February 2009 Nutrition Chat with Coach Marni Rakes

author : mrakes1
comments : 0

Discussions on an eating plan to lose weight, lean protein sources, being hungry, recovery foods, eggs and Marni's favorite supplements.

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[PintoRacer] I am trying to put together a eating plan.

[mrakes1] For weight loss, performance, both or for a specific race?

[PintoRacer] I am trying to reduce my body fat primarily but also to perform better.  I am 5'1" and 177# male and old.

[mrakes1] Be sure you are sticking with lean, low fat protein at all meals and snacks. Try to reduce your calories at each meal to 400-500 calories and snacks (3-5 a day) around 150-200 calories. This is just a start, but if you can start eating more consciously and recognizing what you are eating and why you are eating it, you will find yourself sticking to a lifestyle of healthy eating. In general, more lean, low fat protein in the diet will absolutely help you with your blood sugar and to repair tissues

[PintoRacer] Do you consider tuna, chicken and salmon to be lean protein?


[mrakes1] Those are great sources of protein. Cottage cheese, veggie burgers, yogurt, skim/soy milk, nuts, PB, beans, chickpeas, tofu...also good choices of protein.

[PintoRacer] The problem is I am always hungry. Like so many others I suppose.


[mrakes1] Eat more complete meals to help you with your hunger. Be sure you have balanced meals of protein, complex carbs and a little fat with each of your meals.

[PintoRacer] Are the fats in seed and nuts good fats to eat?


[mrakes1] Yes, nuts are great. High in calories but still a good fat. Great to snack on 5-10 nuts before a meal or adding seeds to salads.

[TriAya] I get most of my protein from low/non fat dairy, is that a problem?

[mrakes1] That is great! That is just what we were talking about. Low fat and lean protein (such as dairy) is a must in the diet of athletes.  Especially with meals and snacks...in addition to post workout.

[PintoRacer] What about red meats? We are trying to get away from beef and started using Buffalo.

[mrakes1] It is good to reduce your red meat intake to once a week, as low as possible. Stick to lean meats and even vegetarian products.

[Socks] What is your opinion regarding recovery food? I'd rather eat a turkey on whole wheat sandwich than drink some manufactured drink.

[mrakes1] I recommend whey protein post exercise w/ milk or water. You want a liquid complete protein, rather than something solid that has to be digested. I would focus more on the liquid protein, such as milk, whey or yogurt first (around 100-200 calories, depending on the length of the workout) to repair damaged tissues. Then have the sandwich to refuel.  I am not for all the pre-mixed post workout recovery drinks because they are often high in sugar and carbs. What your body requires is something high in protein and low in calories to ensure that you are getting essential amino acids that will go right to the tissues for immediate repair. If you can repair quickly you will get stronger from the workout. After recovery drinks/snack, it will be time to refuel with real food.

[Socks] I have a pretty iron stomach...I just feel like I am wasting calories....I am trying to lose weight and I know recovery is important but a drink is NOT going to fill me up and I feel better if I eat something solid.

[mrakes1] The drink is not for "filling" purposes. The protein is there to repair. Because we all require solid food in a meal after a workout, it is wise to get your complete protein first and then have your meal.

[Socks] I have used those 60 calorie yogurt drinks

[mrakes1] Just around 100 calories for 23g of complete protein in whey protein. Then you can have a 400-500 calorie meal after the drink. You can even make a smoothie with the whey protein and then have the sandwich, but it is most important that you get something quickly into your stomach. The sandwich takes time to digest and it is broken down several times before it gets into the blood and then to the tissues. Yogurt is great after the shorter workouts (around 30-45 min). But whey protein or at least milk, is recommended for workouts 60+ min. You won't waste calories or gain weight because athletes need to recover after putting in the hard work in the gym. If you can't quickly repair, you won't get stronger.

[Socks] Milk is not going to happen for me but the whey might work.

[mrakes1] Most of the time, athletes gain weight because they eat too much after a meal because of feeling so hungry. Therefore, the post workout protein snack will also help with preventing overeating at meals.

[Socks] In general I try to eat real food over manufactured stuff when possible.

[mrakes1] That is great. Real food is a must as often as possible. Egg whites would also be a good suggestion after the workout.


[PintoRacer] How about eggs in general? I eat 2 boiled eggs with breakfast 3-5 times a week.

[mrakes1] Eggs are great but especially with the red meat in your diet, you want to watch the cholesterol. Try to start with 1/2 yolk and 2 egg whites and gradual get yourself to egg whites + 1 egg yolk every other day.  Egg yolks are filled with great nutrients but you do need to watch your cholesterol intake with them.  1 yolk with 2 whites would be fine 3 days a week.

[Socks] I am 42 female and want to lose about 15 pounds, I've been trying to stick to a 1200-1500 cal a day diet I am training 8-10 hours a week and have a physical job. I have had one personal trainer say I am not eating enough and another say I won't lose weight until I drop down to 800 cal a day...opinion.

[mrakes1] I recommend not going down below 1800 calories. Start spreading out your calories to 400-500 calories per meal and 100-200 calories per snack (3-5 snacks per day).  Add 100-200 calories for EVERY hour of training a day.

[Socks] I usually up the intake Friday-Saturday because I train longer Saturday-Sunday.

[mrakes1] So, if you stick to 1800 calories and workout for 2 hours on a Saturday, add 100-200 calories to your daily intake (1900-2000 calories that day). However, add those calories to post workout snacks and mini snacks during the day. DO NOT add those extra calories to your meals because you want to make sure that your body burns some of the calories you expended during the workout. If you can stick to a range of calories every day (ex. 1600-1800 at the minimum for a female) and then add in those training calories, you will never find yourself overeating one day and then not eating much another day. It is all about focusing on your workouts first and then planning your eating around those workouts.

[IronGuinness] What your opinion of Met-Rx bars?

[mrakes1] I recommend bars for workouts longer than 2 1/2 hours. However, bars during the days are not recommended on a daily basis. Though it is 'ok' f a bar is consumed for training, blood sugar dropping, traveling, no "healthy" food around, etc. I recommend less than 220 calories, no icy coating around the entire bar and be sure to read the ingredients to find the least amount of sugar alcohols and additives. I recommend a maltodextrin rich drink for sport drinks. My first recommendation is Hammer. Sport drinks are recommend for workouts longer than 60 min.

[IronGuinness] And for beer - stout or pilsners, lager ???

[mrakes1] 1-2 beers a week or 3-4 4 oz. glasses of wine per week. Nothing wrong with that.

[TriAya] Any tips on how to pick out decent, sweet fruit? Is organic usually any better? I try the farmer's market, that's usually better, but not always.

[mrakes1] As far as organic, it would be great to choose all fruit and veggies (with an outside that you eat, ex. pear versus orange) but it is a big cost commitment. However, I am in love with farmers markets or anywhere that a place gets their fruit and veggies locally. However, just buy what is in season. Sometimes you can just go with frozen or low sugar fruit in the can. It is all about variety and balance and when fruit is in season and cheap...buy it!

[PintoRacer] Any opinion on supplements...1 a day vitamins, Glucosamine, stuff like that?

[mrakes1] Here's my list of supplements:

  • Whey protein (1 scoop, 100-120 calories)

  • Fish oil 2/day (1 morning, 1 night) or if you eat fish often, 1 fish oil a day.

  • Glutamine or glucosamine 1 time a day (glutamine can be bought in Walmart and in powder form, easy to mix with water).

  • Multivitamin 1 a day

[PintoRacer] What does glutamine do?

[mrakes1] Glutamine is an amino acid and helps with brain health and tissue repair and to help with inflammation.

[IronGuinness] I use a lot of Hammer supplements. What do u think of Xobaline, and Boron along with the PIC caps ?

[mrakes1] Hammer products are great. They have great research with their products.


[mrakes1] The purpose of supplements is to supplement what you can't get in the diet. For example, if you exercise a lot (train) you need to up your protein intake. Often, you don't necessarily need to add a lot more calories...just protein. Therefore, supplementing with whey protein is necessary. Or for a vegetarian, supplements are necessary for what is lacking in the diet. So, think about why you take the supplement and you can't get the nutrients from your diet.

[Socks] Any suggestions to fight evening hungries...like right now. I'm always hungry in the evening.....

[mrakes1] As far as feeling hungry, first drink water. Then, choose a high fiber fruit or protein (cottage cheese is great in the evening) or you can choose a low fat yogurt/pudding. However, be sure you are getting balanced and complete meals during the day and stick with 150-200 calories post-dinner.

[kimk] So if I eat cottage cheese every day should I still use a supplement?

[mrakes1] Cottage cheese is a great protein for the diet so I would include it in your diet, in addition to whey protein powder. Cottage cheese is high in sodium and you always want to choose the low fat. But it is still a great snack.


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date: March 5, 2009


Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!


Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. I am a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition,I teach spinning and I am CPR certified. I have finished the 2006 Boston marathon, 2006 IMFL, 2007 Ironman world Championship and I am qualified for the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. I write for Triathlete magazine and I love writing for BT.com!

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