Nutrition After Training


Optimum performance can only be achieved when a runner recovers sufficiently after training. Carbohydrates, protein and fluid play an important role in this.

What the petrol tank is to the car, the carbohydrates are to the muscles, which are stored in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Intensive and/or long training drains these energy reserves in the muscles and liver. Anyone who trains loosely for up to five hours a week therefore does not need to worry too much about nutrition after training, as long as they eat a balanced diet.


Carbohydrates are important for the immune system

The situation is different for runners who train more than five hours a week and some of which are high intensity. In order to regain performance, it is important to replenish the carbohydrate stores after training, preferably with starch supplements such as rice, pasta, potatoes or muesli. Exercise causes a slight stress and inflammatory reaction in the body. Carbohydrates counteract this. They are also important for the immune system.


Protein for the muscles

The first meal after training should contain not only carbohydrates but also protein. If the protein intake in the diet is insufficient, both the repair processes and the muscle building suffer. This can last up to 24 hours after training.

It is therefore not enough to supply the body with protein only immediately after training. Rather, it is important that each meal contains 20 to 25 grams of protein – whereby not all proteins are the same. This is because animal proteins (in fish, eggs, meat or dairy products) are generally more digestible by the body and therefore of higher quality than vegetable proteins.


Good vegetarian combinations

If you want to cover your protein requirements purely from plants, you must consume 30 to 40 grams of protein per meal to achieve the same value of 20 to 25 grams of animal protein. It is best to combine different vegetable foods with each other to increase their value, for example soy with rice and lentils or potatoes with beans and nuts. Such combinations offer a greater variety of “essential amino acids”, i.e. the protein building blocks that the body cannot produce itself, but which are essential for the muscle.


Triple good – the milk shake

If you don’t have a proper meal immediately after running, you can take protein and carbohydrates with a banana milkshake or chocolate milk, for example. Such drinks also help to compensate for the loss of fluid through sweating.

Fluid replacement is the third important point that runners should consider after training. An additional requirement of five to eight deciliter per hour of training is expected. Exactly how much fluid is needed varies greatly from individual to individual. The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to your urine: if the fluid intake is correct, it is about the color of white wine.

With sweat, the body loses not only fluid but also salt. A salty snack or a salty meal makes up for this.


Tips when overweight or underweight

Anyone who trains to lose weight must be careful not to treat himself to more than necessary after training as a reward. A simple rule of thumb is to fill 1/4 of your plate with carbohydrates, 1/4 with the protein component and the remaining half with vegetables and/or salad. In order not to consume additional calories, it makes sense to complete the workout shortly before the daily main meal and to avoid a regeneration snack.

Runners who tend to be underweight are best advised to increase the proportion of carbohydrates and reduce that of vegetables. Some olive or rapeseed oil and a few nuts can provide additional calories.



  • Snacks immediately after training: fruit smoothie with yoghurt/curd cheese, chocolate milk, muesli, sandwich with dried meat or cheese, cereal bar, bread with nutmeg.
  • Runners who follow a vegan diet should seek nutritional advice to prevent long-term deficiencies of certain food components.
  • Magnesium rarely helps against muscle cramps. It is more important to compensate for the loss of fluids and salt during training and not to overload the muscle too much.
  • Food supplements are usually unnecessary if the basic diet is correct. Pay attention to a balanced diet.
  • Sports drinks are not necessary for low training volumes and during weight reduction.
  • Alcohol can directly and indirectly reduce performance. It has a draining effect, influences the quality of sleep and thus hinders regeneration.


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Stomach problems when running: Where they come from and what to avoid


Intensity and digestion in a dilemma: When all systems in the body are occupied by a physical challenge, the stomach gets a raw deal, which often results in digestive problems. Intensive endurance sports and digestion are two activities that limit each other.

Practically everyone who loves longer physical challenges has some experience with digestive problems. The reason is obvious: Intensive physical activity uses the available oxygen primarily for the supply of energy in the muscles, the other systems, such as digestion, are reduced to a minimum. The microclimate of the stomach is often disrupted by physical exertion.

Depending on the location, a distinction is made between problems of the upper and lower digestive tract. Symptoms of the upper digestive tract include burping, heartburn, chest pain, nausea and vomiting. In endurance sports, stomach problems occur mainly in running, cycling and triathlon. The more intense an exercise load is and the longer it lasts, the more frequent are digestive problems. In a 10 km run or a hike, far less than in a marathon or Ironman, for example.

Heartburn and its causes
Heartburn can occur due to increased acid production in the stomach or due to so-called stomach ulcers. Triggering factors can be the regular intake of certain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol as well as frequent large amounts of protein-rich food can additionally cause these disorders. Heartburn is not caused by physical activity, but by a disorder of the closing mechanism between the esophagus and the stomach. Nevertheless, an increased transfer of gastric acid to the oesophagus could also be detected in healthy probands during running. The shocks associated with running are probably responsible for this, because the stomach’s ability to absorb food deteriorates massively as a result of the constant impacts. This phenomenon is much less pronounced when cycling.

If the food is eaten shortly before the run, the reflux of acid is even more pronounced. A temporary decrease in the tension of the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach can provoke a pushing open of the sphincter and thus the backflow of gastric acid, which is additionally intensified by the increased breathing during physical activity.

Drinking: delicate shortly before the competition
Nausea occurs in long distance running mainly during or shortly after the end of a competition. What is striking is that those athletes who drink something before the competition have a 3.3-times higher risk of upper digestive complaints. The decisive factor for this is the delayed emptying of the stomach, as is observed with higher running intensity (75% of the maximum oxygen intake).

Studies also showed that athletes who had a certain degree of dehydration (about 5% body weight loss due to perspiration loss) had delayed gastric emptying. Thus, dehydration increases the risk of gastrointestinal problems during running, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. Other causative factors are intense heat and long running distances. High outside temperatures can impede gastric emptying by reducing intestinal blood flow and mobility.

Be careful with medications
Typical symptoms such as heartburn and frequent burping are an indication of a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter. An examination by a doctor is therefore recommended. Drugs that attack the gastric mucosa should be avoided as far as possible in consultation with the doctor. The most important points for athletes:

  • Pain killers such as aspirin and ibuprofen should not be taken.
  • Avoid nicotine and drink caffeinated and alcoholic beverages with restraint.
  • Effective drugs (such as ranitidine) or so-called acid blockers reduce acid production and can alleviate the symptoms.
  • Hypertonic drinks (e.g. cola or other sweet drinks) should be avoided because of the resulting delay in emptying the stomach.
  • Isotonic carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks are emptied from the stomach as quickly as water and are therefore preferable in small portions throughout the entire run (commercially produced sports drinks such as gels provide the body with energy without straining the digestion too much).

The art in endurance sports lies in the optimal balance between an intensity of performance at which the necessary amount of energy can still be absorbed and the situation-specific food to which the stomach is accustomed. The appropriate intensity also depends on how ambitious an athlete is. If an athlete runs or goes to the limit for hours in pursuit of a best time, there is a great risk that the stomach will rebel even during minor tasks. If, on the other hand, the athlete consciously avoids this and attaches importance to adequate food, then it is possible that he will make it through the course without any problems and will still have reserves in the end, but will not be able to fully exhaust his performance limit. The “perfect competition” is therefore always a search for the “perfect” speed.

Dr. med. Roberto Llano is a specialist FMH for general internal medicine and sports medicine SGSM. Roberto Llano is a team doctor for the Snowboard Federation, the U15-U20 national football team, the Ju-Jitsu national team and the BMX national team of Swiss Cycling and works as a senior physician at Medbase Bern.

Best drinks and foods for after your running (competition)


The training or the competition is done, everything went according to plan. Unfortunately, the plan often ends here. A correct and timely replenishing of the energy reserves is at the core of an optimal recovery. So, when and what should you eat?

We asked Sarina Jenzer, an active top Swiss orienteer and nutritionist in training, for advice. In addition, the internationally successful Swiss marathon runner and running.COACH ambassador Viktor Röthlin told us what snacks he used to swear by after training and competitions.

Stay hydrated!

According to Sarina, after training and competitions, the compensation of the fluid deficit caused by the physical activity is her first priority. Thus, as a first step, drink to rehydrate the dehydrated body (rehydration). As long as you are thirsty, you can keep drinking. Water is best suited for this.

When should I eat what?

In general, there is a difference between higher and lower exercise loads. The more your body has to work, the greater its energy deficit and the more important it is to replenish your energy reserves on time. Right after particularly intensive or long training sessions you should eat something as quickly as possible. After a relaxed and short workout, this is less pressing. But watch out! It always depends on the total scope of the training. During training phases with generally high intensity or big training scopes, you should also pay attention to a quick supply of energy in addition to your fluid intake, even during short and rather easy sessions.

After an easy training session

After an easier workout (low intensity or length) with a smaller scope (time until the next workout equals more than 24h), hydration in the form of water is usually sufficient directly after the workout. Eating is not absolutely necessary if a larger meal is eaten within one hour after the end of the workout.

After a demanding training or competition

When eating after a hard workout, after a competition or during high training volumes (next workout on the same day or less than 24 hours later): the faster the better. In concrete terms, this means that within 15-20 minutes after training, food should be consumed in addition to liquid so that the recovery before the next session is optimal. But what is best suited as a regeneration snack?

Ideal recovery snacks

According to Sarina Jenzer, the optimal recovery snack contains both carbohydrates (20-50g) and protein (15-20g). The carbohydrates ensure that our glycogen stores are replenished, while protein helps to set muscle regeneration in motion as quickly as possible. Viktor Röthlin used to solve this problem by taking carbohydrates in the form of an energy gel in addition to water immediately after an interval workout or competition and then meet the need for protein with a protein bar after the cool down. Today, there is an almost infinite selection of products to support the regeneration phase. The most common are recovery drinks or bars. On the one hand, there are products that contain both carbohydrates and protein, and on the other hand, there are products covering only the protein requirement. With the latter, you should make sure to eat something that contains carbohydrates in addition, says Sarina.

As an alternative to these ready-made products, commercial foods can of course also be used as wonderful recovery snacks in the right combination! Sarina suggests the following options as examples:

1) Chocolate milk

2) Banana with quark (curd cheese)

3) Muesli with yoghurt

4) Sandwich with cheese or ham

We hope these tips will help you and we wish you a good workout with optimal regeneration! 😉


Sarina Jenzer (28) is a member of the Swiss national orienteering team and has already celebrated several successes at European and World Championships. She lives in Bern and studies nutrition and dietetics at the Bern University of Applied Sciences with the goal of becoming a certified nutritionist.




Article by: Marion Aebi

Translated to English by: Denise Kaufmann 


How can I lose weight by running?


Some do it for aesthetical reasons, some for reasons of health – losing weight. Especially in spring, people try to get rid of some extra kilos. Can running help? Yes, if you follow some simple rules!

A lot of people are constantly concerned with how they can lose weight. It is commonly known that, in order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. This can either happen through a reduced intake of food, or trough increased physical activity, by which we can burn more calories. It is all about the calorie balance, really. So, how can I achieve a negative calorie balance through running? And what do I have to take into account? Gommaar D’Hulst, Post doc in the Laboratory of Exercise and Health at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, has helped us answer these questions.

1) In what way does running help people to lose weight?

Increasing your energy expenditure by any form of physical activity, including running, can help to decrease body weight.

2) Can anyone lose weight with the help of running? 

Anyone can lose weight, as long as he/she expends more energy (kcals) than he/she consumes. The difference between people will be how hunger is regulated after (or in between) running sessions. People who get very hungry and compensate for the expended calories will have a harder time losing weight (more on this in question 6).

3) Can you continue eating normally when you start running (or run more than before) and still lose weight, or do you always have to change your eating habits as well?

No, you do not necessarily have to change your diet. It all depends where you come from. If you already eat healthy and stay away from processed food, there is no need for change. However, if you have an unhealthy diet, it might be worth to see a registered dietitian who can put you on the right track. A healthy eating pattern, of course, makes it easier to lose weight with running.

4) So, what do you think is the ideal diet if you want to lose weight but still have enough energy for running?

Adherence is the most important thing in any diet. If you want to choose a diet, choose one you can stick to. However, as already mentioned, I would not drastically change much when the eating pattern is already healthy. By healthy I mean 35-40% carbs, 25-30% fat, 1.4g/kg protein, little sugar and a varied eating pattern. I am not in favour, and also the research is inconclusive, in completely deleting one macronutrient (like carbohydrates).

5) Is it true that you lose weight faster if you don’t eat anything a few hours before and after your runs?

This is a slippery slope since this kind of eating pattern can induce food cravings (and weight gain). Another route worth considering is intermittent fasting. Here you will have all your food intake in 8-10h time-span, for instance from 9AM to 7PM. Research is very positive (certainly in animals) about intermittent fasting. In fact, even when total calories were matched, metabolic health parameters such as the sensitivity to insulin and certain liver parameters are positively influenced by intermittent fasting. This is certainly an interesting area of research, but the combination of intermittent fasting and exercise are not fully elucidated yet.

6) Is there any formula for how many calories you burn by running?

There are probably a lot, but here is one:

MEN: Calories Burned = [(Age x 0.2017) + (Weight x 0.09036) + (Heart Rate x 0.6309) — 55.0969] x Time / 4.184.

WOMEN: Calories Burned = [(Age x 0.074) — (Weight x 0.05741) + (Heart Rate x 0.4472) — 20.4022] x Time / 4.184.

However, I personally think these formulas are mostly nonsense because there are big differences between people (large standard deviations). Generally, people tend to think that they burn more than they actually do. That is, the food compensation after a run (or other type of activity) is often too high, by which the negative calorie balance is destroyed. This is something people MUST be aware of if they want to lose weight.

7) Will your body at some point adapt to increased physical activity and not burn calories as fast anymore, like it is with diets sometimes?

There is some data indicating that very active people unconsciously adapt to the increased physical activity in two ways: 1/ they start moving around less, decrease ‘fidgeting’ and 2/ get more efficient in using the energy for a variety of bodely functions such as food digesting and immune system, thereby decreasing basal metabolic rate (what you burn in a resting state). Moreover, one of the adaptations to exercise is that the muscle will be more efficient in producing energy for a given amount of oxygen. So, after a while, people will burn less calories for a given speed than before (also because they lose body weight and therefore use less energy to move their body). Thus, in order to keep the weight loss going, a person will have to run slightly faster (and longer) over time (or, of course, eat less).

8) Is it better to run fast, slow, for a short or a long period of time if you want to lose weight?

In general, it does not matter much. Losing weight is almost exclusively determined by energy balance. Some people will like interval training more, while others will opt for long easy runs. Again, it all comes down to adherence. Of note, because the intensity is higher, interval training will burn as many calories as longer slow runs, making it perhaps a more time-efficient method for losing weight.

9) What role does your heart rate play in terms of what your body burns or how fast?

Heart rate will be an indication for when the body is in the ‘aerobic’ zone (low HR) or in the more anaerobic (high HR) zone. So, it is a good measurement of intensity.

However, that you have to stay in the ‘easy’ zone to lose weight is a myth. Let me explain briefly by the following graph:


It represents fuel utilization at different exercise intensities, 40% is easy and 75% is hard. While muscle glycogen and plasma glucose are carbohydrate related energy sources (sugar taken from the muscle and blood), muscle and plasma TG (triglycerides within the muscle or derived from the blood, “other fat sources” in the graph) and plasma FFA (blood derived fatty acids) are fat related energy sources. As it is true that at easy pace you are RELATIVELY burning more fat (around 50% carbs and 50% fats) compared to running fast (85% carbs and 15% fat), ABSOLUTELY you are still burning less or the same amount of fat than when you are exercising at harder paces. In fact, at a harder pace, the relative contribution of carbohydrates is increased and together with the fact that you are expending more energy, you will 1/burn more or a similar amount of fat and 2/ burn way more carbohydrates at high intensities as compared to lower intensities.

A side effect of high intensity training this is that the emptied energy stores will have to be refilled and your body has to recover more from a hard run. The body thus taps the energy savings in form of fat. The aerobic energy systems (fat burning) will thereofre be increased the hours after a hard training session, meaning that your body is still burning more calories than normally when at rest. This will positively influence the energy balance for weight loss.

10) Is there a certain time of the day which is best for our body to run in order to lose weight?

There is recent research indicating that PM exercise might be better performance wise, but these studies did not look into weight loss. Fasted training (after a long period without food intake, i.e. before breakfast) is popular indeed, because the body will learn to rely more (albeit slightly) on free fatty acids (fat) for energy and it will increase metabolic pathways which rely more on fat oxidation (mitochondria and select enzymes). BUT: Solely because the body gets better in metabolizing fat, that the person will NOT lose fat more quickly! You still only lose it when your overall energy balance is negative. Think about it, it is similar as with the ketogenic diet. On the ketogenic diet, you will oxidize (burn) more fat, than on a normal diet, BUT you also take in much more fat. Thus, again, it winds down to energy balance, on the ketogenic diet or when training fasted, you can gain weight if you eat more than what you expend.

11) Should one combine running with a different form of exercise in order to achieve the biggest effect?

I would suggest that strength training should always be incorporated in a training scheme of a runner. Not only because its possible beneficial effects on losing weight, but most surely because of its effect on injury prevention. Stronger muscles, together with better biomechanics will have a positive effect on the longevity of a runner’s career. Additionally, proper strength training can lead to a more favourable body composition, meaning more muscles and less fat. On the long term, this will result in a slightly higher resting metabolic rate and thus more efficient weight loss.


Gommaar D’Hulst studied Sport Sciences and Biomedical Kinesiology at the University of Leuven, Belgium where he also gained his PhD. Currently he is working as a post-doctoral researcher at state-of-the-art “Exercise and Health” lab at ETH Zürich where his research concentrates on topics like muscle health and nutrient sensing. In his spare time you can find him in CrossFit Kreis9 for his daily Workout Of the Day. Follow Gommaar and his colleague Henning Langer on their Instagram-Account (@wod_science) for daily posts about the science behind strength training, endurance and CrossFit.


Edited  by: Marion Aebi

Burning fat – but how?


The ideal fat burning pace does not mean that you burn the most fat at that speed. Myths and facts about fat burning.

It is easier than you think: With slow trainings the economy of the fat metabolism is trained, with intensive and fast units most calories and therefore the most fat is burned in absolute terms. There are two different forms of training with two different objectives.

No weight loss without a negative energy balance

Let’s start with weight loss. If you want to reduce fat, you have to work on your energy balance. What you put into your body also has to go out again, otherwise the fat pads will swell out of the trousers. Unused calories are stored by the body as fat. The energy balance is therefore the decisive criterion for losing weight. Only when input (calories consumed with the diet) minus output (calories burned) is negative, i.e. the energy consumption is greater than the energy intake, only then do we lose weight.

One can increase the output with increased exercise or decrease the input with a cleverly planned diet. There are two starting points when it comes to contributing to weight loss through sports. Either you can try to burn as many calories as possible in a short time. The motto here is: Whoever wants to burn as many calories as possible also has to put in their maximum effort. Or one increases the duration of sports and adjusts the intensity to become able to sustain a pace for as long as possible, which is possible only with a middle intensity. Here, not predominantly the carbohydrates are needed for the energy supply, but – by means of oxygen – also fat is used.

In percentage terms, the less intense the physical activity, the more fat you burn. Therefore, this intensity level is often referred to as the “fat burning zone”. However, this only applies as a percentage, because due to the low total energy turnover, the absolute amount of burned fat in the fat burning area is still lower than when you are doing intensive trainings.

Fat metabolism for more economy

The training mode in the low “fat burning zone” has another special meaning in endurance sports. The burning of carbohydrates (= glycogen burning, sugar burning) provides about twice as much energy per time as the burning of fat, but the fats burn for much longer and are practically available without limit in the body. The glycogen reserves are only sufficient for a strain of about 90 minutes.

A regular training in the moderate fat metabolism zone is therefore the essential foundation the other trainings can be built on. In addition, less intensive training sessions require less regeneration time and can be repeated more often.

By accessing the fat metabolism, our body improves the more economical of the two main metabolic processes in endurance sports. This can protect the glycogen reserves, which are only available in limited quantities. With the fat metabolism, one can run for hours to days – with the glycogen metabolism in the best case one to two hours without refilling carbohydrates. The better the fat metabolism is trained, the more it helps to preserve the carbohydrates from the start and to maintain the desired speed longer at the end. And the less you will fall into that dreaded “bonk” from one moment to the next.

What are the benefits of metabolic training?

The training of fat metabolism makes sense not only for (marathon) runners, but for all endurance athletes who perform during long trainings. Cyclists and triathletes also explicitly train their fat metabolism during the preparation for the upcoming season. The longer the strain during competition, the more important it becomes. Fat metabolism training improves long-term endurance. The organism forms more blood in order to transport oxygen more efficiently, the number of energy power stations of the muscles (mitochondria) increases, so that the cells can gain energy even better. By adapting the organism, the body can process training strains more quickly. And last but not least, in addition to the muscles and blood, the cartilage surfaces, tendons and ligaments also develop, so that the training can be better coped with and is better protected against overloading.

When does metabolic training start?

The fat metabolism is demanded at almost all intensities. But only when the duration of the strain is long and the intensity is chosen to be low we can actually speak of a classic fat metabolism training. Long units from 60 up to 180 minutes (depending on your goals) should be planned once a week in running. In combination with other extensive endurance runs, this builds the necessary foundation. The extensive units are supplemented by intensive training in a ratio of 1:3. Every third extensive unit is followed by intensive training.

If you want to be successful, you should invest in fat metabolism training all year round. The positive thing about this is that these training sessions are not very intensive and are only challenging due to their long duration. In order to break through the monotony somewhat, it is recommended to do the long round with training colleagues or to do a new round every now and then.

Examples of fat metabolism trainings

  • Long jog: Long slow run up to 3 hours if the goal is to do a marathon. Otherwise you can also do “only” 80 minutes up to 2 hours. Motto: The slower, the better!
  • Long run: Long, brisk run (90% of the marathon speed) up to 3 hours or a maximum of 38 kilometers in the specific preparation for a marathon. In the case of shorter distances up to 2 hours or a maximum of 28 kilometers.
  • Cross-training: Long strains in one or more alternative sports with low intensity. Example: 3 hours cycling or 5 hours hiking. Ideally, a short running workout of 30-45 minutes is added at the end to enable the transfer to the target discipline (running).

The two metabolic systems fat metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism are always both involved in endurance strains, but not to the same extent. During intensive exercise, carbohydrate metabolism is primarily used; with increasing training duration and a lower pulse rate, fat metabolism makes up the largest proportion of the energy supply. Training in the ideal fat burning area does not mean burning a maximum of calories (more calories are burned during intensive training than during loose training) but improving the economy of the fat metabolism with low intensities so that it can also participate in the energy supply during more intensive training.

This blog post by Andreas Gonseth was provided by Fit for Life. Fit for Life is the Swiss magazine for fitness, running and endurance sports.

How to reach your competition weight


Sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück explains how you can achieve your competition weight and which individual factors play a role.

Our body weight fluctuates depending on the training period we are in. Especially when recovering from a long-lasting injury or a break from training we gain weight relatively easily. How can you get back to your competition weight? What do you need to consider?

Achieving a healthy body weight

Depending on the sport, the typical body weight is usually lower during competition season than during the rest of the year. The optimal competition weight is very hard to keep over a long period of time and during training season it brings with it the danger of injuries and illness. However, the difference between competition and off season weight should not be too big (< 3% of the body weight). This way, it can be avoided that the athlete has to lose a lot of weight within a short time frame. Before a big weight reduction you should always ask yourself whether this weight reduction brings with it a risk for your health, whether the goal is realistic (e.g genetic preconditions) and whether the goal is appropriate for your age and level of fitness. Further, you should be able to keep the weight without having to follow a strict diet all the time and without developing an eating disorder or a disturbed eating behaviour. Sports people who keep losing and gaining weight all the time probably have an unrealistic goal for their body weight.

Regulating factors for the energy balance

Different factors can considerably influence the balance between energy intake and energy usage. This can be, on the one hand, factors from the environment, and, on the other hand, individual factors such as stress, hormones or personal conditions. How much energy you use also depends on your individual restic metabolic rate (RMR). This is influenced by age, gender, but also muscle mass, stress or certain hormones. Depending on the athlete, this energy varies between 1300 and 2500 kcal per day. For a more accurate determination of your individual restic metabolic rate, it is recommendable to conduct a measurement in sober conditions. The RMR is added by any physical activity throughout the whole day, be it work or household, means of transport (e.g. biking to work, walk up stairs, etc) or in form of specific sports activities.

Genetic factors play a role, too, such as the way of energy intake and the composition of our nutrition. All of these factors strongly influence how much energy our body uses and how much energy we need to give it in order to keep our body and its weight balanced.

What do sports people need to consider when reducing their body weight?

Most people wish to lose a lot of weight within a short period of time. For sports people, this is unrealistic and not sensible at all. A negative energy balance increases the risk of losing not only fat mass, but also muscle mass. This has negative consequences for the performance capacity. It has been shown in a scientific study that, with a reduction of the body weight by 0.7% per week, more muscles could be retained than with a reduction by 1.7% within the same time frame (Garthe et al. 2011). The consequences of an excessive energy restriction are not only a decrease in performance, but also reduced muscle force, reduced storages of glycogen or reduced ability to concentrate. It also increases the risk of getting injured due to tiredness or shortage symptoms (bsp. too low bone density, iron deficiency, etc.). You should also not forget about psychological factors such as the emotional state of a person. That is, for an athlete with an existing training programme, it is recommendable not to decrease the daily energy intake by more then 500 to 700 kcal per day.

Another important factor is the protein intake. When reducing your energy intake, you normally also reduce your protein intake. However, sports people are generally recommended to consume more protein (1.4 to 1.7g per kg body weight) on a daily basis than what is recommended for a healthy, inactive person (0.8g per kg body weight). Generally, it can be said that with a weight loss through reduced energy intake, the intake of proteins per day should be increased (e.g. 1.9 to 2.1g per kg body weight). It could be shown (Mettler et al. 2010) that, through a higher protein intake during weight loss, a higher share of the muscle mass is retained. However, the protein intake should be apportioned during the day, in order for the body to always be provided with enough proteins for the forming and reparation of muscle mass. For this reason, it is sensible to talk with a specialist about how to adapt your nutrition to your training.

Very important for sports people is also the timing of the energy intake. Especially for intense sessions, carbohydrates are important in order to achieve an optimal training intensity and qualitiy. Further, the nutrition intake after training is very important for optimal recovery until the next session. It is recommended to never leave out a meal (Manore, 2015), but to adapt the amount and the composition of your food – especially the share of carbohydrates – to your training. You should also be careful to eat enough vegetables and fruit (at least 5 portions a day), so that you reach the recommended amoung of micro nutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals) per day and that you avoid deficiency symptoms.

Practicle tips:

  • Avoid reductions of energy intake of more than 500 to 700 kcal per day
  • Be aware of a sufficient supply of proteins (at least 1.4 to 1.7g per kg of body weight)
  • Adapt your nutrition to specific trainings (duration, scope, intensity, goal of the training)
  • Eat enough carbohydrates before trainings which have the goal to achieve an especially high quality or intensity (e.g. intervals, HIIT, competitions, etc.)
  • Don’t aim for too high weight reductions without a shor time frame (< 5kg in 12 weeks)
  • Be aware of a healthy and balanced nutrition
  • For athletes with high ambitions, it is recommendable to talk about the adaptation of nutrition to training with a specialist in sports nutrition

At the third annual meeting of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society , the topic of weight reduction in sports will be treated more closely. Further, a lot of interesting topics within sports nutrition will be discussed by renowned presenters from within and outside Switzerland.


This blog entry was written by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works at the sports medical centre in Nottwil and coaches athletes of all levels in terms of sports and nutrition. At the same time, she conducts studies in the area of sports nutrition and is the manager of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. As a former middle distance runner she has been able to collect countless medals at Swiss championships. Today, she focuses on longer distances.





Nutrition tips for marathons


Those who have finished a marathon know the overwhealming emotions you get once you’ve crossed the finish line. However, in order for this to happen, the right nutrition is crucial and it helps you to run the 42.195km without cramps and without hitting the wall. 

The most important limited energy source for a marathon runner are carbs. Especially during the last quarter of the distance they begin to vanish. Thus, if you don’t refill carbs on the way, you will hit the notorious wall after km number 30.

Many runners are nervous before a marathon. This has an effect on the nutrient intake by the intestine. Therefore, it is important to eat easily digestible foods like white bread with honey or a fast digestible müesli on the day of the marathon. Professionals often drint regenerationdrinks Isostar Reload After Sport. This provides you with fast accessible Energy without putting stress to your intestine.

Approximately one hour before start you can even fill your carbohydrate and minaral savings via an isotonic drink such as, for example, Isostar Hydrate & Perform. Small sips until right before the competition provide your body with both nutrients and water, both of which you will need during the race.

Your tactics for during the race should be: Never miss a refreshment station, even if they might be crowded with other runners. This is the best way to prevent cramps and it helps you to avoid hitting this famous wall. It is further imporant that you test the drinks, bars (e.g. Isostar Endurance + bar) or gels (e.g. Isostar Energy Booster or Isostar Actifood) in your training prior to the competition. Not everyone tolerates a given supplement. Solids are generally tolerated less during running because of the percussions on the intestine. Here, too, it is recommended to test things beforehand.

After a marathon is before a marathon. Although you might not aim for a next goal right away, be aware that, the days after the event, your body has a lot of recovery work to do. Regeneration should thus be the main focus. You will be likely to feel like eating sweets more than you would normally. Try to eat more fruits during this time and to also compensate for the increased need of proteins. Here, delicous protein concentrates like Isostar Reload After Sport might help you to cover these cravings without having to eat a lot of chocolate or other sweets.

Those who provide their body with the energy it needs can reach their goals more easily. We hope that these nutrition tips will help you to reach your goal and to be able to live the emotions mentioned at the beginning.


Nutrition tips for the last 3 days before the marathon:

The estimated need of carbohydrates during these three days are around 8 to 10 g per body weight per day. That is, a person weighin 75kg should consume 750 g of carbs per day. This is a lot! However, it is important in order to optimise the energy savings and to lay the basis for your body to be able to perform at its very best for 3 to 5 hours.


  • 200 ml of fruit juice
  • 1 yogurt
  • 50 g of müesli
  • 5 slices of bred
  • 1 pear or 100 g of grapes
  • 1 fruit compote (100 g)


  • 1 big plate of pasta (300 g) or rice (260 g, cooked)
  • or semolina or some other grain (330 g, cooked)
  • potatoe salad (1 bowl)
  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 fruit or 1 pudding
  • 1 cup of milk + Isostar Endurance + bar 
  • 1 banana or some other fruit


  • 1 big plate of rice (or pasta or potatoes)
  • 1 salad
  • 2 mushroom crêpes
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 yogurt
  • 1 compote or 1 fruit

And the little extra for during the day: The drink Isostar Hydrate & Perform – adapt the amount to the size of the meals. An optimal supplier of liquid is Isostar Endurance + Sport Drink. Liquid is important for a successful uptake of the carbohydrates.


This blog entry was provided by Isostar. If you want to read more about Isostar and their products and services, click here


Caffeine in sports: (how) does it enhance your performance?


Apart from liquid, a lot of sports people consume caffeine during competitions. But can caffeine really enhance our performance? This article by the Swiss magazine Fit for Life provides some answers to this question. 

Caffeine has been a controversially discussed substance for years. Only 15 years ago, caffeine was still categorised as doping. In the mean time, restrictions for the consumtion of caffeine have been abolished. Amongst other reasons, because caffaine, being one of the oldest medicinal product and stimulant, is so popular in society in the form of coffee, chocolate or tea. This is what you should consider when it comes to the consumption of caffeine:

The effect of caffeine

Undeniably, caffeine has a performance-enhancing effect for many people. Caffeine increases attention, it lightens up the mood and it reduces tiredness. In addition to the stimulation of the nervous system, caffeine also improves our fat metabolism and it enhances the energy supply in our body. Since the effect of caffeine in given foods might be dependent on other ingredients and since the exact amount of caffeine can not be determined exactly, scientific studies generally use pure caffeine in their experiments.

Picture: Unsplash

The ideal amount

An increase in performance is likely already at an amount of 1-6 mg of caffaine per kg of body weight. However, as from 3 mg/kg, a plateau effect can be observed, where the effect stagnates significantly. Amounts over 6mg/kg often lead to stress-like symptoms such as trembling, restlessness, irregular heart rate, palpitation and a headache. Sleeping disorders are another frequently observed consequence. Furthermore, during competitions, an “overdose” of caffeine can strain our gastrointestinal tract.

Picture: Unsplash

«Peak» after one hour

The reviving effect of caffeine is only felt as from roughly half an hour after its consumption. The maximum effect kicks in after about one hour, while it begins to decrease again after 2 to 3 hours.

Different kinds of caffeine

The coffeine which is contained in a lot of gels stems from the Guarana berry, in an espresso, it comes from the coffee bean, in chocolate, its from the cocoa bean. Further sources of caffeine are the kola nut (Coca-Cola), the mate leaves or tea plants. Which kind of caffeine has wich effect has not been treated closely in research yet and the question is further complicated by the fact that other ingredients have an influence on the effect of caffeine. Furthermore, the reactions to caffeine are highly individual.

Reduced effect for coffee lovers

Those who consume a lot of coffee on a reqular basis profit less from its performance-enhancing effect. As a consequence, some sports people stop drinking coffee a couple of weeks or months before a competition, in order to be able to profit from the effect of espresso or Coca-Cola again on competition day.

Picture: Swiss image

Avoid carbonic acid

As a source of caffeine during competitions, people don’t normally drink Coca-Cola ice cold and with sparkles, as it is done normally, but tepid and without sparkles. The reason: carbonic acid causes belching and cold drinks strain the gastrointestinal tract.

Caffeine pills

You can even take in caffeine via pills. A pill contains 40 mg of caffeine. 22 pills can be purchased for CHF 11.50 at the pharmacy.


Children below the age of 12 are not recommended to consume caffeine. According to Swiss food regulations, special drinks containing caffeine (e.g. energy drinks) are not allowed to exceed 32 mg per 100 ml.

Test beforehand!

As with all supplements, the following applies for caffeine: you should really test different products beforehand. Test for yourself and try to find out which amount of caffeine provides you with the desired kick and in which moment!



This blog entry by Andreas Gonseth was provided by Fit for LifeFit for Life is the Swiss magazine for fitness, running and endurance sports. Would you like to read such articles on a regular basis? Then click here. (unfortunately, this page is not available in English)


Regeneration: do we really need recovery shakes?


Different sports may require different qualities, be it strength, speed or endurance. However, one thing is the same for all of them: the need to refuel the body with the right nutrients at the right time after exercise in order to provide it with the preconditions for an optimal regeneration process.

In this article, sports and nutrition scientist Joëlle Flück explains which measures can be taken in order to recover from trainings or competitions as fast as possible.


Proteins are the most important nutrients for our muscles. Consequently, sufficient supply of protein is crucial in the muscle building phase. However, also for regeneration after high intensity training or competitions, as well as for the healing of injuries, adequate supply of proteins is a necessity in order for our body to heal the damage that has been done to our muscles and to prepare itself for future stress. According to sports science literature, the estimates for the total daily need of protein are 1.2 to 2.0 g per kg of body weight per day. The protein sources taken in during the day should be of hight quality. Some of these protein sources are contained in dairy products, meat, soy products or eggs. Less explored up to this point are plant-based sources of protein. In order to support muscle protein synthesis optimally, to accelerate the regeneration of the muscles and to make our body adapt to the new stress, amounts of 15 to 25 g of protein within the first two hours after an intense training (e.g. strength training, intervals, etc.) or a competition are ideal. The current tendency is that dairy products should be preferred over other protein sources.


Carbohydrates, as well as fatty acids, can be considered to be the fuel for our performances. If our storage (especially the carbohydrate storage) is not sufficiently filled before training or competitions, wer are not able to perform at our very best. Maximal and sub-maximal endurance performances are especially dependent on our carbohydrate storage (glycogen storage). After very long-lasting or very intense sessions, this storage is usually empty. Therefore, for optimal regeneration, carbohydrates are necessary to refill the storage and to prepare the body for the following challenges. However, the amount of carbohydrates needed for refilling the storages depends on the nature, the duration and the intensity of a session.

Liquid and salt

Depending on the kind of training and on the surroundings in which it takes place, our body loses more or less liquid and salt. In case it is not possible to take in enough liquid during a session or a competition, the result is a fluid deficiency, which needs to be solved afterwards, in order to keep your body balanced. You can calculate the extent of this deficiency here. In order to accelerate the regeneration process, it is important to solve this deficiency as soon as possible and to drink enough water after the session.

Point of time

Regeneration measures kan be taken immediately after training or competitions. Most of the times it is easier to take in the required nutrients via fluid rather than solid food. Especially during intense or long-lasting sessions, your gastrointestinal tract is impaired and it is recommendable to wait a moment before you eat solid food. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take in both nutrients and fluid within the first one to two hours after excercise. This applies especially if high muscle protein synthesis or fast regeneration (after competitions or high-intensity sessions) are of primary concern. However, if you only train 3-4 times a week, the time between the individual sessions is usually long enough for your carbohydrate storage to be refilled appropriately.


You may ask yourself now what kind of food is adequate for a fast and smooth regeneration process. Possibilities are manifold, depending on individual needs and preferences. A simple chocolate milk works just as well as an industrually produced recovery drink. Both provide you with the proteins, carbohydrates and fluid needed in orderd to accelerate the regeneration process. However, if you don’t have any problems with your gastrointestinal tract after sessions and if your appetite is big enough, you can also start with solid food right away and complement that with sufficient amounts of fluid. A sandwich with cheese or dried meat, for example, is an excellent regeneration measure.

In conclusion, it can be mentioned that, depending on nature and goal of a training, some people might feel that a recovery drink is necessary, but that this does not apply equally for everybody. In case you prefer to go for a recovery drink, individual limitations (e.g. problems with the gastrointestinal tract, lacking appetite, allergies and intolerancies) or preferences (e.g. taste, fluid or thick) should be taken into account.



This blog entry was written by sports and nutrition scientist Dr. sc. nat. Joëlle Flück. She works at the sports medical centre in Nottwil and supports athletes of all levels in sports and nutrition. In addition, she also conducts herself studies in sports nutrition  and she is the vice president of the Swiss Sports Nutrition Society. Being a fromer middle distance runner, she has won inumerous medals in Swiss championships. Today, Joëlle focuses on longer distances.

Six winter boosters for runners


They are everywhere, the viruses. Especially during the cold time of the year. Unfortunately, this is the time when us humans are the most prone to illnesses. All the colds and the flus can mess up our running plans. The strategy to go for is: prevention. Natural health boosters, which can easily be integrated in our daily nutrition, are valuable helpers. We are going to present to you six boosters, complemented by simple ideas for recipes.