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

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

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

The Role of Gut Bacteria in Health and Performance

Picture of gut bacteria

Introduction

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

“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

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

Staying Healthy in Winter: Nutritional Strategies for Endurance Athletes

athlete-sneezingHow many days training did you lose last winter from colds, coughs, flu or generally feeling under the weather? If it was more than one or two, read on for some recommendations on how to support your immune system through boosting your nutrient intake. Continue reading

“Eat a Rainbow”: Why Endurance Athletes Should Eat at Least Seven Different Vegetables & Fruit Each Day

fruit and vegetable rainbowI hear your comment as you read the title of this blog post: Eat seven different vegetables and fruit a day? Surely we should be aiming for five a day? But what you may not realise is that the original ‘5 a Day’ message that was introduced into the UK and elsewhere about 20 years ago as a public health target is just a marketing term. It isn’t actually based on any research that suggests that getting your five a day is some kind of ‘magic bullet’ which reduces risk of ill health and disease. The sad fact is that the majority of the population are still falling well short of consuming 5 portions of vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. Just getting them to ‘5 A Day’ would be an achievement.

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Benefits of tart cherry juice for endurance athletes: an update

SONY DSCBack in 2012, I wrote a blog post about how drinking tart cherry juice can be helpful for people doing endurance sports. This has proved to be one of my most popular articles on www.endurancesportsnutritionist.co.uk. Since then, several new research studies have been published looking at the effect that tart cherry juice, specifically from Montmorency cherries, has on different aspects of health and performance in endurance sports. New cherry juice products have also launched onto the market, although my personal preference is still for Cherry Active concentrate (http://www.cherryactive.co.uk/). I’m particularly pleased to see the introduction of single serving 30ml sachets which are perfect to take to races as part of your recovery nutrition plan. Continue reading

Smoothie suggestions for endurance athletes

smoothies

As a participant in endurance sports, training hard and needing to recover quickly before your next workout, you need to get as much nutrition as you can out of the food that you eat. I’m not just talking about calories or grams of carbohydrate or high quality protein, but also about vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other substances found in foods that have been shown to be helpful for maintaining and optimising good health. A phrase that I like to describe this is “nutrient density”. It’s different from “energy density”, which is purely about the amount of calories (and therefore fuel) in a meal. Nutrient density is about quality as well as quantity. Continue reading