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Sports Nutrition For Endurance Athletes

Sports nutrition is a very well researched, yet very hotly debated topic. There are several sports, the needs for which can be varying and the nutrition required for each of the sports is different from the other. However, there are a few common principles of sports nutrition for endurance athletes. In order to be able to exercise continuously and then play endurance sports, it is important for the body to have adequate nutrition. When you are training for any athletic sport, your body requires extra energy.
So you have to make provisions for this extra energy by consuming extra nutrition. The energy that you require for this purpose is high quality. The easiest way to get that kind of energy is to eat a heavy yet balanced breakfast before continuing to eat a variety of foods from different food groups all through the day.

Since glycogen is the primary fuel for the muscles, the diet for endurance athletes should be centered on consuming a lot of carbohydrates, which can be broken into glycogen in the body. Proteins and fats should also be consumed everyday. The meal should have generous portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. A calorie count can also help you keep a tab on the amount of calories you are consuming and expending. Since for endurance sports, the amount of calories spent per day is more than those spent by a normal person with an average activity level, the amount of nutrition and calories consumed should be able to match it.

Diet, Drinks for Endurance Athletes

The diet for endurance athletes can be divided into the pre-exercise meal, the meal during exercise, and the post exercise meal. These meals are planned according to the style of exercise. For endurance training, both cardio vascular workouts and strength training are performed. Therefore, there is a need of increased caloric intake as well as proteins to take care of the wear and tear of muscle that occurs due to the intense training.

In between, to get some extra calories, you can go for a powerbar endurance sport drink or granola bars which can give you an instant caloric boost. If you exercise and train in the evening your lunch should be high in complex carbohydrates. This means that you should include a high amount of dietary fiber in your meals at lunch. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, and wheat pasta are some of the common complex carbohydrates that you can consume. Another great way to build your energy while also keeping your metabolism strong is to grab a large plate of salads and fruits along with proteins. A protein shake or lean meats can be excellent sources of proteins. There are several supplements for endurance athletes which can be consumed at any time throughout the day.

Thirty minutes before you workout, eat a small snack and drink some water. For aerobic workouts, you can eat an egg, toast, or any other light meal. A large banana or a granola bar is a great choice for a pre exercise snack. However, if you are going to train for a small amount of time, you may completely skip the snack and move straight to an after-exercise meal.

Before the workout, you should ideally have consumed 6 to 12 ounces of water. Proper hydration is very important before you begin to exercise. After the workout, wait for about 15 to 20 minutes before drinking water or a sport drink again. It is important for you to replenish the hydration lost due to sweat. The meal itself should only be consumed after at least two hours of the exercise. About 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates is enough to replenish the energy stores for the training on the next day. The ideal nutrition combination requires you to have carbohydrates and proteins in the ratio of 4:1. The best foods for endurance athletes are those which are dense in energy. Besides this, hydration for endurance athletes is also important.

Submitted on January 16, 2014