Cortney Berling Lives and Teaches the Motto Eat Well Perform Better

Today’s guest is a former collegiate runner that has found a way to keep running in her post-college life in both her personal and professional lives.

She is the owner of, “Eat Well. Perform Better,” specializing in women runners, as she knows first hand how hard over-training and under-fueling can be on the body.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Registered Dietician, Cortney Berling, and learning a few things as well.

Cortney Berling

Unconventional Beginning

Cortney Berling was always active growing up, participating in a variety of sports.

Running was not one of the sports that Cortney naturally gravitated towards.

Cortney had an older sister that ran and watching her was what spurred Cortney to give the sport a shot.

While in high school, Cortney ran only track and not cross country.

Her high school career was not predictive for the path Cortney would take in college.

Cortney attended the University of Cincinnati and it was while there that she began to miss being part of a team.

She walked onto the Division I cross country and track teams before starting her sophomore year.

It took her a few years before she settled into her events. She was never the fastest, but she made up for it with grit.

Hitting Her Stride After College

After graduating, Cortney moved back to her hometown of Cleveland and took an internship at the Cleveland Clinic.

Her then-boyfriend, now husband, was training for the Cleveland Marathon at that time.

His training served as motivation for Cortney to run the race as well.

Cortney set a lofty goal of running a sub-3 hour marathon and crossed the finish in 2:57.

This marathon gave her the confidence she was once lacking in her running.

She realized that once she got away from the pressure of collegiate running and dialed back her training, she was able to excel.

Running is the rare sport where doing more doesn’t always make you better.

Cortney found that it takes courage and maturity to know when to step back in training.

Cortney Berling

A Running Pause

Following her clinical internship, Cortney followed her passion and started her career as a registered dietician.

Many individuals struggle with the diet culture mentality and the number struggling only increases when athletes are involved.

When it comes to food and fueling, female runners are especially prone to not getting the appropriate nutrition.

According to Cortney, while training at a high level it is common for women to have an absent or irregular menstrual cycle.

This phenomenon is viewed as normal, but it is not healthy and can cause long-term damage.

Cortney struggled with this herself and only became aware of it when she wanted to become pregnant.

In her journey to become pregnant, Cortney chose to give up running while focusing on eating enough calories and doing low impact activities.

While it was hard to give up running at the time, in hindsight she realizes how special it was to be able to slow down.

Post-Partum Perspective

Cortney was able to successfully become pregnant after adhering to her lifestyle changes.

She didn’t begin running again till after her first trimester, due to her own personal choice.

Once she did begin running again, she realized that running while pregnant was unlike anything she had done before.

Listening to her body and slowing down were key for her being able to run throughout her pregnancy.

After giving birth to her daughter, Cortney was eager to resume running again.

Post-partum running provided an entirely new set of challenges that she had to adapt to.

For 10-12 weeks post-partum, Cortney worked with a pelvic floor physical therapist to regain strength.

Cortney is a different runner post-partum and she has learned to make running a part of her day, but not her whole day.

Intuitive Eating

As a registered dietician, Cortney is constantly working on dismantling the diet culture that surrounds food.

She is a big proponent of intuitive eating and stresses that as the main takeaway for runners.

Intuitive eating is composed of 10 principles that help to reframe a person’s mindset around food.

Two of the principles that resonate with Cortney are:

  • Really learn to listen to your body.
  • Honor your hunger by listening to what your body is asking for.

When an individual deprives themself of food, they often find that they crave it more.

Stop labeling food as good or bad, because there is a time and place for all food.

Learn to make peace with food.

Cortney Berling”s Eat Well Perform Better Program

Intermittent Fasting

Cortney will be the first to say that each athlete is an individual and what works for one person may not work for another.

In terms of running, intermittent fasting is not a great option especially when it concerns female athletes.

Fasted running may work for male runners, but due to the hormonal differences in women, it can often lead to poor performance.

Running breaks down muscle fibers and if they aren’t fueled both before and after the run, then muscle waste can occur.

Cortney always recommends to her clients that they train their bodies the way they will race.

If you wouldn’t run a race fasted, then you shouldn’t train fasted either.

Starting on July 28th, 2020, Cortney will be hosting a 6-week online program that will be focused on a variety of topics.

Though men are welcome, the program is especially geared towards women runners and their unique needs.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Cortney Berling by checking out her Website and/or following her on Instagram.

Cortney Berling is a registered dietician that is also a runner. She can relate to the struggles that female athletes face when it comes to the myriad of choices with what to eat and when to get the most out of your performance. It's as… Click To Tweet

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1 reply
  1. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I absolutely loved listening to Cortney and your conversation around running and nutrition — “Picking on cake” 🙂 Intuitive Eating…. such a great mindset and way to help runners sway from the Run to Eat vs Eat to Run 🙂


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