3. Add more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Behind protein, fruits and vegetables are an important power food for combatting possible overtraining. Most fruits and vegetables are superfoods for runners who need to focus on recovery because they are nutrient-dense and contain high quantities of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for muscle repair.
How to easily incorporate nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in your diet:
If you’re feeling sluggish and trying to dig yourself out of that ovetraining hole, focus on adding at least one fruit or vegetable to each meal you eat. This will ensure you consume all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to fuel optimally and repair your muscles.
If you’re looking for the most nutrient-dense fruit, vegetable and legume options, here is a list of the top-30 super foods based on the ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) scoring system:
1. Collard, mustard, & turnip greens
4. Bok choy
6. Brussels sprouts
7. Swiss chard
11. Bean sprouts
12. Red peppers
13. Romaine lettuce
15. Carrot juice
16. Tomatoes & tomato products
19. Pomegranate juice
25. Brazil nuts
28. Beans (all varieties)
29. Seeds: flaxseed, sunflower, sesame
Sample Diet For The Overtrained Runner
Reading general nutritional advice can often be a little confusing. I’ve explained here how to eat yourself out of overtraining, but how does it all come together in a daily diet?
Below is a sample diet for the average runner fighting off overtraining. Note, you won’t see serving sizes because each person’s caloric needs are going to be different. However, you can use the calorie calculator for runners, as well as nutrition labels or nutrition tracking websites to tailor this diet specifically for you.
Wake-up: Whey protein shake (to stop nightime anabolic process)
Breakfast 1: Oatmeal with berries (raspberry, blueberry, or blackberries) and wheat germ. Honey for taste.
Breakfast 2: Reduced fat Greek yogurt with fruit
Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwhich and small spinach salad with peppers, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, tuna, and sunflower seeds. Use a small amount of olive oil or mandarin oranges for dressing if needed.
Midday snack: Oranges or handful of nuts (Brazilian, walnut, pistachio)
Dinner: Salmon with brown rice and asparagus
Nightime snack: Cottage cheese with strawberries.
Post-workout nutrition: Recovery drink or sports drink and an energy bar.
Mix and match some of your favorite fruits and vegetables with this sample meal plan, be sure to consume an extra 300-500 calories per day, and eat yourself back on track to feeling fresh, recovered, and ready to train hard.