Everyone is familiar with the idea of carb loading. If you have ever been around someone training for an endurance event, you’ve likely heard them say (as they reach for their third helping of bread with their pasta meal), “I’m carb loading for my race tomorrow.” While Glycogen stores are necessary to help with endurance training and events lasting longer than an hour, “carb loading” on a regular basis is not necessarily a priority, or the best source of fuel.
Every Day Diet
Most endurance athletes are constantly pushing their body’s physical and mental limit. While eating high sugar or high carb meals will help boost energy and state of mind, it is used as more of a quick fix. Eating a diet full whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and healthy proteins) will help your body stay healthy, strong and allow you to recover more quickly.
Antioxidant Rich Foods
Inflammation caused by prolonged endurance training or exercise will increase the production of free radicals that cause fatigue, soreness and over time injury and illness. By properly refueling after training sessions with additional vitamins and minerals, not just protein and carb replenishment, it will help offset the free radicals.
Instead of reaching for a bag of skittles to satisfy your sweet tooth, try a bowl of fresh berries: Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are all loaded with Vitamins A, C & E – all antioxidant rich minerals. They are also loaded with potassium and magnesium, essential electrolytes that are depleted during endurance training, in particular with excessive sweat.
Sweet potatoes, spinach and asparagus are all packed with vitamins and minerals and when cooked their antioxidant properties are enhanced.
If you are looking to boost your meal with some spice and flavor, try adding one or more of the following to your food: Garlic, curry, cinnamon or ginger to naturally reduce inflammation.
Post workout recovery and daily diet
While your pre-and post workout nutrition is very important to your performance to promote energy before/during and recovery after – eating a regular diet full of nutrient rich properties is just as important.
Eat REAL food. Leave the processed, added sugar foods behind and your body and performance improvements will thank you!