Health and Nutrition FAQ with Robert Reames

The following questions were presented to Robert Reames by the children in the Mary Daly running club. Robert answered them, and we have recorded them for others to see. Please note: All information and answers are given for educational purposes only. Individual needs may vary. Always consult with your physician before starting or changing any fitness programs or activities.

Question: Nevaeh wants to know if kids can eat more calories in a day than grown ups and how many calories should she eat if she is only 7?
RR: Relatively speaking, calories per pound of body weight, kids can eat more calories than grown ups. But overall, grown ups need more total calories. So the answer is no, you don't need to eat as many total calories as your teachers, parents or grown ups. There are guidelines from the dietary reference intakes (dri) that show general recommendations for people of all ages on many aspects of nutrition. The estimated energy requirements (eer) for girls ages 4-8 years is 1642 calories per day and you want to make sure that you get a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats every single day.

Question: Lili wants to know some things she can do while she is walking/running so she can stay motivated not to quit.
RR: Every day that you run, walk, play or anything that you try, think about achieving your "personal best" on that given day and event. And know that for whatever reason, your best will change everyday. Some days feel awesome and some may not be as good. It's that way with everybody. Even star athlete's that you admire and look up to have their good days and not so good days. Before you quit, ask yourself, ďHave I done my best today?Ē If you have, thatís great. If not, try to "achieve your personal best." And remember this is your best, not someone else's. As long as you give your best, in anything in life, you'll succeed and should be proud of the day's work.

Question: Cadence wants to know if you ever eat any sugar or things that have sugar?
RR: Yes. I eat plenty of fresh fruits. I don't really consume any processed or refined sugar foods. I eat for the most part, foods in their natural state, such as whole fresh foods.

Question: Christian wants to know what your favorite kind of fruit is?
RR: Raspberries and kiwi

Question: Hannah wants to know the best kind of shoes for running. She said there are lots of different kinds to pick from.
RR: For running, you want "running shoes" designed for running. These shoes will be built thicker and more sturdy in the heel part of the shoe. The reason for this is, when you run, for each step you take your heel hits the ground first and absorbs the majority of the impact of each step.

Question: Cassidy wants to know if Robert is your real name.
RR: Yes, itís the same as it was when I went to Daly.

Question: Alexis likes steak and she wants to know if she can eat it or if it has too much fat in it.
RR: Steak is not a bad thing, in moderation. You want to go with steaks or any meat choice that has the lowest amount of saturated fats. If possible, go for grass fed beef and steaks.

Question: Char'nie wants to know if you are smarter than a 5th grader?
RR: Probably not.

Question: Sarah wants to know if it is easier to run on your tippy toes?
RR: No, you actually want to step "heel to toe." You'll run faster, better, and it will be much more comfortable this way.

Question: Brianna wants to know how long it takes you to run a mile.
RR: I haven't run a straight mile in a while. I do mostly biking, playing basketball and running stadium or bleacher stairs. I also lift weights. I'll get back to you on that one.

Question: Lily wants to know how long it took you to get "unfat".
RR: All my life. Every day I have to continue to follow through with the choices that will keep me at my optimum or best weight, level of health, and feeling my best. That's my lifestyle.

Question: Nevaeh wants to know what is your favorite sport to play?
RR: Definitely basketball.

Question: Jyllian wants to know some things she can do besides running or walking at recess to help her get healthy.
RR: Jump rope, play hopscotch, play with hoola hoops, do jumping jacks, have sprint races with your friends, organize a game of kickball, basketball, soccer or softball. All in all, just keep on moving!

Question: Ashley wants to know what kind of clothes to wear when she runs. Do you have to wear shorts?
RR: No. You can wear most anything except for dress up clothes and shoes. Always wear something that you are comfortable to move around, run, jump and play in.

Question: Mason wants to know how fast his heart should beat when he runs.
RR: Mason, Iíd have to work with you myself in person to give you a real accurate answer to this. It's a great question. Generally you want to challenge yourself to your personal best on any given day. During your exercise, you want to be able to still speak a full sentence. If you try to speak a sentence, and can only get a word or two out, you're working too hard and need to slow down a bit.

Question: Hannah wants to know how many calories she burns for each mile she runs. Is it a lot less if she walks?
Robert Reames: To determine calories burned in a given exercise depends on many factors including the actual activity, the intensity or level, the duration, a person's current fitness level and current weight just to name a few. So say Hannah weighs approx. 100 lbs. She can burn around 100-125 calories running per mile. If she walks a mile.... the count would be roughly 60-70 cals per mile.

Question: Several of the kids are having trouble with side aches after they have been running for a bit. They want to know what causes it and what they should do.
RR: Side aches will generally fade as you continue to get into better condition. Your body simply gets into better condition..... and you're able to do more with less effort. One cause according to docs is the pain is related to visceral structures (ligaments) that hold abdominal organs in place. These structures over time become more conditioned to exercise.... so the aches fade away. Another very common cause is exercising to soon after a meal and or excessive consumption of high sugar and or high electrolyte drinks. The exercise and movement is competing with your digestive system and side aches can be the result. So make sure you finish your pre-workout meal at least an hour before exercise.

Question: Jyllian wants to know about drinking water while she is running. Should she drink it before, during and/or after she runs.
RR: Yes... drink water before during and after exercise. Our bodies need the fluids... and you will perform better as a result.

Question: Several of the boys asked me to find out the best meal to eat before a race.
RR: On race day go for a nutritious, low sugar bowl of cereal with nonfat milk and or a nice piece of whole grain toast with some fresh fruit. Both starchy and nonstarchy carbohydrates are your energy foods. The carbohydrates will give you the energy.... the "fuel" that you need for peak performance. Then your post workout meal (best within one hour of exercise) should contain a good source of complete protein as well as the carbohydrate source. Overall.... Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for every meal!

Question: Mr. Myers wants to know a good workout schedule/meal plan for the week prior to the race. Should he be doing anything different?
RR: Always make optimum nutritional choices, overall when in training for a special event or training to be in optimum condition for life. A couple of general nutritional bullets:
  • Have a good complete source of protein at each meal.
  • Don't skip meals; enjoy 3 major meals and 2 healthy snacks daily.
  • Get you carbohydrates in at each major meal. This is your key energy source. Enjoy both starchy and nonstarchy carbs. Make natural whole food choices, and stay clear of refined and processed foods. Whole, balanced meals will keep blood sugar levels balanced and keep you at peak performance levels always. Get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You want the most outstanding fuel in your system at all times.
As far as training, the foundation has been built up to now for peak endurance/stamina levels. So for the week of training work on short duration, high intensity intervals. Your ability to "sprint" or be at your highest speeds throughout the course and especially at the end will be a key in your quest to win this event or perform at your personal best times. So work on short bursts of peak level sprints within your training; you don't need to over train during leading up to days before the event, especially for the 5k. You know at this point that you can both meet and exceed the challenge. Get your rest, stay active, but not over active, and mentally prepare to achieve your personal best.

Question: Mrs. Herr is discouraged because she is running 4-5 times per week and isn't losing weight; in fact she is gaining a pound some weeks. What are your suggestions so she doesn't lose her motivation to keep going?
RR: When on the quest to lose weight and control it for a lifetime, running is only one portion of the process. I'd need more info here, but you have to look at daily nutritional choices, overall sleep both nightly amount and hours going to bed and awakening, as well as overall stress management. I talk a great deal about the big four:
  • smart, time efficient exercise
  • smart whole nutrition. Every meal, every choice counts.
  • proper rest
  • stress management.
* If you can make the best of each one of these aspects of life, you can be at peak levels and ultimately control your weight for a lifetime. If one of these is off, then you're simply not running at optimum levels and your weight can be affected. Mrs. Herr, never give up your quest for weight loss and optimum health. It's a total lifestyle; every workout, every meal, every good night's sleep - ultimately every choice brings you closer to your goals and beyond!

Robert Reames

Nationally acclaimed fitness
trainer and Mary L. Daly
graduate Robert Reames