Beating Stress Fractures with Cal-EZ

Megan Calcium and Bone Health Leave a Comment

Nutrition is often one of the most overlooked aspects of training, but it’s just as important as running mile after mile, cross-training, or lifting weights. As I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon (which is in less than two weeks!), nutrition has been one of the biggest things I’ve focused on to stay injury-free. And since it has been a successful training cycle for me I thought I’d share some of what’s helped me along the way. Now, what I recommend is just a guideline but it has worked well for me. Remember, even if you do everything else right, if you don’t have a good diet you are putting yourself at risk for injury or, to put it simply, running a bad race. Sadly, just because you’re running an 18-mile training run doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want afterwards (I know, its not fair!). Instead, it’s all about balance!

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So, what can we eat when training for endurance events such as marathons, cycling events, triathlons, and similar events? How in the world can we know what to eat and what to avoid?! Well, here are a few guidelines to help make it a little more manageable…

-Keep a healthy weight
Endurance athletes need to focus more on their diets. Excess body fat can slow you down and can contribute to “hitting the wall.”
-Focus on the food quality
This means you can eat vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and dairy. But avoid refined grains, fatty meats, sweets, and fried foods.
-Fueling for the run
Eat a light snack before a run (e.g. banana, peanut butter on wheat toast), on longer workouts eat food every 45 minutes (e.g. raisins, dates, honey), and after a run be sure to have something with
carbohydrates and protein for recovery (e.g. low fat chocolate milk, eggs with wheat toast).
-Don’t eat empty calories
For example, veggies, healthy grains such as sweet potatoes and oatmeal, lean proteins such as
fish, lean meat, and eggs, healthy fats such as nuts and avocados.
-Stay hydrated with plenty of water (and electrolytes!)
-Take your vitamins!
-Treat yourself every once in a while, but not too often.

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In addition to the food that we eat, as athletes we need to ensure that we have adequate levels of vitamins and minerals to ensure our organs function properly and that our body is balanced from within. Think of getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals as you would think of your running or lifting training plan—you need to follow it daily or its not as effective. Now, a doctor and medical testing can help you sift through all your individual levels, but studies show that calcium and vitamin D reduce the risk of stress fractures and vitamin D may even improve athletic performance (Cannell, 2009)!

Personally, I’ve had ongoing issues with stress fractures for the past few years since I’ve become more serious about nutrition and taking vitamins/minerals. I’ve had several stress fractures and stress reactions over the years in my hip, foot, and tibia (yes, it’s a long list!) and have explored a ton of different options to help keep them at bay. But the most effective things for me have been the following: eliminating processed foods, easing more slowly into my training, switching to neutral shoes rather than over-correcting running shoes, eliminating foods that reduce bone density such as sodas, coffee, and too much sodium, and making sure to get enough calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium in my diet through food and supplements. This has been a successful formula for me for the past 2 years—no stress fractures!

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It was hard for me to make s ure I took the proper supplements, though, because so many of them would make me feel nauseous and queasy. Yuck, nobody wants to feel that way! So I looked for a solution to the big horse-sized pills and found Cal-EZ, which is a powdered calcium and vitamin D. Finally, no more scarfing down giant pills right after I get out of bed!
Cal-EZ can be sprinkled on food or in drinks, which makes it such an easy way to take care of your body. I leave packets in the kitchen near where I cook breakfast and sprinkle a little bit on my morning eggs and put the rest into my morning water or juice. Here are some super easy options for you to use Cal-EZ in the morning (I recommend using it in the morning because you’re less likely to forget to take it if you do it first thing in the morning):

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Mix it into a fruit/veggie smoothie
-Put it into the bowl with scrambled eggs
-Mix into your morning drink: juice, coffee, milk, water
-Sprinkle a little bit over an avocado, yogurt, eggs
-Put a packet into your morning oatmeal with some fruit

Yes… it’s that easy! And one last thing: if you have a TON of extra apples from apple picking like me, you can also sprinkle Cal-EZ onto baked apples with oatmeal! Healthy and delicious.

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Disclosure: Cal-EZ has compensated me for this post, but all opinions are my own and always
will be my own. I use Cal-EZ daily not because I was asked to or have to, but because I love it. I am happy to be able to share it with you!

Citations:
Cannell, JOHN J., et al. “Athletic performance and vitamin D.” Med Sci Sports Exerc 41.5 (2009): 1102-10.