Endurance Sports Nutrition: 5 Nutrition Tips for Beginner Athletes

Nutrition Tips for Beginner Athletes
By Andrea Karwandy, 05 May 2016

When just starting out in any endurance-based activity, one of the hardest things to get right is nutrition. We all know what needs to be done in terms of the training but when it comes to nutrition, it can take a little longer to figure out. And when you are just starting out, it can be that much more difficult. Read on to learn nutrition tips for beginner athletes. The problem is that without a proper nutrition plan to support your efforts you will find that progress and performance will be affected. It’s a well-known fact that food is what fuels your body.

What you intake before, during and after a rigorous workout will determine how your body reacts, how well it recuperates and how ready it is too perform again when that next training session or event comes around. It's not all just about carbs, the balance of macronutrients - carbohydrates, fats and proteins - all play important roles. There are many steps you can take throughout your day to make sure that your nutrition is ‘up to snuff’ to face your endurance workout or training session.

Here are 5 tips to make sure that your nutrition is adequate for the long haul:

1. Carbohydrates While a low-carb diet works for some athletes, it may not work for everyone. Don’t be afraid to include some healthy carbs in your pre-workout meal. Just make sure that you time it right. Stick to your usual dietary regime before events, and if required, have some carbohydrate during or after the event to replenish glycogen. Carbohydrates will delay fatigue, allowing you to work at higher levels for a longer period of time. If your body isn't getting sufficient carbohydrates, it won't be able to continue to perform optimally during an event or physical activity.

2. Fats While carbohydrates are your main source of fuel during higher intensity exercises, don’t negate the importance of fat. When doing lower intensity exercises, fat will be the primary source of fuel. Your body is able to store a limited amount of energy from carbs. Once it has been used up, you will begin to feel tired and will not perform up to your standards. Fat is able to provide more energy than carbohydrates, so they will fuel your body for a longer period of time and help to prolong the time before you begin to feel fatigued. Make sure that you work on incorporating the good fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated - into your diet. Examples of these would be nuts, olive oil, salmon and avocados.

3. Protein Protein isn’t key during a workout, but will play a pivotal role in your recovery afterwards, as it is essential for your muscle growth. If you don’t consume enough protein during your day, or before an intense workout, your body will begin to borrow amino acids from your muscle tissue, which results in less muscle mass. Consuming protein after a workout is also important because it will increase your muscle recovery significantly. It’s recommended that you consume a combination of protein and carbohydrates directly after a workout for optimal recovery. Some great sources of protein are fish, poultry, beans, eggs and nuts and of course Nuzest Clean Lean Protein powder. One of the best times to use our protein powder is in your post-workout shake.

4. Sugar The most important factor to getting the aforementioned macro-nutrients is to make sure they are coming from the right place. You may be getting more than you bargain for when you reach for an energy bar or supplements. Those are often laden with sugar and can counteract everything you are working towards. They may give you energy in the short-term but should not be relied on long-term, as that instant rush can also lead to an instant crash, perhaps at the worst time possible.

5. Hydrate The benefits to water are countless. In order for your body to perform optimally you need to be properly hydrated. There are many serious symptoms that can come from dehydration, including cramps, dizzy spells, fatigue and headaches. Sports drinks can also come in handy when you’re in the midst of a long workout. Just make sure you’re reading the label and watch for added sugar or caffeine, both of which may have negative side effects and lead to an energy crash. Water is the best way to hydrate yourself. You can add some lemon or cucumber to give you extra flavor and added nutritional benefits.

Summary Whether you’re working out to lose weight, to run that marathon or to compete in that big competition, it’s just as important to focus on your food as on your workout. It will allow you to push yourself further, go longer and reduce the risk of injury. A well-balanced diet chock-full of nutrients is the best way to ensure that you are staying healthy so that your body can work at its optimal level. Just remember, food shouldn’t be a hassle or a chore. You don’t need to do without as long as you are making the best choices. Don’t skip meals, but time them right, and don’t forget to drink your water!

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