Run Lean Run Fast

June 25, 2020

Run Lean Run Fast

Body composition is important for a runner. High body fat and low lean muscle could result in slow, sluggish running, however low body fat may result in injury, illness and muscle breakdown.

In this episode we’re talking dietary and training approaches to attaining optimal body composition, and also identifying factors influencing the ability to achieve an “ideal body composition”.

LISTEN HERE Episode 12: Run Lean Run Fast



How genetics play a part in an individual’s body composition.


We speak about energy in versus energy out, and does it need to be in a negative balance for weight loss to occur.


Understanding the importance of food quality and nutrient density of foods we eat to encourage changes in eating patterns and food choices we make.


Reviewing the female factors linked to optimal body composition eg. REDs, female focus on an ideal body weight and menopausal weight gain.


We review nutritional approaches to losing body fat and gaining lean muscle.


Challenges people face when trying to achieve ideal body composition e.g. resistance weight loss, peri-menopause and menopause, yoyo dieting, low metabolic rate, imbalance of female hormones, over/undereating, toxic load.


Benefits of ideal body composition for a runner e.g. speedy recovery, lighter and faster running and increased energy.


Moving on to the risks of suboptimal body composition e.g. sluggish running, muscle wasting and increased risk of injury/illness.


  • Menopause is known to slow RMR as a result of reduced oestrogen levels so could affect energy balance and lead to weight gain.
  • Menopause also leads to some weight gain because fat cells are known to be one of the principle Sources of oestrogen production following cessation via the reproductive system.
  • The adrenal glands are the other principle source of oestrogen production in menopause. Adrenals glands produce stress hormones in response to stressors – endurance running is a stressor. If there is a high demand for stress hormones then this may take priority over female sex hormone production.
  • Females tend to be more conscious of their weight than men.
  • Females are greater risk of REDs and the symptoms/conditions accompanying it.
  • Managing your expectations regarding body composition is key for women (but also men) in middle/old age.


  • Body composition is important for running performance
  • Be mindful of what you are striving for in body composition – is it realistic and healthy?
  • A combination of a nutrition plan and exercise (mix of resistance and cardiovascular) is important to achieve appropriate body composition
  • A general approach to macro nutrient composition would be healthy fat intake, optimal protein and strategic use of carbohydrates in line with training
  • Remember to assess the benefits and risks to balance your health with your running goals
  • Personalised plan to nutrition is always best

Related Episodes:

Sports Nutrition Foundations for Female Runners

Macronutrients to Help Runners go Faster and Longer

Nutrition Basics for ALL Runners


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

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