Thursday, January 18, 2007
Nutrition for the Endurance Athlete
Author Jim Cunningham, a USA Cycling Level 2 Coach, in my opinion is the best Cycling Coach in the Southeast and one of the best in the nation. Jim has multiple years of experience working with elite level athletes to the recreational cyclist. For more information on Jim's coaching programs and philosophy, email Jim at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is Jim's article concerning nutrition for the endurance athlete:
"Guidelines concerning proper nutrition for an endurance athlete:
1) Low-carbohydrate diets are no good for endurance athletes.
2) There are no bad foods...
3) Your timing of certain choices (when you eat them) will improve your performances, fitness, recovery, & weight loss. I.E. High-glycemic foods, especially in combination, should be eaten 3-4 hours before and/or within 30 minutes post-workout (to replenish muscle glycogen and speed recovery).
1) Limit processed carbohydrate sources (pasta, muffins, bread, cereal, etc.) to 3-4 hours before workouts and post-workout (first 30 minutes after) as much as possible. At other times attempt to consume non-root vegetables (avoid carrots, beets, etc.) and eat fresh broccoli, beans, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, greens and so on (fresh when possible) and fruits (apples, oranges, grapes, pears, plums, peaches, kiwi, etc...). Avoid bananas and the like. Also, choose fibrous grains such as regular oatmeal, long-grain rice, whole grain breads, etc. Choose carbohydrates you like.
2) Choose lean proteins. All fish, shellfish, chicken, LEAN beef, venison, firm or extra-firm tofu, etc. Avoid fatty protein sources like hamburger, sausage, fried chicken choices, fatty steaks, etc.
3) Fat is good! Do not avoid fat but eat it sparingly (in each meal) as it has 2.5 times the calories of carbohydrate & protein. Use olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, avocado, nuts (only a handful), quality dark chocolate, seeds, etc. Avoid animal fats, hydrogenated oil, trans-fats, etc.
4) Alcohol. Wine is fine... as is beer and hard liquor. BUT, keep it to one drink per day most of the time and two on occasion (once or twice per month).
5) Concerning snacks. Think 200 calories and think quality. If it is late at night, choose food with some fat as it helps us feel full and does not impact insulin production greatly (unless in large quantities). Pair your choice with lean protein and quality carbohydrate. I.E. Green apple with 1.5-2 tablespoons peanut butter, OR Clif Bar with 8 almonds, OR Granola Bar & small handful sunflower seeds.
6) "Forbidden Food" To begin with, there is no such thing. We must eat what we like. If you avoid treats you like, eventually you will not be able to stop yourself from eating them... Whatever it is, donuts, DQ Blizzards, Meat-lovers pizza, cake, cookies, eggnog... Keep it to once to twice per month max & keep the quantity small. I.E. 2 regular-size cookies, 1-2 donuts, 1 small or medium Blizzard, etc... Along these lines, 3 or more drinks are o.k. on special occasions provided no more than once per month!
7) Back to the pre-workout meals & post workout meals. 3-4 hours pre-workout, especially longer & harder effort plans, it is appropriate to have a higher portion of carbohydrate & it should come from lesser-quality sources, things that digest quicker than fruits, vegetables, & high-fiber grains. I.E. Spaghetti, tomato sauce & bread or baked potato & some cheese with a piece of chicken or beef. Also, right after and up to 30 minutes post-workout it is important to replenish fluids, electrolytes & glycogen/glucose. Keep to mostly carbohydrate with some protein as above and choose fast-digesting ones such as: 2 Clif Bars & a muffin OR scrambled eggs, pancakes & syrup, etc.
8) Drink plenty of water. All day long ingest water especially with meals and during exercise. At least 48 oz. per day. Never confuse dehydration with weight loss."