The Best Diet for Your Specific Fitness Goals

In this instance it's best to choose snacks high in easily digestible carbs that will energize you without weighing you down, like watermelon drizzled with honey, a handful of low-fiber cereal or pretzels and some sports drink. Our weight-loss meal plan demonstrates how you can shave calories from your diet while still loading up on delicious, filling foods.

You Eat No (or Limited) Meat
If you're a runner who's considering going meat-free (or cutting back), you're in good company. According to a poll, just 17 percent of runners are vegetarian or vegan, but 48 percent have tried to reduce the amount of meat they eat or the frequency with which they eat it. Studies show that vegetarians have a lower incidence of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and weigh less than meat-eaters. Their diets also contain more good-for-you nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

More: Antioxidant-Rich Juices and Smoothies

But can you really eat a vegetarian diet and perform your best? "Absolutely," says Nisevich Bede. "Well-balanced vegetarian diets can provide ample energy and nutrients that will prevent pre-mature fatigue and muscle breakdown."

The key is to make sure you don't fall short on essential nutrients that are typically abundant in meat-eaters' diets—protein being one of them. Soy is an excellent source of quality vegetarian protein, as are beans and lentils, which have the added benefit of providing complex carbohydrates. And if you eat dairy and eggs (vegans don't), reaching your daily protein needs is easy. "It is uncommon for vegetarians who consume adequate amounts of plant, vegetable and dairy protein to experience severe protein-deficiency," says Nisevich Bede.

TRY THIS: Protein-Packed Alternatives for Vegetarians

Other nutrients, including vitamin D, calcium, B vitamins, iron and zinc, can be harder to get without eating meat. "Iron and zinc deficiency can lead to poor performance and fatigue," says Nisevich Bede, "while not getting enough B vitamins can cause muscle weakness, tiredness and even memory loss."

Beans, whole grains and leafy green vegetables are good sources of iron; however, to maximize your absorption you should pair them with vitamin C-rich foods. Nuts, seeds and whole grains provide good amounts of zinc. Eggs and dairy are the only vegetarian sources of vitamin B12, but plenty of other foods, like grains and cereals, are often fortified with it.

More: The Truth About Vitamin-B Supplements and Athletes

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