5 Nutrition Tips for Endurance Athletes

When athletes are training 15-20hrs/week, the focus is on the training plan and hours, timing results and how the body feels. But when it comes to food, sometimes it gets a bit tricky. With busy lifestyles, travelling, work, family all this can get in the way and trigger some bad habits like eating while you work, skipping meals, or grabbing last minute meals without making sure all the necessary macronutrients are included.
Eat a healthy and quality daily diet
Yes, you can have your bars and gels and sports drinks when training, but the rest of the time focus on healthy, natural foods.
Reassess your diet if:
-You tend to get injuries or illnesses
-You’re having problems with maintaining your ideal weight- whether it’s weight loss or gain.

You’re on the ball if:
-Your plate includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein and healthy complex carbohydrates.
-Avoid processed and junk foods and unhealthy fats.
-Limit your intake of alcohol during the weeks of intense training plans
Eat enough especially with breakfast
Get started with a quality breakfast which includes splitting up the calories between pre-workout, during and post-workout. You need to fuel up for your training session and also recover. Breakfast should make up at least a 1/3 to 1/2 of your daily calories, this will avoid feeling tired and super hungry.
Reassess your diet if:
-You struggle during your training sessions
-All you think about is food
-By dinner time you are starving

You’re on the ball if:
-Your performance level improves and your energy levels are stable.
-You recover quickly
-You don’t crave sweets too often
Plan a meal timing schedule
You have to organize your nutrition plan according to your training plan. If you train under two hours/day, you won’t be depleting your body of carbohydrates as much as if you train over three hours/day. For long training sessions, make sure you eat 200-300g of carbs 1-3 hrs pre-training. For under two hour sessions you can rely more liquid-based nutrition smoothies or sports drinks. Also make sure you eat 10-25g of protein and 1g of carbs/kg of bodyweight 30-60mins post-workout, to support recovery.
Reassess your diet if:
-Your energy levels are low and you feel sluggish during training
-You have GI issues during training sessions (consuming too many carbs at once)

You’re on the ball if:
-You feel satiated and have good energy levels and feel strong during training.
Pay attention to macronutrients
Fueling your body well on a daily basis, including all the essential macronutrients will look after your body, energy levels, joints and muscle health and recovery. Endurance athletes might have to increase their carbohydrates consumption slightly, but make sure you aim for 45-65% of daily calories from carbs, 15-20% from protein and 20-35% from healthy fat.
Reassess your diet if:
-You feel low on energy before, during and after your training sessions
-You often feel fatigue

You’re on the ball if:
-You recover quickly after your training
-You rarely get sick or injured
Don’t forget about daily hydration
Hydration affects the digestion, nutrient absorption, healthy skin, brain power and focus. You have to make sure you maintain a good balance of fluids and electrolytes on a daily basis as it affects your overall health. So, when you’re dealing with endurance training sessions, hydration is essential. Pay attention to your thirst, alternate your intake between plain water, minerals and low-sugar electrolytes drinks.
Reassess your diet if:
-You feel fatigued, get headaches, nauseated, have dry lips and throat and have a hard time to concentrate.
-You hardly urinate and when you do it is dark color.

You’re on the ball if:
-You are aware of your daily hydration needs based on your training plans, the weather and humidity.
Try to eat fresh and natural foods even when travelling. Make sure you include all the macronutrients in every meal, don’t skip meals, and include a nutritious healthy breakfast and snacks.
Enjoy your training and races!

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!