Athletes, please, eat the pasta!
July 5th, 2011
02:46 PM ET

Athletes, please, eat the pasta!

Joe Bastianich is a restaurateur, winemaker, author and a judge on the  FOX series "MasterChef." An avid runner, Joe has competed in numerous marathons and triathlons and will be tackling his first full Ironman in Kona this October.  With that experience in these two worlds, he offers  our Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge community his thoughts on having satisfying meals while training.

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne

Whether you are already athletic and looking to up your game with a triathlon, or are just beginning your journey on the road to getting fit, what you put in your body plays a big role in the performance you’ll get out of it.

We’ve been taught to think of food – especially carbs – as our enemy, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Food is what fuels our bodies, allowing us to physically push ourselves to reach our own potential for fitness and athleticism. But when we think about a diet to match a healthy active lifestyle, too often we mistakenly buy into the old adage that getting in shape means resigning to a bland and unsatisfying diet of meager proportions. For someone who’s spent their entire life in some of the best Italian restaurants in the country, bland, meager, and unsatisfying just isn’t going to cut it.

Food and wine became a passion of mine early on- a passion I was not eager to give up when I first took up running. What I quickly and thankfully learned is that I didn’t have to- and neither do you!

Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up satisfying and savory meals.

Pasta has always been a staple of my diet-and it is the food I reach for most often before and after working out. The more I run, the more I need. Many classic pasta dishes such as puttanesca (pasta anchovies, capers, tuna, and olives) spaghetti allo scoglio (mussels, shrimp, and scallops) and a pasta a la norma (eggplant and onion) combine workout-friendly complex carbs with the health benefits of antioxidant-chocked veggies and omega 3 rich shellfish and seafood.

Using whole wheat pasta certainly increases your fiber intake and helps to regulate blood sugar, but eating white pasta made with more refined flour is actually easier for the body to digest before any big workout or race.

In fact, carb loading is extremely important for maintaining enough endurance to power you through a big competition. One of my favorite pre-race meals is pasta primavera. This dish is the perfect fuel for your body- complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, olive oil for its anti-inflammatory effect on joints, and the antioxidant-laden veggies to help protect muscles, joints, and tissues from wear and tear that comes with pounding the pavement. And speaking of antioxidants- my all time favorite source is- you guessed it- red wine!

Now I’m certainly not advocating you down a bottle of Barolo the night before a big race, but, red wine in moderation is an excellent source of antioxidants- crucial for athletes to help repair muscles, joints, and tissues damaged by strenuous workouts. A well-deserved treat after a grueling workout!

Eat real food.

Processed foods are harder for the body to break down- this means your body has to waste energy digesting chemicals it doesn’t really know what to do with- processed cheese is one of the worst offenders. And why reach for processed cheese when the real deal is so much better? Many cheeses such as grana padano from Italy pack more protein ounce for ounce than any variety of meat or nuts- not to mention a good source of calcium.

The moral of the story is, you can feel great, look great, and still enjoy a little vino and mozzarella caprese at the end of the day.

Post by:
Filed under: 2011 Triathlon Challenge • Nutrition

soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. Maserati Prices 2010

    Hello, I do think your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic website!


    May 17, 2021 at 05:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 2008 Dodge Sprinter Exhaust Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Van Repair

    I could not resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 17, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sprinter Ecu Repair

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!


    May 17, 2021 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Center Riverside


    May 17, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. 2007 Maserati Quattroporte


    May 17, 2021 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv repair shops


    May 18, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. camper inspection near me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else having identical RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 18, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. class c renovation

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something concerning this.


    May 18, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Elderly Care Near Me

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 18, 2021 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. auto air conditioning shops near me


    May 18, 2021 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Senior Care Provider

    Hi there! This article couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I'll send this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 18, 2021 at 18:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Content Marketing Firms


    May 19, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 2019 Maserati Granturismo Sport


    May 19, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. pills for energy


    May 19, 2021 at 09:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Local Commercial Roof Replacement


    May 19, 2021 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mercedes Sprinter 3.0 Intake Runner Repair


    May 19, 2021 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Wraps California

    You're so interesting! I don't think I have read something like this before. So great to find someone with a few original thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that's needed on the web, someone with a little originality!


    May 19, 2021 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. solar system repair near me

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 19, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 19, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rv parts temecula


    May 19, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Google Marketing Consultant


    May 20, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Agencies

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you, However I am going through issues with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 20, 2021 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Internet Marketing Consultant

    I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…


    May 20, 2021 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. SEO Marketing Company


    May 20, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Internet Marketing Service

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 20, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv renovation companies near me

    May I simply say what a comfort to find an individual who actually knows what they're talking about on the web. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you aren't more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.


    May 20, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. fiberglass repair shop near me


    May 20, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Refrigerator Orange County


    May 20, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. rv parts riverside ca


    May 20, 2021 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv dashboard replacement


    May 21, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. orange county ca rv parks


    May 21, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Shades California


    May 21, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. emergency rv repair near me


    May 21, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Flooring Los Angeles

    I love reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


    May 21, 2021 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. couch repair near me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you so much, However I am experiencing difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 21, 2021 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. paint shops near my location

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article plus the rest of the site is really good.


    May 21, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. oc fleet


    May 21, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Refrigerator California


    May 21, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. phone repair ambulance


    May 21, 2021 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Alignment Orange County

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't manage to get anything done.


    May 21, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. nearby rv repair

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Cheers!


    May 21, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. shopping xvideos


    May 21, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. sunroof repair near me


    May 21, 2021 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. bixotrade

    Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any

    May 22, 2021 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. collision repair shop near me


    May 22, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. kenworth shop near me

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to check out new things you post…


    May 22, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Body Shop Orange County

    Good site you have got here.. It’s hard to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    http://radio.cancaonova.com/iframe-loader/?t=Dating Single: No Longer a Mystery – Rádio&ra=&url=https://ocrvandtrucks.com/rv-repair-shop-adelanto-california

    May 22, 2021 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Plumbing Los Angeles

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.


    May 22, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.