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How to Nail Your Nutrition (without counting a single calorie)

To paraphrase the ground-breaking 1993 arcade game NBA Jam, “THINGS ARE HEATING UP!!”


Over the last two weeks, we’ve dived headfirst into what makes the ideal runner’s diet. And the response has been overwhelming with comments like this:

I can’t wait for this to start! I read about nutrition, but never really seen an example of what a runner’s diet should look like. Let’s go! – Ralph

Love the blog and emails, very inspiring and informative! – Mallory

I’m really excited about this!! So thankful for your desire to help people improve their running!! – Ashley

More importantly, I know that together we’re going to finally get our nutrition dialed in and optimized so we can focus on running faster and living better.

So far, we’ve covered a lot of material:

We started the year by announcing it was the Year of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.

It’s this mindset of challenging yourself – of being comfortable being uncomfortable – that will push you to accomplish more with your running.

I shared my personal experience of getting out of my comfort zone and committing to eating an optimal runner’s diet.

It was this single change that transformed how I was able to train, recover, and feel every day. I was like the Incredible Hulk!

Then, I asked about your nutrition questions. What are you struggling with? What can we help you overcome? How can we make sure your nutrition is rock solid?

With hundreds and hundreds of responses, Anne and I decided to create a nutrition Q&A for you. We answered the top questions and even uncovered several “myths” that we think are true, but actually aren’t.

You can download the free diet and nutrition call here.

And last week we exposed the many mistakes and eerily terrible nutrition advice that’s making it hard for us to feel energized and perform better.

See all the diet mistakes here – including my favorite of drinking colostrum (a component of breast milk) for improved performance. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

Today we’re going to talk about calorie counting, complex calculations, food scoring, weighing, and knowing the exact percentages of macronutrients in your diet.

… I think I just nodded off writing that. Do you find obsessing about these numbers as boring as I do? Do you really need to figure out food scoring and carb tracking if you’re a runner?

The answer is NO! Thankfully, there’s a better way to get a great handle on your nutrition – without making a single calculation or counting one damn calorie.

The Nutrition Q&A Call

Last week, I asked a simple question:

What is your most difficult or challenging question about nutrition, diet, and/or weight loss for runners?

The questions poured in, hundreds and hundreds of them, from runners who struggle with fueling, what to eat pre-run, and how to drop those last 10 pounds.

Some of the most common questions were:

  • It’s so hard to eat the right things after a run. How do I refuel properly if I hate protein shakes?
  • There are so few “good for me” foods that I like. How do I get over this so I can eat healthier?
  • I love beer! If I drink a six-pack a week, is that hurting my training?
  • It’s hard to lose weight and still have energy to train hard. How do I balance the two?

Over the last few days, Anne Mauney MPH, RD (my partner on this Nutrition project) and I got together to answer these questions for you.

We talked about specific foods that are great fueling options for runners (even if you don’t have time to cook), how to get enough carbs without processed foods, and more.

There were so many great questions that Anne and I decided to record TWO calls, and we’ll even be myth busting the big misconceptions about diet (carb percentages, calorie tracking, etc.).

Sign up here and you’ll get the first episode of the “Ask the Dietitian” Q&A in less than an hour – totally free.

The second part of our call can’t be ignored: where we discuss common myths, misconceptions, and mistakes that runners have about eating properly.

What if an assumption you have about eating well isn’t correct? What if what you THINK you need to do for weight loss or performance simply isn’t necessary?

Then your entire diet approach won’t work! First, it’s critical to get the foundation right. Only then can you build the right nutrition system to accomplish your goals.

It’s like if my assumption about training was that to get faster, I needed to run 4 hard workouts per week. The correct question isn’t “How do I run the best 4 workouts?” In fact, that question is totally wrong because it’s based on a faulty assumption.

We’ll explore two of the biggest myths on the second call (if you’re on the nutrition list, you’ll get the second soon).

When did nutrition get so hard?

When I first had the idea to focus on nutrition and create a program that was scientifically sound, effective, but also easy to implement, I started reviewing the most popular diet books for runners.

And I was disappointed: most spent half the book talking about riveting topics like biochemistry…

Do we really need more technical jargon about the processing of phytonutrients?

Do you want to spend half your day calculating the exact percentage of carbohydrates you’re eating?

Do we need another book with an entire chapter devoted to the definitions of macronutrients?

I don’t think so!

In fact, most nutrition books bored me to tears – and I actually like to geek out on this stuff!

See, most so-called nutrition experts focus on the wrong things. Like calories, nutrient percentages, and nutrient ratios. Or when they give you something useful like a recipe, it has 39 ingredients and some of them are only sold in Portland’s crunchiest organic market.

Some nutrition experts aren’t even runners! This is a big reason why I like working with Anne – she’s run more half marathons than I have…

And other nutritionists only focus on weight loss (there’s a lot more to nutrition than just losing weight). Or they write to folks who are walkers, not runners.

We think nutrition for runners has been made too complex and not focused enough on the day-to-day practical needs of everyday runners.

So we created a specific plan that’s useful, easy to read, and simple to use every day.

We know it will help you make better choices with your diet, show you what foods are good for running (and when to eat them), and provide the recipes and specific meal guides that will help you lose weight, run faster, and fuel your workouts.

You can sign up here to get more info (plus a free nutrition course!), so make sure you sign up if you’re interested in learning more.

Now let’s talk about how you can dial in your nutrition without calculating the ratio of carbs:protein after every single run…

Your Nutrition Roadmap

Unlike many dietitians who force their clients to count every gram of protein, Anne’s philosophy focuses on whole foods and a simple (yet startling effective) eating strategy.

As a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition, this philosophy was born from years of training and working with private clients.

And I was impressed with the results from Anne’s clients:

“Working with Anne has been amazing and life changing! She has given me the tools and motivation to make sustainable life changes that not only make me feel better about myself, but also healthier.” – Kristina

“Her realistic approach and can-do attitude are contagious, which keeps me motivated and energized. She’s open about the challenges facing everyone trying to lead a full healthy life, but helps you to set small, attainable goals to be your healthiest self. I finally feel like I’ve found a nutritionist who has my best interests, not just my successes, at heart.” – Molly

“When I first met Anne I was excited to work with her. In addition to providing delicious, easy recipes and helpful strategies about planning meals and exercise, Anne offered a lot of suggestions about staying mindful and ensuring that I feel “in control” about food.” – Rachel

Because of these powerful results and her simple, realistic approach to eating, I knew that I had to work with her.

And the best part is that our diet philosophy is identical. In the Nutrition for Runners program, you get a rock solid nutrition roadmap that’s vetted by BOTH a Registered Dietitian and a USATF-certified coach.

Where else can you get guidance on diet from both types of experts? It’s like your own coaching team, helping you dial in your nutrition so you can run faster and get in better shape.

This philosophy – the one that’s helped countless of Anne’s clients and landed her in major press like Glamour, Woman’s Day, and Runner’s World – focuses on several key components:

  • Why you need to eat “real” food (I feel silly typing this, but real food is harder to come by than Frankenfoods these days!)
  • How to “build” a meal that will keep you full and prevent snack cravings
  • How to eat like a runner for enhanced recovery and better performance
  • Why perfection causes failure – and what to do about it
  • How to train for weight loss and performance

Later this week, I’ll have more information about the program and the strategies that help me feel like the Incredible Hulk – boundless energy, eerily fast recovery, and a feeling of “firing on all cylinders” that made my wife say: “I’ll have what he’s having!”

Anne and I are excited to share all of this with you so stay tuned.

Hop on the Nutrition List and you’ll get everything before it’s ever public (plus two bonus audio calls with Anne and me!).

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