Category Archive: Chicago Spring Half Marathon

2018 Athlete Guide Now Available

Get ready for the 2018 Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K taking place Sunday, May 20! We’ve been making preparations to make this year’s race the best one ever!

Whether you’ll be running the half marathon or the 10K distance, we can’t wait for you to celebrate the 10th running of this special race and experience race weekend; not to mention the Spring Market Finish Festival venue out of gorgeous Maggie Daley Park.

Check out the Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, packet pick-up dates and times, course information and more!

> View the 2018 Athlete Guide here

Please keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and emails for any additional updates before the race. We’ll see you at the Start line!

Ignited by Athlinks – Live Tracking and more!

MAKE RACE DAY BETTER

The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon and 10K has partnered with Athlinks to add to your race day experience and allow for your friends and family to share in your experience.

Athlinks brings you enhanced real time Athlete tracking using on-course timing data and predictive analysis and more. Download the Athlinks App from the App Store or Google Play and share your race day.

 

 

Feature Friday – Abbey Hauser

Today on our Feature Friday, we get to meet Abbey Hauser from MDA Team Momentum!

I run for MDA Team Momentum in honor of the kids I spend a week with as a camp counselor each summer at MDA Summer Camp. Over my 8 years as a camp counselor I have been lucky to get to help some amazing kids have “the best week of the year” at a completely barrier-free summer camp. My young campers with muscle disease have taught me the importance of always trying my best and that fun can always be found in any situation. Watching some of the kids work so hard to complete the simplest of tasks inspires me to do whatever I physically can to create a future free of muscle disease for them.  The inclusion of AWD (athletes with disabilities) in races has given me the continued opportunity to run for my heroes. Although I now run using forearm crutches, it is an honor to still be able to use my miles to raise money for my heroes.  The support I receive from my Team Momentum teammates and coaches helps me reach new heights with my running and fundraising each year. Team Momentum has helped me reached goals I once never thought possible. This team is magic and I’m so thankful to be a part of such a fantastic group of people.


Want to learn more about our official charity partner, MDA Team Momentum? Check out their website for more information: http://mdateammomentum.org/2018chispringhalf

 

 

 

If you would like to be featured on our next Feature Friday, please email Jdelacruz@lt.life

Made In Chicago – Champions!

LIFE TIME PARTNERS WITH USATF – ILLINOIS TO BRING STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS TO CHICAGO

10K and Half Marathon State Championships Coming to Chicago

Chicago, IL  (March 22) — The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, and Chicago Half Marathon & 5K produced by Life Time® Healthy Way of Life, are partnering with the USA Track & Field (USATF) – Illinois Association to host state champioinships. Together with Life Time, the nation’s premier healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment brand, USATF – Illinois will be a driving force in providing a premier race experience for local developing athletes.

Set for Sunday, May 20, the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K will host this years’ USATF – Illinois 10K Championship. While on Sunday, September 23, the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K will host the USATF – Illinois Half Marathon Championship.

“Life Time has grown the interest and demand for a quality race experience using an athlete first approach and including participants of all abilities” said Gregory Evans, Long Distance Running Chair for USATF – Illinois Association. “USATF Illinois is proud to bring the national governing body to the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K and Chicago Half Marathon, adding another level of benefits to the participants and other race partners.”

“Partnering with USATF – Illinois is the next step as we continue to build on providing quality, premier race experiences for our athletes.” said Life Time Run Brand Manager, Dan Lakin, says of the USATF – Illinois partnership,  “Life Time is dedicated to improving our local communities, and providing events that are best-in-class. Whether an elite athlete or a beginner,  Life Time and USATF provide a vehicle to foster athletes at every level along their healthy way of life journey. We’re excited to to welcome the State Championships to Chicago at this years’ event and for years to come.”

An estimated 8,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K and another 13,000 are expected to take on the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K this September.  In addition to age group and masters awards; each race will offer a prize purse to the top 3 men and women:

10K Championship Half Marathon Championship
1st Place $500 $1,000
2nd Place $250 $500
3rd Place $250 $500

To place in a championship race, registered participants must be a current member of USATF at the time of the race. Information on USATF membership and it’s benefits may be found at USATF.org

About the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K

The Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, in its 10th year, benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants will run either 13.1 miles or 10K (6.1 miles) starting along famed Grant Park traversing South along Columbus Drive, and run through Museum Campus and along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront before finishing in Maggie Daley Park. In its inaugural year, 1900 people signed up for the race, today it is one of the most in-demand racecs in Chicago selling out at just over 8,000 participants.
More information is available at ChicagoSpringHalf.com.

About the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K
The Chicago Half Marathon & 5K, in it’s 22nd year, highlights Chicago’s south shore. Stepping off from historic Jackson Park, participants traverse through Hyde Park before navigating along a traffic-free Lake Shore Drive. The Chicago Half Marathon is a flat and fast course offering up stunning views of Chicago’s famed skyline and a triumphant finish at the foot of the “Golden Lady” (Statue of the Republic).
More information at chicagohalfmarathon.com

Both races are part of the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series which includes the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K (May 20) and the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K (September 23) and awards participants for completing 2 half marathons within the same year. 

About Life Time®, Healthy Way of Life

Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across 131 destinations in 37 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompasses the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit  lifetime.life. 

About USATF – Illinois

USATF – Illinois seeks to promote the sport and its local athletes across the state, and is one of 57 USATF Associations across the country. Visit illinois.usatf.org for more information.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. Information on USATF membership and it’s benefits may be found at USATF.org

Hills, Hills, Hills

 

Now that we are entering the holiday season, some of us will be looking forward to some well deserved respite. For others, you will be looking for something different, maybe some cross training or different workouts to get you through the season. One favorite workout to keep you in running shape and shake things up a bit are: Hills!

I know what you’re thinking, unlike the lush green lands of Munnar in South India, there isn’t much hill action in Chicago but there are some locations around the city (see below) that will get you the elevation that you need! But if all else fails, we’ve included a remixed version of our workout that can be easily completed on a treadmill. Sorry, not sorry – no excuses. Hill workouts are beneficial to runners as an opportunity to strengthen and flex your muscles as well as building endurance and practicing your form. Other benefits to hill workouts include:

  • Increasing Speed
  • Improving Cadence
  • Activating Lower Body Muscles
  • Decreasing Risk of Injury
  • Building Power & Strength in Legs
  • Improving Stamina

Let’s get to it! Below you will find a good intermediate level hill work out with its treadmill alternative as well. You can also check out this video for basic form tips for both uphill and downhill running!

 

Hill Work Out

  • 1 mile warm up
  • 4 hill repeats (up and down the hill with a 80-90% effort)
  • 1/4  mile easy jog/recovery
  • 4 backwards up hill (run down as usual)
  • 1/4 mile easy jog/recovery
  • 4 hill repeats
  • 1/4 mile easy jog/recovery
  • 2 walking lunges up hill (run down as usual)
  • 1/2 mile cool down

 

Hill Work Out (Treadmill)

The treadmill should be set at a 1.0 incline to simulate flat running.

  • 10 min warm up (1.0 incline)
  • 2 min  small incline (3.0)
  • 2 min easy recovery (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 5.0
  • 2 min easy jog (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 6.0
  • 2 min easy jog (1.0 incline)
  • 1 min incline 7.0
  • 3 min recovery (1 min at 0.5 incline, 2 min at 1.0 incline)
  • Repeat x1
  • 5-10 minute cool down

Tip: Too easy? Use the first minute of the “easy recovery” to add 0.5 mph to your speed.

 

Chicago: Hill Finds

Want to find some hills to use on your own during the week? In the Chicago area, we can vouch a few locations:

  • Cricket Hill at Montrose Beach
  • Soldier Field sledding hill (behind Soldier Field but before McCormick Place; right on the running path)
  • Small knoll leading up to Oglesby Monument by Diversey Harbor
  • 18th Street Pedestrian Bridge to Soldier Field
  • Waterfall Glen in Darrien
  • Morton Arboretum
  • Palos Park (off Rte. 83 and South LaGrange Rd)
  • “Mt. Trashmore” at James Park in Evanston
  • Sledding hill at Warren Park
  • Sledding hill at Marvin S. Weiss Community Center/Woodland Trails in Propsect Heights
  • Parking Garages

As always, these hill work outs should be a part of general training program; even if it is in-between regular weekly runs. Optimum performance will come from these as opposed to one offs!

The Right Fuel for You

One important facet of training, nutrition, is just as tedious to add to your routine as all the other elements. In the same manner in which we diligently select our training shoes, gear and schedule; we should be applying to our nutrition.

Today we will focus on nutritional supplements. In this day and age, there isn’t an hour that passes that you are not reminded of the awesomeness of X product or the earth-shattering results of Y product.

Let’s face it, sometimes we need that extra kick to get us through the day. Not all supplements are created equal. There are powders, drinks, gels, energy chews and bars. Whether you feel like you need a boost during a long run or are curious to train with a product that will appear on course, here you will fund a guide to what’s best for you and your training plan:

Sports Drinks

Examples: Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water

Ideal intake: 110 mg of sodium / 6-8% carbohydrates per 8 ounce serving

Sports drinks are primarily a mix of carbohydrates and water which quickly and easily fuel your body with an energy boost while keeping you hydrated. The sodium in these drinks help to retain fluids and nutrients which leave the body through sweat. Adding protein to the mix could elevate your endurance and has been found to help an individual perform better than a non-protein drink. The proper balance of these elements is essential. Read your labels before buying. These energy drinks should only be consumed when training as they are heavy in sugar and have little nutritional value.

Energy Gels

Example: GU, CLIF Shot, Gatorade Energy Chews

Ideal Intake: 25 -30 grams of carbohydrates / 50 mg of sodium

Energy gels have the same function as energy drinks – quick energy – in a super concentrated form. Generally supplied as on course supplements during long runs, gels are easy to consume and fast acting. Be wary of caffeinated items as they will help you last longer but bring with it an equally egregious crash. We recommend that you train with gels as they highly body specific and what may work on most may not work on you. All gel intake should be accompanied, at minimum, by 16 ounces of water.

Energy Bars

Example: CLIF Bar, Powerbar

Ideal Intake: 200-250 calories / 5 grams of fat & fiber / 10 grams of protein

These are great nutritional supplements as they are filled with carbohydrates and protein but are more filling and able to satisfy hunger best during long runs. Energy bars are the most diverse and nutritious of the list as bars are often filled with good grains and fiber. When shopping for the ideal bar, it is best to picture when you would be eating the bar – prior, during, post – a run. The rule of thumb weighs in on lighter fiber, heavier carbs with plenty of water for during and heavier, protein based bards for pre or post runs.

 

Byline Bank Welcomed to 10th Annual Race

Byline Bank Named Title Sponsor of Chicago Spring Half Marathon

The Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, produced by Life Time® Healthy Way of Life, is welcoming premium, local financial brand, Byline Bank, to its ranks as title sponsor. Together with Life Time, the nation’s premier healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment brand, Byline Bank will be a driving force in providing a premier race experience for new and veteran athletes.

Set for Sunday, May 20, the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K is Chicago’s spring race celebrating the city’s emergence from winter hibernation where Elite and Age Group athletes from around Chicago, and the world, come to race. The race, which sold out in previous years, is part of the 2018 Chicagoland Half Marathon Series and will host this years’ USA Track & Field – Illinois 10K Championship.

“At Byline, we believe in supporting the communities where we live, work and play. We’re excited to be sponsoring the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, it is a natural fit. As we continue to grow and improve – we’re committed to working as hard as our neighbors to support them as they run towards their fitness and financial goals. We look forward to cheering on the participants at the finish line,” said Byline Bank President and Chief Executive Officer, Alberto J. Paracchini.

Run Brand Manager at Life Time, Dan Lakin, says of the Byline Bank partnership, “As two companies dedicated to improving our local communities, and providing products, services and events that are best-in-class, we couldn’t imagine a better partner when it comes to the Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K. We’re excited to introduce Byline Bank to athletes at this year’s event and for years to come.”

An estimated 7,000 runners are expected to participate in this year’s Byline Bank Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants will run either 13.1 miles or 10K (6.1 miles) starting along famed Grant Park traversing South along Columbus Drive, and run through Museum Campus and along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront before finishing in Maggie Daley Park. More information is available at www.ChicagoSpringHalf.com.

About the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K
The Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K, in its 10th year, is part of the Chicagoland Half Marathon Series which includes the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K (September 23) and awards participants for completing 2 half marathons within the same year. In its inaugural year, 1900 people signed up for the race, today it is one of the most in-demand half marathons in Chicago selling out at just over 7,000 participants.

About Life Time®, Healthy Way of Life
Life Time champions a healthy and happy life for its members across 130 destinations in 37 major markets in the U.S. and Canada. As the nation’s only Healthy Way of Life brand, Life Time delivers an unmatched athletic resort experience and provides a comprehensive healthy living, healthy aging and healthy entertainment experience that goes well beyond fitness to encompasses the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families of all ages. For more information visit www.lifetime.life.

About Byline Bank
Headquartered in Chicago, Byline Bank, a subsidiary of Byline Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:BY), is a full service commercial bank serving small- and medium-sized businesses, financial sponsors, and consumers. Byline Bank has approximately $3.4 billion in assets and operates more than 50 full service branch locations throughout the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. Byline Bank offers a broad range of commercial and retail banking products and services including small ticket equipment leasing solutions and is one of the top 10 Small Business Administration lenders in the United States.

Cruisin’ in the USA

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had never experienced such a sense of pure, ecstatic joy up until my 12th year of life when I received what would be a life changing gift: my first bike. As my hands shook, I did my best to delicately remove the red ribbon my mother had attached to the handlebars. I could barely see what I was doing through the tears welling up in my eyes. Having asked for nothing else for three whole Christmases, birthdays and heck, even national holidays (Labor Day sales always had the best selection), this light pink Schwinn Talula cruiser before me was the stuff of dreams.

Complete with a basket and bell, I could not wait to take it out and ride it into the sunset. Or, how it turns out, ride it around the block a couple of times before I had to change for church. Your first bike is a rite of passage. The possibilities and freedom that it allotted you as a young adolescent to explore the neighborhood and meet new friends; the independence it bestowed as you rode it to school. These are still the same sensations and attributes that cycling continues to provide even as adults.

Pedalin’ Prowess

In recent times, there has been a steady boom in the integration of cycling back into our daily lives. The boom is largely responsible for the new onslaught of bike sharing programs, commuting options and the reemergence certain sports, such as triathlon, to keep cycling in the mainstream. It is the flexibility and accessibility of these features, coupled with its environmentally friendly consumption and health benefits to its users that it continues to claim and revolutionize our cities today. In just Chicago alone, there are “200-plus miles of bike lanes and 13,000 bike racks…(With a plan to have) a total of 645 miles of lanes by 2020.” Below we look at some of the newcomers to the bike scene, the benefits to cycling and the importance of sharing the road.

Goin’ Green and Fightin’ Fit

The health benefits to cycling are numerous. The calorie burning from just an hour of riding a bike can be anywhere from 500 – 650 calories. It is great cross training for new swimmers as the intensity and range helps build your lounges and air intake. Riding a bike works on multiple muscle groups from your quadriceps to your calf muscles; helping to keep you on point, in one swift pedal, with leg day. The beauty of biking comes from your environment. We often get lost in our heads when running or lifting weights but biking keeps you present and keeps you energized as it allows you to take on challenges as they come: hills, crowded pathways, the open road. As we mentioned earlier, it helps with cross training from other sports such as swimming and running as it eases up the exertion placed on your arms and feet.

In cities like Miami, where public transportation is more of a hassle than a benefit, new bike lanes in the downtown area and public parks have allowed for a cleaner, more affordable option to get around. According to the National Household Travel Survey, “Americans older than 25 accounted for most of the increase in cycling…” Millennials seem to be the driving force behind the sustainability and fitness efforts behind the recent surge.”We are more aware of the pollution crisis and the affect our negligence will have on future generations. We are living through stronger storms and more volatile weather all due to global warming. If there is anything to be done, it needs to start now.” states Chelsea Walsh of Biscayne Bay. In an effort to combat our ever increasing air pollutants, many jobs have offered stipends or perks to those employees who commute to work. In addition, these new lanes and special parks are being built in once abandoned and derelict areas of the city that will be transformed with beautification projects that include gardens and compost areas.

Learning to Share the Road

While there has been a reemergence in the pastime, there are still dangers to contend with when out on the road. When bike sharing first emerged, there was a major outcry against programs such as Divvy and Citi bikes as many stated that it would flood the already brimming crowds of bustling cities.. Having to be aware of tourist pedestrian traffic while in your vehicle is one thing, but adding speed and inertia has led to countless accidents and hospitalizations. Whether the error lies on the cyclist or the vehicle varies in each situation but for the most part the fault is two-fold. Ride sharing benefits the city as an extension of tourism but riders are novices to the layout and without proper protection. They are more focused on finding where they’re going than to their immediate surroundings. At the same time, there are more experienced bikers who neglect the rules of the road and will swirl past traffic and stop lights to beat traffic.

Many vehicle drivers forget to share the road and will make lane changes or turns without being cognizant of our bikers. I know I’ve been the recipient of foul and imaginative slew of words when cutting off a fellow cyclist. Bike lane improvements have been proposed in many cities to add items such as buffers, plants and cement partitions to further protect both entities on the road. The latest study, published as a research letter Sept. 1 in JAMA, documents “a rise in cycling-related injuries and hospitalizations among adults from 1998 to 2013. Adjusted for age, reported injuries rose 28 percent, and resulting hospitalizations increased 120 percent. There was also an increase, to 56 percent from 40 percent, of accidents that occurred on streets.”

Safety First

Education plays a vital role if we want to make any progress in fully and efficiently integrating cycling into our daily lives. While the idea of buying a car without seat belts is bizarre, slow progress has been made in properly educating newcomers to keeping safe. Yasamin Sabeti, a local Chicago resident brings up a good point: “One of the things that scares me the most is seeing so many cyclists without helmets. It is the only protection you have between outside negligence and your brain. Not sure why this is still an option and not a requirement.” There are many gadgets out there today to keep you protected and safe; ranging from lights to side mirrors to reflective clothing. The industry is growing with the popularity rise, with many local bike stores seeing a surge in both attendance and sales.

The surge of sports such as triathlon and cycling have also helped to educate the populace by bringing the importance of safety to the forefront. Many events are certified by upper governing bodies such as USA Triathlon, who adhere to strict guidelines when competing in one of their events. Kids will see their favorite celebrities in protective gear and will follow suit. Many schools are hoping to implement videos and programs into their curriculum in an effort to bring light to the severity of negligence in the same manner that drunk driving videos have done to first time drivers.

In essence, there is much innovation coming forth from the cycling world and it is interesting to see how cities and their populace continue to integrate and grow with the surge. Whether you’re an active commuter or a novice unwrapping their first bike with shaking hands, there is no denying the many strides that have been made for our favorite pastime.

See below for links to amazing biking programs in a city near you!

Miami, FL

Chicago, IL

New York City, NY

Denver, CO

San Diego, CA

 

Works Cited
Brody, Jane. “Cycling 1o1 Needn’t Be Collision Course.” 21 Sept. 2015 https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/cycling-101-neednt-be-collision-course/

Hidden Ingredients: Sugar

By Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD

Does sugar monopolize your day? Let’s take a gander at a regular day’s consumption:

    • Breakfast:  Vanilla creamer in your coffee, oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.
    • Morning Snack:  Standard meal replacement bar.
    • Lunch: Turkey sandwich on wheat bread, banana.
    • Afternoon Snack: Strawberry Greek Yogurt, granola.
    • Dinner:  Glass of Chardonnay, sweet potato, grilled chicken, green beans.
    • Dessert:  1-cup ice cream.

The above menu seems pretty decent at first glance.  Three meals, three snacks and no fast food. No crazy, unhealthy choices or gigantic portions. While there are some healthy components to this day, the major drawback is the sugar content – a whopping 139 grams!

Over 100 grams of sugar per day has become commonplace, due to the nutrient’s presence in almost all processed foods.  In the example above, the processed food items include: creamer, brown sugar, meal replacement bar, bread, yogurt, granola, wine, and ice cream.  All items containing sugar. In addition, many foods naturally contain sugar as well. Raisins, bananas, and the sweet potatoes are all guilty.

It’s gotten to the point that when intentionally “cheating” and having something sweet like a cupcake or candy, it isn’t entirely accurate anymore because so many foods contain added sugar. We are cheating all day long, and often don’t even realize it!

The Problem

I shop at my local grocery store frequently and recently picked up a couple food items that really disappointed me when I got home and realized sugar was on the ingredient list. One of the items was a tomato soup.  Now tomatoes are technically fruit, and already contain natural sugar.  Why in the world add sugar to this product? I knew immediately after taking the first sip that it contained sugar.  It tasted awful. The other product was salsa. Again, the fruits and veggies added to make the salsa are already sugar containing, yet the manufacturer felt the need to add more refined sugar.

Food manufacturers sneak sugar into many products like soup, tomato sauce, salad dressings, salsa, lasagna, lunchmeat, crackers, bars, protein powder, condiments, and the list goes on and on. Why is it present in almost all packaged items these days? To improve flavor or to make us more addicted?

This is a big problem since all processed food manufacturers have jumped onboard. The popular brand specialty health food stores are not any better than your traditional grocery stores. They also add unnecessary sugar; it’s just masquerading under a fancy name.

The Types of Sugar

Don’t let the type of sugar fool you.  Whether it’s agave, beet sugar, cane juice, coconut sugar, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, fructose, glucose, honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, turbinado, or organic sugar, it’s still sugar.  All sugar spikes your blood glucose when consumed alone and will lead to health issues (and addiction) if over-consumed.

The Associated Health Issues

Here’s the really scary part about sugar, the more you eat it, the more you crave it. Sugar stimulates the hedonic pathway, which leads to habit and dependence, similar to the ethanol in alcohol. The cycle must be broken.

Reducing daily sugar intake can truly be a battle as the mind must be re-trained and reminded that you don’t need those foods. Old habits must be broken and new ones established. There is a detox component of sugar unloading. Headaches, energy fluctuations, and irritability seem to be the most common side effects. But these only last a few weeks, and it is well worth the investment.

Sugar is linked to Metabolic Syndrome, of which the markers include weight gain, abdominal obesity, high LDL/low HDL, increased blood sugar, increased triglycerides, and increased blood pressure. It can also cause high uric acid levels, which is linked to heart and kidney disease. In addition, sugar consumed in excess is taxing on the liver, just like alcohol. Fructose-containing foods feed cancer cells and are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The Solution

 1) Awareness. Be aware of everything contributing sugar to your daily fuel plan. Remember the sample intake day above? By making some simple changes, you can cut over half the sugar and feel a lot better.

  • Breakfast:  Half & half creamer in your coffee, oatmeal with coconut oil and walnuts.
  • Morning Snack:  Unprocessed bar made out of whole foods/ingredients.
  • Lunch: Turkey sandwich on wheat bread, hummus/carrots.
  • Afternoon Snack:  Plain Greek Yogurt, berries, pecans.
  • Dinner:  Glass of Chardonnay, sweet potato, grilled chicken, green beans.
  • Dessert:  ½ apple, almond butter.

= 66 grams of total sugar for the day

How much sugar is reasonable per day? Well, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams for women, and 36 grams for men.  But keep in mind that as an athlete, there are certain times of the training season where you are consuming more carbohydrates to meet training demands so there is some flexibility in these numbers.  Regardless, keeping daily sugar intake under 50 grams per day is a good goal. Foods containing natural sugar are always a better option than refined sugar.

2) Label Reading.  Assume that all packaged items contain sugar, and force the label to prove you wrong.

3) Find Better Substitutions.  Granola is a food that is usually very high in carbs and sugar, often having 3-5 different types of sugars added for flavoring.  A client of mine recently enlightened me to a better brand which contains only 4 grams of sugar from a single source. The point is, there’s almost always a better option, it just may take some searching.

4) Make Your Own.  When you make your own granola, cookies, bars, etc. you are able to fully control the ingredient list and make adjustments that you are comfortable with. It takes some extra time, but well worth the investment!

In Summary

The good news is that you CAN cut back on sugar and feel much better! Know what foods contain sugar, and avoid those that contain it unnecessarily. Then you can save your sugar intake for those special occasions where you want that delicious slice of birthday cake or some of your favorite wine. Recruit the help of a sports dietitian if you need more guidance. Sugar detox happens to be near and dear to my heart.

Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD is a registered sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She is an avid triathlete, having completed many triathlons of all distances including 3 Ironman races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, sport-specific fueling plans for her clients as well as sweat sodium concentration testing.  For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at www.fueltothefinish.com