Author Archives: Bluefin Software

Four game-changing superfoods you should try this weekend

The more you focus on being fit and improving your performance, the more you start to pick up on how certain foods make you feel.  The good stuff tastes better and makes you feel like a million bucks.  The bad stuff drags you down and makes you feel like somebody put sugar in your gas tank.  Either way, the point is that being in tune with your body means giving it the right fuel.

Here are four game-changing superfoods that can help you take your performance to a whole new level.

Cruciferous vegetables.  Yesterday we posted on our Facebook wall an article from WebMD about the impressive benefits of cruciferous vegetables (a fancy term for veggies in the cabbage family — think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and, you know…cabbage).  It’s definitely worth clicking through for the full article but basically eating cruciferous vegetables is a great way to cut your risk of cancer and take in a ton of  vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.

How to make it happen?  As a general rule, the less you cook veggies like these, the better they’ll be.  Mushy broccoli can turn your stomach, but the stuff looks a lot more appealing when it’s next to some (also awesome) cauliflower and celery on a veggie tray.  Cook sparingly or try them raw to get your daily fill.     

Antioxidants.  Your body uses antioxidants to help you recover — whether that’s from a long hard run or from an injury or illness.  As this post from The Running Bug points out, you don’t need to overdo it with antioxidants (especially in the form of supplements), but it is good to work them into your daily diet as a runner.

How to make it happen?  Grapes, berries, and nuts are all antioxidant-rich foods that can be easily worked into your day, one snack baggie at a time.  Reach for these instead of junkier foods when you are looking to kill a little hunger between meals and feel the benefits after your next hard workout.

Chia seeds.  When Fitbie published their list of superfoods for endurance runners, chia seeds made the cut.  A tough-to-beat combination of carbs, protein, fiber, and omega-3s make chia seeds an optimal food for runners.  It’s a shame that most of us know them best for growing hilarious green hair on ceramic heads (ch-ch-ch-chia!).

How to make it happen?  You can toss a handful of chia seeds into pretty much anything — think stews, smoothies, cold drinks, you name it.  Mix them in and knock it back.  There isn’t a whole lot of taste, but they can really leave you feeling tremendous.

Chocolate milk.  You may have been seeing more of this lately as chocolate milk is becoming increasingly popular as a post-workout recovery drink.  This post from Fitness points out some of the benefits of cooling down after training with a glass of chocolate milk, which include rehydrating and providing a ton of carbohydrates and protein.  The bottom line is that it’s more natural than a sports drink and more substantive than water alone.

How to make it happen?  This is an easy one — it’s chocolate milk!  Unleash your inner kid and have a glass.  You probably don’t want to down a bunch immediately after working out but let yourself cool down and indulge.  For most of us, nonfat is the way to go.

We hope you saw something on this list worth trying.  You really will be amazed at how much the right fuel can impact your performance whether you’re training or just going about your day.  Let us know if you have any go-to foods that leave you feeling like you could take on the world!

Coming Soon: RunHelper – Your Bluefin Data; All in one place

Are you a data junkie?  Do you take pride in scrolling through your completed workouts and admiring your progress as it unfolds from week to week?

We know that a lot of our users would like to take their training data beyond their mobile devices and dive deeper than ever before.  That’s why we’re excited to be launching RunHelper, a new Bluefin service that lets you consolidate your training in one secure, easy-to-access place.

Sounds great.  What’s next?

We’ll be launching the new RunHelper site in the next few weeks.  Subscriptions will be available via in-app purchase through supported Bluefin apps for iOS — Ease into 5K, Bridge to 10K, Ease into 10K, Power Walk, and Hal Higdon.  Support for Android apps will follow soon after the website launch.

If that sounds awesome to you, we need your help spreading the word. In exchange for your help, we are doing a promotion where we’ll be giving away 50 (fifty) 3-month subscriptions to RunHelper.

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Sign up to be notified when RunHelper launches.
  2. Use the special link you will receive to share the news with your friends online.
  3. Every person who signs-up to be notified with your link will be counted as an extra giveaway entry for you.

On the day of the RunHelper launch, we will randomly select 50 winners and notify you via the email. For example, if you refer two friends you will have three entries in the giveaway (one for signing-up yourself and the other two for your friends).

Stay tuned to the blog for launch date, features and promotion winners.

Optimal Nutrition for Runners

Last week we posted about some more natural, do-it-yourself approaches to traditional energy bars and sports drinks.  Deana, one of our readers, took the issue a step further, posing the following question in the comments.

“As I am just running 3-4 miles a few times a week I haven’t had to deal with fueling yet. However I start my 1/2 marathon training in July and will have to figure something out. Given all the additives and high calories I would like to work my plan for fueling with whole foods. But I have a question – is there an ideal set of carbs/calories/etc as running fuel? Or a ratio of these depending on your estimated calorie burn or miles?”

Deana is just getting ready to start her half marathon training, but as you can see she’s already realized something very important — as you begin to tackle longer distances, giving your body the right fuel becomes critical.  You might be able to fake your way through a 5k with sub-par nutrition (particularly if you’re in shape), but as you reach 10k and beyond, putting the right gas in the tank is key.  We also like the instinct to reach for natural, whole foods rather than processed, pre-packaged ones.  Anyway…on to the questions at hand!

What solid, whole foods are best before a run?

Back in September, we posted about the best foods to eat before, during, and after a run.  As far as pre-run nutrition was concered, we reccomended a light snack of energy-rich foods like bread, pasta, fruits, veggies and granola.

Is there an ideal ratio between calories, carbs, protein, etc?

You may have heard 3:1 cited as the optimum ratio between carbohydrates and protein for runners (meaning three ounces of carbs for every one ounce of protein or 75% carbs to 25% protein).  This thinking was explained in a recent USDA study called Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which in fact refers to a ratio of 3:1:1 — acknowledging your body’s need for healthy fats as well, though realistically if you have a relatively normal diet you are likely getting the fats you need throughout the day.  (As for calories, we’ll get to that in a bit.)

The best thing you can do to fuel your body properly is to follow these guidelines not just an hour before you train, but all throughout the day.  Strive to maintain that balance of approximately 75% carbs to 25% protein in each meal you eat and your body shouldn’t feel the need for anything special right before your workout.  (If you do need a boost, those links at the beginning of this post provide some healthy, effective ideas.)

So where should I get my carbs?

When it comes to nutrition, not all carbs are the same.  You’ll want to avoid “bad” carbohydrates like those found in white bread, white rice, and many pastas.  Heavily processed carbohydrates have typically been stripped of their fiber and other nutrients, leaving empty calories behind.  So where can you get the good stuff?

Whole grains (oatmeal, granola, brown rice)

Fresh fruits (bananas, oranges, blueberries)

Vegetables (mixed greens, stir-fry, pretty much anything you enjoy)

And protein?

Poultry (light meat, baked is best)

Fish (grilled or baked)

Nuts and beans (ideal plant-based proteins)

This is obviously a pretty broad overview of carbs and protein, but it’s just what you need to begin thinking about that 3:1 ratio in a way that fits into your real life.  If in general you’re getting a well-balanced diet of the above, heavier on carbs and lighter on protein, you’ll be firing on all cylinders when it comes time to work out.

Now one last piece to tackle…

How many extra calories do I need?

When you think about fueling up for a workout, you should definitely be thinking in terms of the stuff we’ve talked about above, not just focusing on upping your calorie intake.  Unless you are a pretty advanced athlete in excellent shape and with little fat to burn, you probably don’t need to load up with calories to get through a workout.  Just like we said with fat intake, most of us will typically eat enough calories during the course of the day to fuel the average workout, especially if your runs are remaining in the neighborhood of an hour in length.  Rather than thinking about loading up on calories, focus on simply filling your belly about an hour before your run and getting those healthy carbs and proteins in your system throughout the day.  If you are feeling hungry during or after a run, your body is almost certainly craving healthy carbs or protein — not just additional calories.  Examine your diet and see what’s lacking.

Thanks, Deana, for the great question and for sharing your training progress with us.  Be sure to let us know how you’re doing with your half marathon work!