Why is healthy eating important for endurance athletes?

I speak to many endurance athletes who tell me they have taken up doing endurance events initially to lose weight & continue to eat all the bad foods they ate before.

I know it’s a well used saying but you really are what you eat.

Think of your car. If it’s a petrol car, would you put diesel in it & expect it to perform for you!?
No, you’d have to have the tank pumped out so that you didn’t damage the workings of the car!

Our bodies are exactly the same, they are perfectly designed to perform optimally, we just need to treat them right by choosing what we put in them. As endurance athletes we ask our body to perform in Sport’s car mode, so you need to give it the right fuel for Sport’s car performance.

Building on the car analogy, let’s look at what our bodies really need so they purr like a finely tuned engine on race day.
Just like a car, there are a number of things that are needed for good performance.

Proteins are needed to build and repair the muscles which give you strength you need to excel in your chosen endurance sport.
Carbohydrates are so important to an endurance athlete. They are the rocket fuel giving you energy to train & race.

Dietary fats are essential to give you energy when you’re training aerobically and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm on those cold winter days. Fats also help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too. They control the post exercise inflammation pathways too.

Vitamins & minerals are like the additives that go into fuel & oil to enhance performance. Only needed in really small amounts but critical. Best obtained through real food rather than supplements.

So with all that in mind, the next time you go to grab that 3pm highly refined snack with very little nutrient value with your coffee, ask yourself is it fuelling or failing your next training session or endurance event.

What could you replace it with that’s tasty and better serves you?

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