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The endurance nutrition jargon buster

The endurance nutrition jargon buster

Are you preparing for an endurance event? Good nutrition is just as important as your training plan. With all the advice and jargon around, it can be hard to know what is best. Here are some ideas on the foods that will help you build endurance:

Carbs have had a bad press, but they are actually your friend for stamina and energy. Your muscles need the glycogen that your body makes, and complex carbs such as pasta, rice and bread are the raw materials.

‘Low GI’ also relates to carbs. The term means that the food concerned is broken down slowly, keeping blood sugar levels from spiking and then crashing. So complex carbs with a low GI such as beans, carrots, apples, bran cereals and peanuts are ideally what you want here, providing plenty of energy over a long period. Simple carbs (sweet foods) provide a quick ‘boost’ and are best used during the event.

Carb-loading is a planned eating schedule designed to increase your stores of glycogen, the ‘muscle fuel’. The body usually has enough glycogen stored for about ninety minutes of activity. Beyond this, point, performance may start to drop off. Hence endurance athletes need to find ways to store more glycogen – and that’s carb-loading.

Protein is very important for muscle growth and repair, and should be a big part of your pre-event diet. Eating some protein during the event has also been shown to speed recovery time.

Sports drinks and supplements are always controversial. Most people don’t need them, but for a serious endurance event they can be a quick and portable way of getting extra ‘go’. Your best bet is to ensure a really healthy diet with lots of nutrients in the lead up to the race.

With proper nutrition and the right training you will be amazed at your endurance!