Carbo-loading the night before a big event, together with protein and antioxidant recovery meals afterward, have become the status quo for many endurance athletes in terms of their diet. But what about the rest of the time?
Are there certain foods for endurance that athletes should work into their regular diet to help them prepare for the big events? As any savvy athlete or trainer might have guessed, of course there are. With that in mind, here are five great foods for endurance athletes to eat on a regular basis to maintain peak performance.
1 - Bananas
Bananas are an amazing food; they are a fantastic source of both potassium and B6 and work to regulate digestion. In addition to all of that, they are a good source of lost electrolytes and they taste fantastic.
2 – Chia
There’s a good reason why Aztec runners used chia one thousand years ago while covering long distances in the Mexican desert. They aid in the retention of nutrients and in the hydration of the body. On top of that, they are nutrient rich, containing both a high level of essential fatty acids.
3 – Lean Protein
First of all, every athlete needs to maintain a diet that is rich in lean protein. The body’s muscles need protein to repair themselves, and to aid in your overall recovery. Remember – lean protein extends beyond boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Try to work some fish and lean beef into rotation to get additional nutrients, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. For vegetarians who may be looking to get additional protein into the diet, reach for a protein supplement like spirulina.
4 - Oats
Oatmeal is very high in soluble fiber, combats elevated cholesterol, and provides slow-release complex carbohydrates to fuel the body’s engine throughout the day, whether there are workouts in the schedule out or not. Oatmeal is also naturally high in B vitamins and antioxidants.
5 – Antioxidant Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Cherries, goji berries, kale, beets, carrots, and the list goes on and on. Generally speaking, the darker the color it has, the more rich in antioxidants the fruit or vegetable actually is.
Antioxidants are important to endurance athletes, as they help to repair the cellular damage done by free radicals while protecting against further damage. Antioxidant-rich foods are also typically nutrient-dense and loaded with vitamins as well.
Endurance athletes who feel as though they are not getting enough antioxidants from their diet should consider an antioxidant supplement like Hawaiian Astaxanthin which is a great source of antioxidants and overall nutrition.
Getting the Most From Your Diet Is Easy
Everything listed in this article is delicious, inexpensive, and easy to work into one’s everyday diet. And while many of these endurance foods may not make it directly into an athlete’s pre-competition or competition-recovery plans, they are great for any athlete to consume on a regular basis as an investment in health and greater performance.