Beetroot, feta & quinoa salad – A lunch recipe for endurance athletes

recipe for endurance athletes - beetroot, feta and quinoa - by Jo Scott-Dalgleish

This salad makes a great packed lunch to take to work on days when you are training in the early evening, with a good mix of quinoa and starchy vegetables to provide carbohydrate and protein from feta cheese, beans and quinoa. And, of course, the nitrates in the beetroot may help with stamina. See my blog here for the benefits of beetroot for endurance athletes. Continue reading “Beetroot, feta & quinoa salad – A lunch recipe for endurance athletes” »

Magnesium: A guide for the endurance athlete

magnesium a guide for the endurance athlete

Iron, calcium, sodium…..these are all minerals which an endurance athlete might consider when thinking about their nutrition. Am I getting enough iron in my diet to help prevent fatigue? Am I eating enough calcium to protect my bones? Am I replacing the sodium that I lose when I sweat? But do you ever think about whether you have adequate magnesium? Continue reading “Magnesium: A guide for the endurance athlete” »

Gastro-Intestinal Problems and Endurance Sport

gut health for endurance athletesAs a nutritional therapist specialising in working with endurance athletes, people often come to see me seeking help with gastro-intestinal problems that they experience during training and, more commonly, racing. I have written briefly on this subject before with some practical tips to avoid GI problems while racing, most of which are appropriate for anyone competing in endurance sports. You can find these tips here.

I would now like to look at this issue, which affects so many athletes, in more depth. In the last few years, a number of studies have been published which suggest that there may be some additional strategies worth trying if you experience GI issues while training for or racing endurance events. Some of these are designed specifically to help mitigate the effects of strenuous exercise on the gut. Others may be appropriate if you suffer from chronic digestive health issues, which are then exacerbated during racing. In this blog, I am going to look firstly at the types of gut problems that may be experienced and why this occurs, and secondly at some strategies that may be worth trying to prevent these problems from affecting your race, based on the latest research. Continue reading “Gastro-Intestinal Problems and Endurance Sport” »

Recipe – Mackerel and Sweet Potato

recipes for endurance athletes

This is one of my favourite evening meals, filling and nourishing after a day with a long or hard training session. The mackerel is a great source of both protein (19g/100g) to help repair muscle and healthy omega 3 fats to support heart, joint, immune and brain function. Sweet potato provides carbs (20g/100g – a serving is 200g) to replenish glycogen stores together with fibre to maintain a healthy gut and a range of vitamins such as beta carotene, which is important for eye health. I’ve added tenderstem broccoli and leeks for additional plant nutrients, so this recipe provides 3 servings of vegetables. I’ve also included maple syrup for flavour and some additional carbohydrate (10g/tbsp)

Continue reading “Recipe – Mackerel and Sweet Potato” »

“Real Food” Sports Nutrition: Options for the Endurance Athlete

real food nutrition for endurance sportsA gel, a sugary sports drink or a bar packed with synthetic ingredients is the last thing that some endurance athletes want to consume while they are training or even racing. It might be that their digestive system simply cannot cope, particularly over a long session or race. It might be that they resent paying for often expensive branded products, which may include unnecessary ingredients in small, ineffective amounts. Or it might be that they simply prefer eating foods that are in their natural form or at least minimally processed, such as a bar with all natural ingredients. If you are one of these athletes, then this blog post is for you. Continue reading ““Real Food” Sports Nutrition: Options for the Endurance Athlete” »

Beetroot Juice: Will it help my performance in endurance sport?

beetroot for endurance athletes

The blog that I wrote back in 2013 about using beetroot juice to boost endurance sports performance (read it here) is the most popular on my website by some distance, being accessed many times each week. At the time, the evidence seemed clear: taking 2 shots of beetroot concentrate prior to a race had been shown to significantly improve performance by boosting nitric oxide levels, leading in turn to more efficient oxygen use. Many of the studies at this point had been done with cyclists or runners, often using simulated time trials or measuring time to exhaustion in the lab. But the success of that early research has, of course, resulted in further studies that provide a more nuanced picture of the benefits of beetroot, and nitrate-containing vegetables generally. Continue reading “Beetroot Juice: Will it help my performance in endurance sport?” »

Nutritional considerations for vegetarian endurance athletes

advice for vegetarian athletes

If you are vegetarian or vegan and regularly compete in endurance sports events, it’s likely that at least one person you know has questioned whether your diet can possibly give you all the nutrients you need or whether you would perform better if you included meat and fish in your diet. But there is no reason for this to be the case: a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can support a substantial endurance training programme, and the 2000 position paper from the ADA and American College of Sports Medicine explicitly states that “foods of animal origin are not essential to ensure optimal athletic performance.” 1 There are also some very successful athletes out there eating a plant food diet, such as ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek or triathlete Brendon Brazier. Continue reading “Nutritional considerations for vegetarian endurance athletes” »

More Smoothie Ideas for Endurance Athletes

smoothie recipes for endurance athletes

One of the most popular posts on my blog is one explaining how to make nutritious smoothies – you can read it here. I thought I’d take this one step further by providing several different smoothie recipes that work well with a selection of training scenarios. Continue reading “More Smoothie Ideas for Endurance Athletes” »

Lunch Ideas for Endurance Athletes

When you are training for endurance sports events, and time is tight, it can be tempting to just grab the easiest and quickest lunch that you can. But lunch presents a great opportunity to have a nourishing meal to support recovery from a morning training session or to fuel up for one later in the day. A quality lunch should combine slow release carbohydrates, such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, buckwheat noodles, oatcakes or wholegrain bread with around 20g of protein from sources like lean meat, fish or seafood, eggs, cheese, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, plus a serving or two of healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, together with as many salad or cooked vegetables as you can fit on your plate or in your lunch box. Continue reading “Lunch Ideas for Endurance Athletes” »

Endurance Training: Try the “Sleep Low” Nutrition Strategy

In January 2016, I wrote a blog post about the potential benefits of doing occasional training sessions in a glycogen depleted state, in other words with low carbohydrate stores. Various research studies have shown that this has benefits for endurance training, specifically in upregulating the process that creates mitochondria, the “batteries” of the muscle cell which burn fuel for energy. The more mitochondria you have in each muscle cell, the better for performance in endurance events. Training with low glycogen has also been shown to increase fat oxidation, your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. This is thought to have benefits for endurance performance by sparing the limited glycogen stores available in the muscle. The longer you can use fat as your primary energy source, the longer you can make your carbohydrate stores last. You can find my earlier blog post here for more detailed information on how training with low glycogen stores at certain times may be beneficial. Continue reading “Endurance Training: Try the “Sleep Low” Nutrition Strategy” »