An athlete who performs at their best is also a healthy athlete. Fundamental to good health is meeting your vitamin and mineral requirements. A healthy diet for an endurance athlete isn’t just about making sure you are eating enough calories to meet the energy requirements of your training and everyday life, and within that a suitable balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein. Continue reading
It’s encouraging to see women’s experience of the menopause being discussed more openly than it used to be. In the UK currently, the topic seems to be a common one in the media, which can only be a good thing if it raises awareness of the issues that women experience, the impact it can have on their work and family life, and the options that are available to help reduce that impact by helping to reduce symptoms. These include making nutritional and lifestyle changes, and possibly hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Continue reading
Thai food may well be one of your favourite choices for eating out or getting food delivered in, and it’s a relatively healthy option. But why not make a Thai green curry at home? It makes a tasty dinner and works well after an evening training session.
A common trait shared by most endurance athletes is a determination to succeed in the goals that we set ourselves. We are focused and committed in our approach to improving our performance in our chosen sport: undertaking a demanding training programme, paying attention to recovery and doing our best to make lifestyle decisions which support both our athletic goals and our health and wellbeing. Part of this approach, of course, involves following a healthy diet, one which provides sufficient energy for training and racing, is suitably balanced between carbohydrates, fats and protein, meets requirements for vitamins and minerals, and optimises body composition. Continue reading
For my last blog post of 2017 – or the first of 2018, depending on when you are reading this – I thought I would draw up a short list of suggested New Year’s Resolutions for endurance sports participants to help you improve your diet and nutritional practices in 2018, with a subsequent benefit to performance. I’ve kept the list deliberately short and hopefully manageable: Continue reading
You’ve trained hard all year, and I hope that over the next couple of weeks you might be taking it a bit easier and enjoying some much deserved downtime. OK, maybe you have a short festive race planned or a long ride, but the chances are that your training volume is going to decrease for at least a few days as you spend time over Christmas with family and friends. If you are putting in fewer training hours, you are going to be burning fewer calories, and all at a time when the temptation is to indulge in all that festive food – often packed with sugar and saturated fat. So there is certainly a risk that you might gain a few pounds, and that’s going to be in the form of fat, not muscle.
The optimal time to eat and drink prior to, during and after exercise is an issue that all endurance athletes must contend with if they want to maximise benefits from training or perform at their best in races. It’s also been the subject of many research studies over the last 20 years or so, which has sometimes led to conflicting conclusions. So, it is good to see the well-respected International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) produce an updated position stand on Nutrient Timing recently (2017) 1, which makes practical recommendations for athletes about when to consume carbohydrate and protein. Continue reading
This curry makes a perfect winter recovery meal after a chilly bike ride or long run. The potatoes and five different vegetables provide carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores, while the hard-boiled eggs, peas and red lentils provide protein to support muscle recovery.
The various vegetables and spices add extra nutritional benefits to help keep you healthy through the winter months:
- Potatoes, red pepper and onion are great sources of vitamin C to support immune function.
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial garlic helps to fight bacterial infections.
- Ginger has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
- Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable containing glucosinolates that help support your body’s detoxication processes.
- This curry is also high in fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive function.
- Lastly, the salt in the Bouillon powder will contribute towards replenishing sodium lost in sweat, as will the natural sodium in the plant foods. Continue reading
Vegan diets have become noticeably more popular in recent years. Many people will choose to exclude all animal products from their diet for ethical reasons. Others may see it as a healthier way of eating. Or it may well be a combination of the two. I’ve certainly observed an increase in the number of endurance athletes who are turning to veganism. That’s great if it’s the right decision for you, and it is certainly possible to be both vegan and a high performer, but you do need to be aware of several potential risks to both your health and your performance if you follow a vegan diet which isn’t well balanced and doesn’t take account of potential nutrient deficiencies. Continue reading
The role of the gut bacteria in our bodies – known as the microbiome – has been a hot topic in medical research for a while. Given the impact that our microbiome has been found to have on digestive health, immunity, energy production, ability to lose weight and even the way in which our brain functions, it has not been surprising to see sports scientists starting to examine the role of gut bacteria on athletic performance. Continue reading