NUTRITION – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AS PART OF YOUR TRAINING PLAN
December 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Knowing about nutrition and what to eat is an extremely integral part of endurance sports. What you eat can have a dramatic effect on your mood and running performance, so it is worthwhile to take some time and thought to what you put in your body when you want to perform well. The most well planned and executed training plans can end quickly on race day if the athlete neglects any and all aspects of nutrition. That being said one can also get lost in the amount of information that is currently present in regards to what you should eat and how much. Athletes can by overwhelmed with the amount of information on television, magazines, race expos, training camps and the internet of so called healthy energy foods that over the years have become a multi-million dollar industry.
The simple truth is that the foods that work best for most ahletes are the same ones our hunter-gatherer ancestors ingested: lean meats and fish from wild sources, vegetable protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables that provide whole carbohydrates and natural unsaturated fats found in nuts, fish and vegetables. Not only are these foods not processed but they are mainly alkaline in nature thus help fight inflammation in the body.
Once you are able to improve your lifestyle diet you can start incorporating training specific or race specific nutritional products such as sports drinks, gels, bars and other powders that provide training/racing benefits. The number of products in the market in this category is too many to mention in this article but CK SPORTS supplies a majority of the industry leaders. The key is to experiment with these products during training so you know they agree with your system and when it is necessary to take them.
In general you should incorporate the following points to help improve your nutritional habits:
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they will provide you with most of your daily carbohydrates and they help keep body inflammation at a minimum.
Eat smaller meals more frequently which aids in proper digestion, doesn’t shock your insulin levels and stops you from over-eating.
Avoid saturated and trans fats as they increase inflammation in the body and are one of the causes of cardiovascular disease.
Eat lean protein as this will help you recover from harder workouts, promote lean muscle mass which burns the most calories and balances out blood sugar levels.
Avoid high-glycemic foods and drinks other than when your body needs them which is immediately before, during and after workouts.
Stay hydrated with water your main drink of choice.
Monosaturated fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil, canola oil and avocados are the healthiest fats to consume.
With all the information out there, if nutrition is a main concern for you, it is important to search out a qualified sports nutritionist who can help you make informed choices and limit those choices that are hampering your performance.
Some of the information in this article was provided by Dr. Jake Oergel; an accomplished Ironman triathlete who has competed in over 75 endurance events.