Some Nutritional New Year’s Resolutions for the Endurance Athlete

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

Recipe: Warming Veggie Curry

vegetarian curry recipe for endurance athletesThis 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

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports (RED-S) Practical Considerations for Endurance Athletes

Mountjoy et al, BJSM, 2014

I’m very pleased to welcome a guest contributor to my blog this month, Dr Nicky Keay, who is a medical doctor specialising in sports endocrinology. Dr Keay has published many papers relating to sports endocrinology (the impact of hormones on performance) and is a regular contributor to the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM). She will be organising and chairing the annual BASEM spring conference.

At the end of Dr Keay’s article, I have added some practical nutritional tips to help athletes avoid or recover from RED-S. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nutrition tips to support recovery from endurance training

nutrition for endurance athletesAs an endurance athlete, you are probably well aware that training adaptations, which help you to get faster, happen during the recovery from training, rather than during the training itself. The purpose of training is to create the stimulus for those adaptations to occur, eg by stressing the aerobic system or muscles. Your body then makes the appropriate physiological and bio-chemical adaptations while at rest. Continue reading