A Dietitian’s Summer Fitness Routine & How I Fuel For It

After wrapping up my marathon this spring, I have decided it’s time to run another one this fall – and I’m aiming to beat my time!

Let me take you through what my summer marathon training routine will look like, along with how I fuel and recover from that training.

As I highlight fueling and recovery routine, I’ve partnered with the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) to showcase the role of 100% juice in my diet for Juice Celebration Month.  100% juice is fantastic fuel and recovery for my workouts due to the natural sugar content (the quickest fuel), electrolytes and the water content – more on that shortly.

Let me start by explain the training routine:

Training

My training will be consisting of about five workout days each week, with two rest days. Those workouts will consist of:

Weekly Long Runs

The weekly long runs are key to build endurance. I will be doing them on Saturdays most weekends. These runs I take at a slower pace, as I am working to build my distance back up slowly. I will increase the distance of these by no more than 10% each week.

Easy Recovery Runs
These runs I will be doing about twice a week. The purpose of these is to get my body used to running on tired legs. They will be done after my long runs and after a speed workout throughout the week. They will also help speed up my recovery from those runs.

Speed Work
Speedwork is actually one of the most crucial parts of marathon training (in addition to endurance and strength training, of course). It gets you out of your comfort zone, forces you to run with more efficient form, teaches you recovery tools, and prepares you for the rush of adrenaline you’ll experience on race day. If you always train at the same speed, you can’t expect to race any differently. Speed workouts also help increase your VO2 max, or how efficiently your body uses oxygen. The more oxygen you can consume and use properly throughout your run, the longer you’ll be able to hold a pace.

I will be doing about two sessions of interval/ speedwork during marathon training.

Strength Training
Personally, this is what I have to work on. Strength training doesn’t come naturally to me. However, running faster requires stronger muscles. Your legs, hips, and core all need to be strong to propel you forward with more power in each step. I’m incorporating two strength training sessions a week through videos from Youtube or the Pelaton app. My preference is to use body weight strength training workouts or light weights.

Fueling

Fueling correctly is equally as important as doing the proper training. Especially in the warm, summer months, when your body is working extra hard during the workouts.

I will do my easy runs fasted, however I need to have fuel in my body during the long runs and speed workouts. I also bring fuel with me during my long runs. The perfect pre-run and during-run fuel is 100% juice. Let me explain why.

100% juice contains only naturally occurring sugar from fruit. The sugar content in one 250 ml glass of orange juice is about the same as two medium oranges. I prefer to drink juice right before a long run vs eating the whole fruit, because I don’t need the fibre before a run. Having fibre before a run can slow down the speed that our body can uptake or use the sugar for fuel. Too much fibre can also lead to gastrointestinal cramps – which is not desirable during a long run.

During the summer long runs, I love to make a homemade electrolyte drink with 100% fruit juice. 100% fruit juice is a great source of essential nutrients and phytonutrients. In fact, those who drink 100% fruit juice have a better quality diet than people who don’t! People who drink fruit juice have higher intakes of vitamin A, C, folate and magnesium. The 100% fruit juice electrolyte drink will replace minerals lost in sweat and also provide the needed hydration for during the run.

My favourite homemade sports drink is below. Simply mix everything together and store in pitcher.

  • 2 cups of 100% juice (my preference is Orange Juice)
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp magnesium citrate

Right after my long runs, it’s important to fuel within a half hour – I usually make a smoothie when I get home with (you guessed it) 100% fruit juice, a banana and some protein powder. I will then have a full meal an hour or two later with carbohydrates, veggies and protein.

There you have it – my summer workout and fueling routine! Thank you again to the Canadian Beverage Association for working with me to bring you this post. I hope this has provided some information for how 100% fruit juice can be part of and enhance your healthy diet.

Missing Nutrients From Our Diet & How To Get Them

According to Health Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey, the diets of many adults were shown to be lacking in certain nutrients.  As many as 25-40% of Canadian adults may be nutrient deficient. Continue reading to avoid being one of them!

The prevalence of inadequate intakes was highest for vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium. 

Results From Health Canada’s Survey

  • More than 35% of Canadian adults consumed vitamin A in quantities below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), with the prevalence of inadequate intakes rising to greater than 40% 
  • Similarly, more than 34% of Canadian adults consumed magnesium in quantities below the EAR, with the prevalence of inadequate intakes rising to greater than 40%
  • As for calcium, both males and female adults had a prevalence of inadequate intakes ranging from 26.5% to 80.1 % and 47.5% to 86.9%, respectively. Trends in both sexes showed an increasing prevalence of calcium inadequacy with older age.
  • Of all the nutrients with an EAR, vitamin D had the highest prevalence of inadequate intakes
  • There is concern that Canadian adults may not be meeting their needs for potassium and fibre
  • 6-19% of women 19-50 consumed iron in amounts that fell below adequate
  • 10-35% of Canadians from most age and sex groups consumed folate in inadequate amounts


Let’s discuss the consequences of inadequate amounts of these nutrients long term and how you can get enough of these nutrients in your diet. But first, I want to draw your attention to a ‘one stop’ solution to boost those often-missing nutrients in your diet: 100% juice. I’ve partnered with the Canadian Beverage Association to bring you this information.

100% Juice As A Solution for Missing Nutrients

Did you know that 100% juice is just that, 100% juice? There seems to be a lot of confusion about just what is in 100% juice, it’s important for Canadians to know what they are consuming and how it contributes to their diet.

• 100% juice is a source of essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Research shows that people who drink 100% juice have better quality diets than people who do not drink juice. People who drink juice have higher intakes of vitamins A, C, folate, and magnesium. 1

• 100% of juice drinkers eat more whole fruit than non-fruit juice drinkers, suggesting that 100% juice is complementary to whole fruit and vegetable intake. 2 This is important because most Canadians are not eating the recommended number of daily fruits and vegetables.

   • 100% orange juice contains only naturally occurring sugar from oranges. The sugar content in one 250 ml glass of 100% orange juice is about the same as that of two medium oranges. Consuming a certain amount of naturally occurring sugar in a nutritionally beneficial beverage like 100% juice can be part of a healthy diet.

Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for one cup (8 oz) of orange juice:

100% juice is a great way to insert more folate, vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium in your diet. Juice can also be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, providing a further solution for those lacking nutrients in our diet!

Add juice into your diet into your smoothies, as a side to your meals or into a fun dessert like a popsicle!

Let’s now explore how you can get enough of various nutrients that Canadians are often lacking in and how you can recognize signs of deficiency!

How To Get Enough Nutrients & Know The Signs Of Deficiency

Potassium

Signs of Deficiency: Muscle weakness, constipation, irregular heart rhythm and more.
Bump up potassium in your diet with bananas, acorn squash, legumes, tomatoes and 100% juice.

Calcium

Signs of Deficiency: Muscle weakness, constipation, irregular heart rhythm and more
You’ll likely get enough from at least three servings of milk or fortified plant-based milk. It is also found in calcium-fortified orange juice, chia seeds, almonds, oranges and dark leafy greens like kale and broccoli

Vitamin D

Signs of Deficiency: fatigue, bone pain, mood changes, and muscle aches or weakness may set in

Your best bet to get enough vitamin D is through supplements – not many foods are rich in vitamin D. 100% fruit juice fortified with vitamin D can be an option as well.

Vitamin C

Signs of Deficiency:  weakness, gum disease and a poor immune system

The important nutrient is in abundance in many foods, including 100% juice, red and green peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi, lemons, and grapefruit.

Folate

Signs of Deficiency:Fatigue, diarrhea, smooth and tender-feeling tongue

To get folate from food, go for fortified cereals, 100% fru8it juice, beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.

Magnesium

Signs of Deficiency: loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, constipation and more
Add more magnesium into your diet through these magnesium-rich foods: almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, black beans and edamame, along with 100% juice,

Iron

Signs of Deficiency: Shortness of breath, fatigue, cold hands and feet, brittle nails
You can get more iron through iron-fortified cereal, beans (especially lima, navy, and kidney beans), lentils, and spinach. 


1 O’Neil CE, et al. “Diet quality is positively associated with 100% fruit juice consumption in children and adults in the United States: NHANES 2003- 2006”. Nutr J. 2011;10:17

2 Statistics Canada, Fruit and vegetable consumption, 2013 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2014001/article/14018- eng.htm

The Role of Caffeine in Physical Activity  

Caffeine is a tool that I use on days when I run or play soccer. I certainly do find a benefit to consuming caffeine before and during these periods of physical activity. However, I am also aware that it is important to be mindful of my caffeine consumption. 

Today we’re talking about the role of caffeine in physical activity – why it’s beneficial, how to use it and when to use it. 

As part of Caffeine Awareness Month. I’m teaming up with the Canadian Beverage Association to present this information to you today!

What Is Caffeine 

Caffeine is one of the world’s favourites “pick me ups” and has known and loved benefits such as decreasing fatigue, increasing focus and concentration. In fact, coffee, tea and tap-water are the most commonly consumed beverages by Canadians, between the ages of 18-79. As well, more than 29 million servings of coffee were consumed in Canada in 2015.

Caffeine is found naturally found in 60 different plants, including coffee beans, cola nuts, guarana nuts and yerba mate. It can also be synthetically produced and added to soft drinks, energy drinks, dietary supplements and energy bars.

Although there are some health benefits, including enhancing physical activity performance, caffeine should be consumed in moderation to ensure optimal functionality and sleep hygiene.

Caffeine and Physical Activity  

Caffeine is a popular ergogenic acid, and is widely used by athletes at all levels. An ergogenic acid is a substance that enhances energy production and performance in physical activity. The performance-enhancing effects of caffeine have been studied for over 100 years. The ergogenic effects of caffeine appear to result from antagonistic interactions with adenosine receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, increasing central drive and reducing the perception of effort and pain during exercise.

Showcasing what I have before my run – oatmeal and 1-2 small cups of coffee!

How Much Caffeine To Have Before and During Physical Activity

General caffeine guidelines recommend the consumption of 3-6 mg/kg of caffeine, typically 60 minutes before the start of exercise. 

For me, that is 177 mg to about 350 mg. However, there is certainly inter-individual variation in response to this standardized protocol. Some athletes are more caffeine sensitive than others. I personally, don’t think I would do well with consuming 350 mg of caffeine before exercise, as I am more caffeine sensitive and that is getting close to the upper limit of the recommended amount of caffeine per day, established by Health Canada, which is 400 mg/day. The degree of caffeine sensitivity/ tolerance could be explained by genetic variations, related to caffeine metabolism or adenosine receptor density. 

Additional research has found that that moderate to high caffeine doses (5–9 mg/kg body mass (bm)), ingested before and during exercise, increase endurance performance in laboratory and field settings. These doses are associated with increased heart rate and blood catecholamine, lactate, free fatty acid and glycerol levels in many subjects. However, side effects that often occur include gastrointestinal upset, nervousness, mental confusion, inability to focus and disturbed sleep.

Lower caffeine doses (<3 mg/kg bm ~200 mg) taken before, during and late in exercise also increase endurance performance, and do not cause the physiological changes and side effects noted above in most individuals.

I’ve certainly felt the effect of too much caffeine – which has impacted my sleep quality and levels of anxiety. If I am anxious or sleep-deprived before playing soccer, I don’t perform as well!

Caffeine Use In Soccer 

Caffeine is an ergogenic in many forms of short-term high-intensity exercise and team stop-and-go sports, where anaerobic energy provision plays a significant role in performance success – such as soccer!

In research specifically related to soccer, acute caffeine intake in a moderate dose (1.5 to 7mg/kg before exercise has the capacity to improve several soccer-related abilities and skills such as vertical jump height, repeated sprint ability, running distances during a game and passing accuracy. 

It should be noted that doses up to 7 mg/kg would provide more than the recommended amount of caffeine/day. Please still follow the recommended caffeine amounts presented in guidelines from Health Canada.

Caffeine Use In Running 

Caffeine has been shown to positively impact endurance performance in sports such as running. Research has demonstrated that caffeine has a small but evident effect on endurance performance when taken in moderate doses (3–6 mg/kg) as well as an overall improvement following caffeine compared to placebo in mean power output and time-trial completion time. 

It is also likely helpful to consume caffeine during a long run or race. Greater responsiveness to small amount of caffeine (2-3 mg/kg) may be seen when it is taken during a race, around the onset of fatigue. 

I’m usually consuming 25-100 mg of caffeine during my run.

How I Use Caffeine In Physical Activity 


I have been running and playing soccer for years, so I have been able to experiment with different amounts of caffeine consumption before and during exercise. I usually consume two cups of homebrewed coffee (~ 200 mg of caffeine) before my run and before soccer. As I am currently training for a full marathon in May, I do find it is helpful to consume additional caffeine during my long runs (which are 2 hours +). I will typically consume that caffeine in the form of energy gels, that contain another 100 mg of caffeine. This has helped reduce fatigue for me and helped with endurance during my long runs. 

Bottom Line:

Caffeine is an effective ergogenic acid during physical activity, helping to reduce fatigue and enhance performance. However, it is important to be mindful of caffeine intake so that we don’t exceed the 400 mg/day or 300 mg during pregnancy.  

How You Can Over 100 g of Protein In a Day Without Meat

There is certainly an misconception that if you don’t eat meat, than you can’t get enough protein – but this is so far from the truth!

I’m going to show you how I get over 100 grams of protein, without eating any meat! 

*Note that everyone’s protein needs are different. I usually try to aim for around 80-90 grams of protein a day, based on my weight and physical activity level. More on your protein needs below. 

This post is sponsored by my favourite new way to add protein to my breakfast meal: Allo Protein Powder for Hot Coffee! Out of all my meals, I struggle to get enough protein at breakfast the most, as I try to aim for 20-30 g of protein per meal. I have been using the Allo Nutrition Protein powder in my morning coffee to give me 10 grams of protein – and it mixes in so seamlessly while maintaining the integrity of your black coffee! Watch me mix it into my coffee during this during this TikTok video. The flavours are sugar free, gluten-free and clump free. A really great option for busy people on the go, who may need a protein boost! They are from my home city, Toronto, which makes me love them even more. Check them out at @alloyourcoffee on social!

Function of Protein 

Why do we care about protein anyways?

Let’s first discuss what protein is. Protein is made of amino acids, which your body uses for basic functions like maintaining hair, skin, nails, and bones, and producing hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals. Protein is involved in basically every bodily process. 

It’s also a necessary macronutrient for the building and repair of muscles. Not getting enough protein can lead to muscle wasting, fractures, and susceptibility to infection. Protein deficiency is extremely rare, as long as you’re consuming enough calories. Protein also helps us feel fuller for longer by releasing GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) and CCK (cholecystokinin) – both proteins that play a role in satiety. Protein also decreases levels of a hormone called neuropeptide Y, which can increase hunger.

Before we get into talking about the building blocks of protein, let’s touch on how our body uses protein. When we eat protein – whether it’s a chicken breast or tofu – amino acids are coiled into chains in the shape of helixes. During digestion, these helixes are uncoiled in the stomach, and the chains that make up that protein are broken up into smaller chains by enzymes in the stomach. These chains are then broken up further into individual amino acids in the small intestine by enzymes called proteases. The amino acids are then absorbed into the bloodstream and transported around the body to be used in various functions (as listed above).

So how much protein do we need in a day?

 Protein requirements depend on factors such as body composition, activity level, weight, disease state, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that people should have around 0.8 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, research has evolved since then. A study done in 2012 by Bray et al. in a metabolic ward found that 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight was the sweet spot for protein intake – meaning that a lower protein intake resulted in more lean body mass loss and protein intake over 1.8 g per kg didn’t make much of a difference in composition.  

In a 2018 review of studies by Schoenfeld & Aragon, the consensus was 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram per meal, which works out to about 20 to 30 grams – but this was also recommended four times a day. If you like to eat three meals a day, you can make up the rest of your protein needs in snacks.

For athletes, the latest recommendations from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) are that athletes should be getting between 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilogram bodyweight of protein. This also depends on the type and intensity of training. It’s also best to consume protein throughout the day, especially within 30 minutes following a workout, to optimize its benefit on recovery, repair, and muscle growth. You can read more about the ISSN’s recommendations about protein in the required readings below.

Another important thing to note is that it’s not just the total amount of protein in a day that matters, but it’s also the protein timing. Several researches have found that consuming a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal promotes fullness and preserve muscle mass, better than smaller amounts of protein eaten throughout the day (Deutz & Wolfe, 2013). 

What I Eat To Get My Protein Needs Met

Alright, that being said, this is how I meet my protein needs in a day!

Breakfast (50 g of protein)

  • Allo Protein Powder In Coffee (10 g of Protein)
  • Tofu Scramble + High Protein Bread (40 g of Protein)

Protein Coffee

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package Allo Protein Powder For Hot Coffee
  • 240 ml Coffee

Instructions
 

  • Make your coffee then stir in the package of Allo Protein Powder. Stir and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Tofu Scramble

No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 16 Oz Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Red Pepper Sliced
  • 4 Cup Kale
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 0.5 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 0.5 Tsp Turmeric

Instructions
 

  • Pat tofu dry and roll in a clean, absorbent towel with something heavy on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, for 15 minutes.
  • While tofu is draining, prepare sauce by adding dry spices to a small bowl and adding enough water to make a pourable sauce. Set aside.
  • Prep veggies and warm a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and the onion and red pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
  • Add kale, season with a bit more salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 2 minutes.
  • In the meantime, crumble the tofu with a fork into bite-sized pieces.
  • Use a spatula to move the veggies to one side of the pan and add tofu. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add sauce, pouring it mostly over the tofu and a little over the veggies. Stir immediately, evenly distributing the sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until tofu is slightly browned.
  • Serve with high protein bread and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Snacks (12 grams of Protein)

  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Chickpeas (6 g of Protein)
  • 1/4 Cup of Pistachios + 1 Apple (6 g of Protein )

Lunch (27 g of protein)

Baked Chickpea Pasta

Nicole Osinga, RD, MAN, BASc
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 8 oz chickpea pasta dried
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 tsp dried basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F, then in a large baking dish, add in your cherry tomatoes, garlic cloves, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tsp of olive oil and toss to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of your baking dish and add in your hummus. Top the hummus with the dry basil, oregano and the remaining olive oil, then place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes are blistered and juicy.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Once the veggies and hummus are cooked, carefully with a fork mash your tomatoes and garlic to fully release all of their juices, then mix into the hummus to get a thicker sauce. Mix in cooked pasta and enjoy.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



Dinner (25 g of protein)

Tempeh Quinoa Stir Fry

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Servings 3
Calories 398 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cup Quinoa cooked
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup Veggie Broth
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Basil
  • 18 oz Tempeh
  • 1/2 Onion sliced
  • 3 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup Edamame
  • 1/2 head Cauliflower chopped

Instructions
 

  • Mix together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, vegetable broth, garlic and oregano in a bowl. Add the tempeh/tofu and marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Add the prepared veggies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the tempeh is done marinating, add it to the parchment-lined baking sheet as well. Add the extra marinade to the veggies.
  • Roast for about 24 to 26 minutes, turning the tempeh and stirring the vegetables halfway through. Top quinoa with roasted tempeh and veggies. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 35gFat: 16g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Controlling Your Sweet Tooth With Sweet & Simple Ontario Apple Snacks

A snack is always complete with a crunchy and sweet apple treat! Today I’m showcasing three simple apple recipes, that help to control your sweet tooth!

This post was developed in partnership with Ontario Apple Growers and Produce Made Simple. Ontario apples can be enjoyed all year round and really are the perfect snack – no prep work required! However, these three snacks that I have here don’t take any time at all to make. Which one would you try?

Yogurt Apple Donuts

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Apple (I used honey crisp)
  • 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Almond Butter
  • Seeds & Dried Fruit

Instructions
 

  • Cut your apples in slices, then use a corer or knife to make a circle cut in the centre.
  • Mix yogurt and almond butter together. Spread a layer of the almond yogurt as your ‘frosting’.
  • Top with seeds & dried fruit!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Apples Dipped in Chocolate Hummus

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 2 Apples (I used royal gala) sliced

Instructions
 

  • In a blender or in a food processor, combine all the ingredients except water and apples, using just 3 1/2 Tbsp of maple syrup.Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 30-60 seconds. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time to create the desired consistency.
  • Taste the chocolate hummus and add remaining maple syrup if desired.
  • Dip your apples in the hummus and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Air Fryer Apples

No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Apples I used Ambrosia
  • 1.5 Tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Almond Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the air fryer on 350F.
  • Cut apples in half through the stem and use a knife or a spoon to remove the core, stem and seeds.  Brush a tsp of avocado oil evenly over the cut sides of the apples, then sprinkle over ½ tsp of cinnamon.
  • Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl, then spoon on top of the apple halves evenly.  
  • Place the apple halves carefully into the air fryer basket, then cook for 15 minutes or until softened.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!