Fast Fuelling

Physiologist Colin Thomas offers some key tips on the right fuels for big performances.

Controlling Blood Sugar

If our blood sugar level is unstable from eating too many simple carbohydrates and high sugar foods, the body will store more body fat which can of course impair performance due to weight gain. Also if blood sugar drops during exercise the athlete can experience what is known as ‘hitting the wall’.  

Therefore a good diet of complex carbohydrate such as potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and oats should make up the majority of an endurance athletes diet.

Maintaining Hydration Levels 

The human body is approximately 60% water. There is an argument that you should ‘drink when thirsty’ or that you can train your body to perform on a lower water intake. However, water is the main component of blood, which delivers oxygen, nutrients and hormones to cells at the same time removing waste products. So if you’re losing water to sweat evaporation without replacing it, the chances are, you are reducing your blood volume and hence decreasing performance.

Athletes working intensely in the heat can lose 2.5 litres of sweat per hour. The best way to replace this is with an isotonic drink supplying the body with electrolytes. Of course even when you are not exercising you should maintain a good level of hydration at all times. 

Consuming Enough Fruit & Veg

There are many vital nutrients required in a healthy diet, some especially important for an endurance athlete. Fruit and vegetables are abundant in many of these vitamins and minerals which are essential for energy metabolism, carrying oxygen, removing waste products and oxitative stress on the body.

You have heard of ‘super foods’ and antioxidants, right? We all know the recommended minimum intake is 5 a day, endurance athletes should be shooting for nearly double this. 

Don’t delay, make a start today.

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