Interview with the Running Nutritionist

I had the coolest opportunity a few weeks ago, I got to talk to Lisa Dorfman (aka THE RUNNING NUTRITIONIST) over the phone I was able to ask her all sorts of questions.  She has ran a total of 34 marathons with a 2:52 pr and she is also a professional triathlete.  The interview was done over the phone and so I was typing as fast as I could so these are not direct quotes from her but more of the general ideas that I got from her:)  ENJOY!!!

Lisa dorfman pagelink

Q:  I am a very active person on a daily basis.  What should I really focus on in order to maintain good nutrition throughout the day?

A:  As busy women on the run it is sometimes really tough to take enough time to get in a quality meal.  It is so important to eat carbohydrates, especially whole grains, in order to fuel everything we do.  Carbohydrates help spare protein from being used as an energy source.  This is great because protein is meant to keep our muscles maintained and repaired, to to keep our immune system strong and it helps with our water balance.  The proteins that we take in throughout the day should be high quality sources (very important for vegetarians to eat soy because it is the only plant source based food that equals animal protein).  It is necessary to get in our fats!  Fats get such a bad rap but it is necessary to include it in our diets.  Soy is a great way to get omega-3s into our diet which is critical for brain health.  When there is a weak link in your diet it is really hard to maintain your energy levels.  Focus on three good sit down meals and 3 snacks a day.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge athletes face when it comes to nutrition?

A:  1.  Getting enough calories in their diets.  There is a fear factor with some athletes when it comes to carbs even though they will keep us fit and help us to reach our potential.  High intensity exercise only uses carbs for energy.

2. A calorie deficit at the end of the day which may lead to eating anything and everything at night.  Make sure that you are spacing your meals throughout the day so that you don’t end up starving at night.

3.  Just because you run doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch what you are eating. Pay attention to the quality of your diet!

Q: Do I need to incorporate anything special into my diet as a pregnant runner?

A: Mom is just as healthy as baby, if mom doesn’t eat the baby takes it from you.  It is so important to maintain a healthy attitude about food during this time and after you deliver you will get back into shape.  Foods like soy help decrease inflammation with joint pain, the pain of pregnancy and will help with your brain health.  It is so important to stay hydrated during this time.  There is a !5% metabolism increase during pregnancy! During the first trimester you should keep your calorie intake the same as normal, during the 2nd there should be an increase of 340-360 calories per day and during the 3rd trimester you should increase your calories 450-490 calories per day.

Q:  What healthy snacks to you recommend to have on hand for a quick pick me up and that will also keep me satiated?

A:  The best snacks to keep on hand with you are whole foods (the least processed as possible) that range between 150-200 calories. Keep them light but balanced.  A smoothie, Soyjoy bars, coconut water, greek yogurt and fruit, edamame, organic baby foods that come in the squeeze packet are all great snacks to have.  Whole chestnuts and low-fat cheese or almond cheese are also great foods to snack on.

Q:   What do you recommend eating/snacking on before and after a race?

A:  Everyone is so different when it comes to this but the formula is to take in 1/2 your body weight in carbohydrate grams about an hour to 1.5 hours before your race.  Stick to things that are not high in fiber or fat.  Dry cereal, a Soyjoy bar, fruit and sports beverages are all great things to have.  After the race you should replace the fuel with both a carbohydrate and high quality proteins to help with recovery. Yogurt or low-fat chocolate milk are great things to have and it is important to eat within 30 minutes after completing your race.

Q:  How would you describe the difference between the nutritional needs of someone who attends yoga on a daily basis as opposed to someone who runs and lifts weights?

A: Similarities:  Both are using carbs for energy.  Yoga can be high-level energy and you are always using carbs for fuel.  For both activities you need to include high quality proteins but the amounts do differ.   Differences:  You burn more calories running and lifting even after you are done with the exercise.

Q:  Do you have  favorite comfort food recipe that has gotten a healthy makeover?

A: She loves to make lasagna with a mexican flare.  She prepares it with corn tortillas, beans, light cheddar cheese (or soy cheese) and salsa.  She has made cake with garbanzo beans and muffins with pureed berries.  She believes that you can make anything more nutritious and high in fiber.  She really loves to cook with spices and loves to eat a variety of foods each day.

What keeps you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle?

A: Lisa believes that her success really comes from within and is reinforced by the good life around her.  She looks, races and feels nutrition.  Whatever she gives to her body it gives it back to her.  She has seen nutrition give her so much and it is a part of her.  She feels that she maintains her base of healthiness through good food on a daily basis.  She follows the 80/20 rule, don’t get too crazy:)


What keeps YOU motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle?

What is your favorite ‘comfort’ food?

We are off to go see a movie tonight…anyone else going to the movies this weekend?

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To live a longer and disease fee life! So many illnesses and diseases these days are linked to poor nutrition and not being active, so maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is a no brainer for me!
Macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, pancakes and chocolate chip cookies – to name a few ;)
I think we might watch Fast Five at home tonight but first a girl’s supper out!


Great interview! Lots of good tips I think I can incorporate in my own life.


Wow, she really is a big fan of soy and Soyjoy bars, huh?


Great info!! Wasn’t obvious at all that she gets paid by soyjoy ;) I’d disagree on their nutritional value– lots of sugar!


I am not healthy at all – I’d like to be. This really helped me!


I’m off to see Martina McBride at the Tuachan in St. George! So excited!!


Interesting post! You guys should see “The Five Year Engagement”. I think that’s out this weekend…


how neat! I appreciate you sharing the information!
It’s hard to always eat healthy, but reading other people’s healthy lifestyle blog really encourages me :) On that note, reading other runner’s blog keeps me motivated to go running too! You always motivate me :D


Great interview!
I was very interested to hear what she had to say about soy since there are so many negative views on it now. It’s my husband’s main protein source, so I’m glad she is positive about it!


Right now everything seems like a comfort food because I can’t chew! Watching my boyfriend eat tortilla chips was a special form of torture. I want a salt lick!


Soyjoy bars are not that great for you and definitely not whole foods :( She must be paid by the company.


My boyfriend and I were supposed to see 5 year engagement last night but had a change of plans! Hopefully well go see it soon!


Great interview! Thanks for the helpful advice.

I just got back from seeing 5 year engagement. Pretty funny :).


I use to be heavier in Jr High and high school so after I got the weight off my Jr/Sr year, I have always tried to stay active and healthy.
My favorite comfort foods are no brainers- Mac and cheese, pizza, all the bad stuff basically!
Last night we didn’t go to a theater, but went to a park downtown to watch The Sandlot on a huge blow up screen while laying on a blanket. Awesome Friday night!


My food choices affect my family since I am the one shopping and cooking for them. So my family’s health is important to me so my food choices can affect them greatly. More motivation to make good choices for sure!

Favorite comfort food: Super Sonic Oreo blast. Nomz.

No movies, just cleaning house = boring :/


Great post! I totally agree-it is SO key to any healthy lifestyle to fuel the body right with good, healthy, real foods! I love the 80-20 style too. It’s a-okay to have the ice cream and/or candy in moderation.

I also love that she advocates for eating a bunch of different types of food every day-and adding healthier ingredients to recipes. I totally do that!

I keep myself motivated to stay healthy because it makes me FEEL awesome :)


Wow! Great interview and truly motivational. I learned so much from this post. I receive my motivation to be healthy from my mom and the great feeling I receive from being healthy. I love sharing my healthy tips and successes with my friends and family. They express how much they love to hear new info. so I just keep sharing it.
My favorite comfort foods involve anything with a potato. Potatoes that are fried, mashed, baked, etc. always leave me comfy and cozy. I also like pastas with a creamy sauce, especially alfredo. I love using low cal philly cream cheese for a light alfredo sauce over whole wheat pasta. And, last but not least, CHOCOLATE!! I love it!


This is a great interview! As a vegan, I love to hear a nutritionist who recommends soy as an important part of the diet.

My main motivation for a healthy lifestyle is its circular benefits; by that I mean that if you exercise and eat well you feel great, which keeps your desire to exercise and eat well going! If you binge on fast food for a week, you start to feel terrible and it’s really hard to get back into healthy habits!


I was also surprised by how much she encourages soy. I would like to know what she thinks about soy and women who are trying to get pregnant. My understanding is that it can be bad in terms of messing with estrogen levels. In that same why I’m surprised she recommends it to pregnant women. I’m not a nutritionist and I wish you could contact to her clear up some of the questions in the comments here about soy. Thanks!


Christina, thank you so so much for your comment. I wish I knew the answers:) I will definitely email her right away. Thanks again and have a great day!


What’s the 80/20 rule?


Hey Arriene! I think she meant she eats whole foods and super healthy 80% of the time and leaves room for treats etc. 20% of the time. Hope you are having an amazing day!


It’s great that she tries to make things healthy. I just found a healthier brownie recipe the other day…..take a box of brownie mix and instead of oil and eggs, puree a can of black beans and mix that with the box mix. Bake per box and you honestly can’t tell the difference, tastes like brownies!


I love this post, I think I needed the reminder! I spoke to a sports nutritionist for a blog post on my blog a few months ago, and for the weeks after I was so conscientious about what I ate and drinking enough water – I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon! Thanks for the reminder!

One thing I totally agree with is what you feed your body is what you get back. I had the opportnity to join a runner who is running across Canada for brain injury awareness (look up Troy’s Run for more information, he’s doing amazing things!) and one thing he said while I was running with him was that with his mileage (25-26 miles a day) you REALLY see the effect of everything you put in your body and it really does impact on your running performance and how you feel.


She is the BEST!!!! Love her.

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