Endurance Nutrition

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Training for an hour or more is certainly quite strenuous on the mind and body. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have enough fuel not only during training, but after as well. Here is a list of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to help you build up stamina and get you through your training more efficiently.

 ✓ Do:

→ Have a pre-training meal that is high carbs and nutrient dense:

  • Endurance trainers rely on the glycogen stores in their muscles, which release glucose as the major energy source for them to function and engage in activity. Therefore, a nutrient-dense meal high in carbohydrates will ensure that these stores are filled before training begins.

  • These meals also ensure enough energy is available, lowering the amount of protein to be used as energy. These proteins can be saved for building lean muscle mass.

→ Staying hydrated:

  • Drinking water regularly throughout the day is a must. The chemical reactions to provide energy and perform bodily functions can happen more efficiently in a hydrated state, allowing better performance.

  • Trainers sweat more and breathe heavily during workout sessions, causing body water loss. Starting your training session well-hydrated allows your body to have enough water levels for a longer time before it is depleted.

→ Have sports drinks and snacks on hand during training:

  • Sports drinks are made so that trainers can rehydrate and keep their electrolytes in balance, allowing bodily reactions to continue normally. It also provides glucose to replenish glycogen stores.

  • Having a small snack loaded with carbohydrates is another way to refill glycogen stores in the middle of training.

→ Have another nutritious high carb meal after training:

  • By the end of training, your glycogen stores are likely depleted and need to be refilled.

  • High carb meals can help build up the capacity of your glycogen stores, meaning you can store more glycogen over time with increase glucose consumption. This is known as "carbohydrate loading" and applies to the other meals mentioned before.

✗ Don’t:

→ Supplementation:

  • Replacing meals with supplements may sound convenient and easy; however, it is expensive and you will be missing out on the extra benefits that come with nutrient-dense meals. People who eat healthy meals regularly will be getting adequate intake of all other nutrients, which includes minerals and vitamins that help facilitate energy production and transfer in the body.

→ Energy drinks:

  • These drinks are not the same as sports drinks, and contain excess caffeine and carbohydrates. It limits the amount of water absorbed and retained, affecting the ability for bodily reactions to occur and in turn limits fuel burning. Ultimately, performance levels will decline. 

→ Rehydrating with water:

  • Quenching your thirst with large amounts of water after endurance training is bad, especially if a sports drink or snack was not eaten partway through. It can cause your already imbalanced electrolytes to fall dangerously low.

→ Eating candy and other junk foods as snacks or meals:

  • The simple sugars can raise your blood glucose too high too fast, especially if a lot is eaten. Your body will try to clear this extra sugar in the blood back to a safe level, but since it is happening so fast, you can get a blood sugar crash.

  • These foods are also low in water and other nutrients, while high in calories. Eating too much of these foods will make you feel full without getting all the extra nutrients that endurance trainers need.

Overall, staying hydrated and eating healthy regularly is most important – that way you can make sure you have a healthy balance of all the nutrients you need, helping you in the long run!

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Posts by Joan

Sun, 09/13/2015 - 10:35
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Training for an hour or more is certainly quite strenuous on the mind and body. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have enough fuel not only during training, but after as well.

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Mon, 02/16/2015 - 15:40
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You are shopping for groceries but there are just so many different brands of the same things! Just how do you decide which one is better and healthier? Do you pick the more expensive one, choose a famous brand over a no name brand, or grab what your mom used to buy?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:32
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Dieting always seems like a logical way to loose weight and it makes a lot of sense: "if I don't eat, I won't get fat." This reasoning is true, but not without a cost. It sets you up for a bigger downfall than your gains, and you can end up packing on more pounds later on in life.

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