It’s no secret that Gul Panag is a fitness freak. This doesn’t just mean that she trains and runs a lot. This means that Gul considers fitness as a part of her lifestyle, rather than just something to do to look good. And when you decide to take up fitness or running as part of your daily schedule, be rest assured that your eating habits come into play as well. You won’t encounter any runners who dive into French fries or double cheeseburgers with regularity. We all know that running after a heavy meal is punishment.
We spoke to Gul about what her priorities are when it comes to eating and the first thing she said was, “Water.”
As a runner you lose a lot of water and salt during your runs, and what people don’t realize is that dehydration can cause nasty headaches that won’t leave you for hours. Gul learnt this this the hard way. “I noticed that on days that I didn’t hydrate enough, I’d get a persistent, nagging headache, either right after the run or a few hours later. It’s only after a while that I connected this to not having hydrated enough. I cannot stress enough on the importance of drinking water, yet at the same time, I need runners to understand that there is harm in drinking too much water as well.”
“It is a fine balance, and you need to realize what that balance is for you”, says Gul, adding “Drinking too much water dilutes the salts in your body, which has the same effect as losing those salts by not drinking enough water”.
Gul also makes sure she has a high protein breakfast especially on days that she’s running/training. 4-6 egg whites 30 minutes before a run give her all the energy she needs. All through the day, Gul is aware of her calorific limit, so she isn’t particular about omitting any foods but makes sure that whatever she eats remains within her diet. An easy way of finding out the right intake of calories is to take your weight (in kg) and multiply it by 24. That is the number of calories you need to consumer to keep your weight steady. Seems easier than most other diet guidelines!
Gul re-iterates her stance on water and mentions that if you are running more than 10k in a go, you need to make sure you drink water or energy drinks (like Gatorade) in bits, rather than one go since that can overload your digestion.
This is great advice coming from our favorite serial marathon runner!