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Interview with sports nutritionist Marie Spano
About Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS:
Marie Spano is one of the country¹s top sports nutritionists and a nutrition communications expert. She combines science with practical experience to help Olympic, professional and recreational athletes implement a nutrition game plan that will maximize their athletic performance. Marie also works with leading food, beverage and supplement companies on their PR and communications strategies. She has appeared on NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS affiliates on the east coast, written hundreds of magazine articles, trade publication articles, book chapters, e-zines and marketing materials. Ms. Spano holds an MS in Nutrition from the University of Georgia where she worked as a graduate assistant in the athletic department and a BS degree is in Exercise and Sports Science from UNC, Greensboro, NC where she ran Division 1 cross country.
1) What’s the importance of the post workout meal regardless of your fitness goals?
There are several reasons the post workout meal is so important. First, if you workout hard enough and you aren’t consuming carbohydrate continuously while training, you are dipping into your muscle glycogen stores. Over time, your endurance performance will suffer as your glycogen levels drop. It’s like the fuel in your gas tank – you can’t drive from NY to DC on ¼ tank. Also, taking in protein post-workout will help build and repair muscle tissue. Skip post-workout meals and you won’t be getting the most from your workouts!
2) What are some tricks a busy person can do to be sure they get their post workout meal in each time?
I love protein shakes because they are portable. I keep packets and shaker bottles in my car and a few Muscle Milk RTDs. Other portable snacks work too – nutrition bars, fruit, a bagel.
3) What are your top 3 nutrition tips for the fitness enthusiast training hard to burn fat.
Don’t consume any calories within 2 hours prior to working out or while working out (no sports drinks etc.)
Keep a food journal – most people have no clue what they eat until they write it down.
Cut out all simple carbohydrates except post-workout (no whites – bread, flour, sugar etc., if it has sugar in it, don’t eat it unless it is a natural source – milk, Greek yogurt, vegetables, some fruit)
4) What are some of the best foods you recommend to keep in one’s diet for energy to make it to the gym after the work day?
I’ve found that some people cut their fat intake way to low and women often eat too little protein. I advocate small meals throughout the day and at least 20 grams of protein at each main meal. And, I think most people (unless they are very active) need to watch how much carbohydrate they consume at each meal and snack. Small dietary changes add up!
5) What are among the biggest nutritional mistakes people make when wanting to burn fat?
• Some women cut their calorie intake down too much for too long (a month or more for instance)
• Insufficient protein intake
• They cut back way to far on fat and end up hungry all the time – we need those good fats in our diet (fatty fish, nuts, seeds, oils)
• #1 – they drink too much alcohol!
Top Rising Star in Personal Training
-National Fitness Hall of Fame and Museum
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