Planning your nutrition strategy for Olympic distance triathlon

Whether you are a seasoned competitor or undertaking your first Olympic Distance triathlon, you do need to plan your nutrition and hydration needs for this type of event. You might be able to get away without consuming energy drink or gels during a sprint distance triathlon, but it isn’t recommended for longer events. Continue reading

Male Endurance Athletes: Getting Older, Staying Healthy, Remaining Competitive

older male athletes - how to keep up your endurance

As a passionate endurance athlete, you’ll be looking to continue to participate in your chosen sport – be that triathlon, cycling, running or perhaps adventure racing – for many years to come and to remain as competitive as possible. It’s worth noting that in the past 30 years, increased participation in events lasting 6 hours or more by masters athletes (those over 40) has been accompanied by improvements in their performances at a much faster rate than their younger counterparts.¹ But decline in physical function to some extent is sadly inevitable as you increase in age, so putting in place strategies to minimise those declines before they take significant effect is fundamental to giving yourself every chance to continue doing the sport you love and performing to the best of your ability. 

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Some Breakfast Ideas for Endurance Athletes

Light breakfast with boiled eggs and cup of coffee, isolated on whiteSome people like to eat the same breakfast every day, some people like to try different foods. If you are training and competing in endurance sport, it’s a good idea to vary your breakfast according to the timing and type of training session you do. This helps you to consume carbohydrates, protein and fats in different amounts, and eating different foods over the course of a week also broadens your intake of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients which support good health. Continue reading

Vitamins & Minerals: A Guide for Endurance Athletes

what minerals and vitamins do endurance athletes needAn 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

Female Endurance Athletes: Staying Healthy During Menopause and Beyond

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

Taking ‘Healthy Eating’ too far? A Risk for Endurance Athletes

healthy eating as an endurance athleteA 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

Preventing Christmas weight gain for the endurance athlete

Christmas beer

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.

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Carbohydrate and Protein Timing for Endurance Athletes

Clock face

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

Vegan Diets: A Guide for the Endurance Athlete

vegan quinoa bowlVegan 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

Calcium: A guide for the endurance athlete

Food sources of calcium

Did you know that calcium is the 5th most common substance in your body and the most abundant mineral? You probably know that a large part of your bones and teeth are made up of calcium. But calcium plays a much bigger role in health than contributing to strong bones and teeth, and these functions are all of importance to someone taking part in endurance sports like running, cycling and triathlon. For example, adequate calcium is needed to enable the contraction of heart muscle which in turn pumps blood around your body. It’s also required in the process by which your skeletal muscles contract. It helps nerve signals to be transmitted and it’s essential for normal blood clotting when injury occurs. It is also needed to activate the enzyme lipase which breaks down fat stores to produce energy. Continue reading