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.
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
If social media is anything to go by, it often seems like there are two opposing schools of thought in sports nutrition at the moment. In one camp are those who believe that ‘carbohydrate is king’, basing their daily diet around regular intake of starchy carbohydrates like pasta, bread, crackers, rice, potato, oats and other grains, supplemented with plenty of fruit (and hopefully vegetables too) and perhaps some carefully chosen sources of sugar like dried fruit, honey and maple syrup. In addition, they might regularly fuel their workouts with energy bars, sports drinks and gels, not to speak of carefully consuming a carbohydrate and protein drink after training to aid their recovery. There is certainly plenty of research to back up that traditional approach to endurance sports nutrition and plenty of athletes out there, recreational and professional, who vouch for its effectiveness in terms of performance and recovery. Continue reading
Now that we are heading into the winter months, it’s common for endurance athletes to find their training compromised by Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs), otherwise known as colds and flu. Hard exercise is known to suppress the immune system, which can leave you open to picking up whatever bugs are going around, especially if you commute on public transport or work in a closely-packed office environment. So it’s worth taking extra steps to boost your immunity, and your diet has a role to play here as many compounds found in food contribute to a healthy immune function.
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
The traditional approach to nutrition for endurance sports has involved eating plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your training sessions, together with a moderate amount of protein to support muscle repair, and the remainder of your calorie needs coming from fat. Plenty of pasta has been in order! You may well find that this works well for you and there is certainly research available to back up a high carb diet for runners, cyclists and triathletes. Continue reading
As a female endurance athlete, who is training hard and racing regularly, your nutritional needs are not the same as your typical sedentary or even regular gym-going woman. You are making higher demands on your body, and this requires more fuel, in the form of carbohydrates and fats, more “building blocks” from protein to enable repair and recovery, and a greater amount of micronutrients, eg vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, to help facilitate your body’s various metabolic processes and maintain good health. Your nutritional requirements are also different in some aspects from those of male endurance athletes. For example, women have a greater need for iron due to blood losses from menstruation, and it is also thought that they are able to oxidise a greater amount of stored fat than men, lessening their reliance on glycogen.1 Continue reading
As someone participating in an endurance sport like running, cycling or triathlon, it’s likely that you give pretty careful consideration to getting sufficient sources of carbohydrate into your diet. You’ll know that carbs are your principal source of fuel, being stored as glycogen in your muscles and converted to energy as required, and that it’s important to replenish that glycogen after a training session or race. But how much attention do you pay to the amount of protein that you consume, and when you eat it?
In my experience, choosing the right sort of fats and eating an appropriate amount is one areas of nutrition that some endurance athletes struggle with. If I can be broadly sexist for a moment, women tend to be worried about eating too much fat, even if they are aware of the health benefits of certain types of fats, and men tend to struggle with avoiding unhealthy fats and including more healthy fats in their diet. The purpose of this article is to try to help people training for endurance sports events to eat more (enough) of the beneficial types of fats and keep less healthy types to only a small part of their diet. Continue reading
The chances are, that as a competitor in endurance sport, you are taking some time during January and February to plan your races for the year and schedule the various blocks of training required to support that race plan. Continue reading