Exercising for 90 minutes or more take a considerable amount of endurance, especially when the exercise is carried out at high intensity. To maintain the top level of performance you will need a diet that can sustain your peak and allow you to recover a quickly as possible afterwards. If you are keen to improve your performance levels then follow the steps below, as we uncover top nutrition tips for athletes.
Load up on Carbs
Without question carbs are an athlete’s most important fuel. The body has the ability to change these carbs into a form of sugar called glycogen and stores them in your muscles ready for future usage. During exercise your body will utilize the stored glycogen, which is generally enough to provide the power you need for 90 minutes. However, there are times when you need energy to be available for longer than 90 minutes. In these cases, follow the advice below:
- Load carbohydrates for between 3 to 4 days before your event. This can assist to top up your glycogen storage levels.
- Switch to a diet that contains around 70% of its calories from carbs. Vegetables, pasta, fruit, cereals and breads are all great sources of taking on carbs in this way.
- Eat your last meal 3–4 hours before your big event. This will give your stomach a chance to empty properly.
- Take on lost carbs, water and minerals during peak exercise sessions. Fruit and fruit juices are excellent choices as they act as refined carbohydrates and enter your bloodstream quickly.
Get the Right Amount of Protein
The complexities of the body demand certain levels of protein for optimum athletic performance. Protein itself doesn’t provide the energy that you need, well not much of it at least; however, you need it to help to maintain muscle balance. Milk is seen as one of the best recovery fluids after vigorous exercise. It provides the body with good levels of both protein and carbohydrates.
Give Fat a Break
Marathon runners will find that their body’s turn to its fat reserves once carbohydrate levels begin to get low. It is useful to remember to avoid fatty foods, especially on the day on an event as it will likely upset your stomach.
Drink Early and Often
To avoid dehydration, you need to take on just the right amount of fluids. This is especially the case if your event takes place in warm or hot weather. The golden rule is to take on fluids early. Waiting until you are parched can often be too late as you will already have entered the dangerous dehydration stage. Urine colour is the tell-tale sign of good hydration. If your urine is a brighter shade of yellow or dark colour, then there is a good chance that you are falling short in the hydration stakes.
Replace Lost Electrolytes
When you exercise, you produce sweat? Sweating is nature’s way of removing fluid levels from the body. You need to be very careful to make sure you are topping up on those levels. Sports drinks and electrolytes are a great way to keep the balance right. Some people also consider topping sports drinks up with water if they find they are losing too much fluid during an event. Keep these tips in mind when you take on exercise and you will find your training and events are much easier on your body.