The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Coaches corner: The benefits of eating healthy and nutritious




This is the second week in a short series of stories with tips and advice from coaches around the Goldendale area. This week's topic is the benefits of having a healthy and nutritious diet with information and advice from first-year Goldendale head cross country and assistant track and field coach Juli Rising.

Rising has been around the block before stepping to the help of the Goldendale High School cross country team and leading the boys squad to a No. 10 finish at the state meet in November in Pasco.

She competed in basketball, cross country and track at Stuttgart American High School from 1985-89, a Class 3A school in Germany before a very successful collegiate career. She racked up All-American honors in cross country as well as in multiple events in track at Western State College, an NAIA school in Gunnison, Colorado, before finishing up her career at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Among her many honors was an NAIA team National Championship while running for Western State in 1990.

She graduated from George Fox with a bachelor's degree in health and human performance/athletic training while earning the achievement award in that major.

Growing up "peddling throughout (her parent's) garden pulling out carrots, broccoli and baby watermelons and snacking on them right there," Rising knows firsthand how important a nutritious and healthy diet is for athletes in training.

"Eating healthy and getting adequate sleep are huge factors to athletes in any sport," Rising stated in an email to The Sentinel.

We all know about the food pyramid, a representation of the optimal number of servings one should eat from each of the basic food groups. Rising recommends her own version of the pyramid in which around 60 percent of the caloric intake is carbohydrates, 15-20 percent is protein and 20-25 percent is low saturated and low cholesterol fats.

Rising outlines that for quick and long lasting energy, our bodies work more efficiently with carbs than protein or fats. Good sources of carbs she recommends are whole grain breads, green leafy vegetables, steamed or boiled rice, fruits, potatoes and whole grained pastas.

Proteins, she explained, are used to repair tissue damage and provide some energy during training while they also keep you feeling full longer. Some of the protein options Rising gave me were lean meats, fish, beans, low-fat dairy products, poultry, soy and nuts.

Making up the final 20-25 percent of Rising's balanced diet for healthy athletes is fats. Sticking to fats low in cholesterol and saturated fats is recommended, and a few options are nuts, oils, milk and cheese. Different fats have different benefits, some providing omega-3 fatty acids while others provide many of the body's organs and tissues with most of their energy.

Rising said some of her runners struggle with how much to eat and when to eat before competitions. She recommends eating four hours before an event and also tells her athletes to experiment a little and find out what combinations and options work best for them, but foods with a lot of carbs and foods that are easily digestible are suggested.

As assistant track coach, she recalled an athlete in the past who usually cramped up while running his leg of the 4x400 relay. However, after the runner ate a healthy, coach approved meal before the race, he completed his leg of the relay without cramping, and credited the healthy meal as the reason he didn't cramp that time.

She also said she finds it more beneficial if athletes eat more frequently than the three traditional meals a day. She encourages them to eat something healthy soon after practice, while eating healthy snacks throughout the day, including plenty of water.

"A healthy nutritious diet is not vital to just athletes, it will add quantity and quality of life for all of us," Rising stated in the email.


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