Some 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
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
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.
Diets that restrict carbohydrate intake, while allowing largely unrestricted consumption of fat and protein, have been popular as weight loss strategies for many years now, with a number of studies showing them to be as successful, if not more successful, than low fat diets or calorie counting approaches to weight loss. But in recent years there has also been a trend for some endurance athletes to adopt a low carb dietary approach to enhance performance. This is based around the concept of improving fat burning capacity while sparing muscle glycogen. By restricting carbohydrates both in the athlete’s everyday diet and during training sessions, an adaptation takes place whereby the body is able to remain dependent on fat stores for a longer time and at a higher rate of exertion. This is known as becoming ‘fat adapted’. Continue reading
Do you load up on carbohydrates before your races? And, if you do, have you planned how you will do it in advance, or is it more a case of just eat more pasta than usual? If you are competing in events that will last at least 90 minutes, and are not planning how to maximise your muscle glycogen stores beforehand through a carb-loading strategy, you may be missing out on an opportunity to improve your performance. Continue reading