much less candy and sports drinks, which will probably make you feel crummy. I'd also make sure to eat your carbs together with some protein and fat, not just generally but within the same meal (fat with your carbs changes the speed at which the sugars are broken down and enter your bloodstream and your cells). Less processed versions of carbs hit your system less hard and tend to cause fewer symptoms, so for instance someone who feels ill after a fruit smoothie might feel fine after eating the equivalent amount of whole fruit.

Hydration and electrolyte balance is also a consideration, so of course drink plenty of water and don't skimp too much on your salt intake.

Intense aerobic activity every day with no rest over the long term can cause issues with overtraining, such as adrenal fatigue, increased risk of injury, amenorrhea in some women, especially those with low body fat levels, and other issues, so do keep a good eye on your health. You also might want to consider swapping some of your cardio for strength work, depending on how demanding the landscaping you do is, or switch some of your high-intensity cardio for less intense stuff such as hiking/backpacking, which will shift you more toward fat-burning instead of carb-burning, or a more full-body exercise such as rowing, which will also promote muscle strength and make injury less likely.

 
trinda storey
Posts: 128
Location: kent, washington
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hello jennifer

so the twoenty miles is about 10 miles eliotical, and 10 miles walk/running. i do have amenorrhea, i never experienced a normal menstruation cycle so i do not think it is related to my exercise level. i am glad you mentioned salt intake, i eat a ton of salt. i find that i crave it, i add salt to my peanut butter, salads, eggs, ect.. i wandered if this was a bad thing or that i need it because i sweat so much. also i sweat alot at night even when it is cold outside and i would otherwise we cold during the day. i asked my doctor but he said it was just anxiety, seems to be his answer for everything.
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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First I think that too much excersise is not healthy at all. The body needs rest. Second it is important working outside to eat enough fat (not margerine or oils) but normal animal fat like fatty meats withbeans and other filling stuff. YOur doctor might be right after all (with the night sweats).
Edit: I really wondered how someone could run around that much after a strenous landscape job! When would you even have time to socialize? Do other things, read a book? Are you running away from something? In short words: there is no healthy diet for extreme runners because you are ruining your body running that much. If you do landscaping a bit of yoga is sufficient to keep you fit. Running maybe once a week. Dancing maybe (all forms). Stop running! Take a break! Try to meditate. Get some yoga clases or thai chi or something fun.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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I'm active but not that active, I have three boys that keep me on my toes. Fat is fuel, literally. Get the best fats in your diet and a lot of your other issues will go away. The Wapf guidelines are the best dietary guidelines I have ever found.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Also, when eating on the wapf guidelines you don't have to do as much purposeful running/strenuous exercise either to maintain fitness, you would probably be doing much more cooking/food prep though.
 
trinda storey
Posts: 128
Location: kent, washington
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hi john

i do not know what wapf guidelines are, i look it up and all i found was weston a price foundation. is that what you are referring to?
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Adding in some medium chain fatty acids like you find in virgin coconut oil can be a good source of energy. It seems like if the carbs are making you feel bad you need to utilize something more along the lines of increasing your fat intake for increased dietary energy. Grass based dairy products (butter, & raw/whole milk products) could be a good addition if you can tolerate them as well.
 
John Master
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Location: Wisconsin
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Yes, Weston A Price was a doctor, a dentist who studied nutrition in the 20's and 30's. The Weston a price foundation continues his work today teaching people about the benefits of the foods he discovered on his journeys studying the healthiest and most physically fit people that have ever existed. Here are the guidelines, they have multiple cookbooks to support eating this way.

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/dietary-guidelines/
 
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