Monday, October 22, 2012

Endurance Athletes and Their Diet Plans

Lindsey Schwartz - with a Isagenix Body
Cyclists, runners, triathletes and other endurance athletes take part in training programs that include workout regimes for endurance and strength. Nutrition and diet is another link between training and performance. A good diet that is specially made for endurance athletes features a balance between fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals and protein. Next to improving performance, this balance also assists in prevent injury and reduces the time it takes to recover afterwards.


For endurance athletes, protein is very important as it aids the body to regenerate muscle tissue. With proper regeneration, muscle strength is increased and injuries can be prevented, but if they do occur, recovery takes less time. It is a rule of thumb that protein intake for an endurance athlete should be around 1 oz per one pound of the athlete's body weight. For a 200 lbs athlete it should be around 200 oz. It is recommended to spread the daily proteins evenly to create a constant supply that tissues and muscles need. Athletes use protein supplements or foods like lean meat, chicken, fish and turkey for their protein needs.


For all endurance athletes, it is very important to consume carbohydrates, because it triggers the body to convert glycogen into glucose which creates energy that the athlete needs for performing his exercises. Endurance exercising that lasts over 90 minutes uses 70% of carbs for energy when regular workout only uses 40-50%. That is why endurance athletes must use simple and complex carbohydrates in their diet, it maximizes their energy levels. Some of the good sources for simple carbohydrates are fruit, honey and milk while complex carbohydrates can be consumed in the form of potatoes, cereals and grains or spaghetti.


Often endurance athletes don't pay attention to the fats they consume, but they should since healthy fats are important for the body to function perfectly. Fat is also a source of fuel and energy for the body, especially during endurance events that last long. For trained athletes, fats are responsible for supplying 75% of the fuel the body needs during aerobic events. Avocados, almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts as well as pecans and sunflower seeds are good sources of healthy fats.


How many calories an athlete needs per day will differ depending on individual requirements and should be adjusted accordingly. Diet plans that are created for endurance athletes must include all the needed nutrients that are essential for someone living and active lifestyle. B vitamins, riboflavin and thiamin are used for energy production in the body. Potassium, sodium, iron and calcium are minerals that keep muscles from cramping or feeling fatigue.


All diet plans must also include proper hydration. Without intake of water, recovery and performance will hinder. Athletes who get dehydrated may feel fatigue and muscle cramping. Good hydration should be maintained every day, it must be consistent up to the date of the endurance event. During the event itself, hydration should be continued and lots of water should be consumed afterwards to gain back the fluids lost during the event. A professional endurance athletes' coach Hal Higdon says that most essential factor once the race has begun is hydration. 

Check out my diet plan and nutrition guide.