Food & Nutrition

You Are What You Eat: Tips On Improving Endurance

by On Aug 22, 2012
You Are What You Eat: Tips On Improving Endurance

How you eat directly affects what you are able to get out of your body. Your body has specific responses to different foods, depending on the type, quantity and frequency of consumption. Not all foods going into your body will help you get the most out of it from an endurance standpoint and this could be the difference between racing a personal best performance or falling by the wayside.

Your body is a very clever machine that functions in a certain way based on hormonal responses to the food that is being put into it. If you choose the wrong kinds of food, your body’s ability to perform optimally may be compromised. If you want to improve body composition, have more stamina and be able to tap into an efficient source of fuel, you will have to better manage your food intake.

Here are some reasons why your eating and training habits may not be helping you get much improvement in your endurance performance.

Making poor choices of food. Going for food that is high in starch or sugar will cause blood glucose to rise and increases your reliance on your carbohydrate stores, which are limited in supply. This ends up turning you into a carbohydrate-burning machine that needs refueling very often.

Advice: Choose to eat green vegetables, they are carbohydrates and do not affect blood glucose.

You Are What You Eat

Not managing your insulin. The hormone insulin is meant to regulate blood glucose and also causes you to stop burning fat as fuel. Constant high levels of insulin production can lead to insulin resistance, which prolongs your inability to burn fat and is a known cause of serious health issues like type two diabetes. Suppressed fat burning leads to high carbohydrate dependency that will deplete your limited stores fast, causing you to hit the wall sooner.

Advice: Avoid grains as they will cause your insulin levels to spike.

You Are What You Eat

Doing your long sessions too hard. Long training sessions completed at a relatively high intensity will leave your carbohydrate stores depleted and have you craving for calories to be quickly replaced – most often in the form of starch and sugar. Putting carbohydrates back in takes time to be absorbed, transported and used to aid recovery since the immediate stores are used up, so you recover slower.

Advice: Slow down on your long runs and take the time to enjoy it.

You Are What You Eat

Scheduling too much specific training too soon. If your body is not ready to handle the specific training being done too soon and too often – it breaks down faster than it can repair causing you to have to take in more fuel both in quantity and frequency. Without solid base conditioning to improve tolerance to training, your body ends up developing inefficient systems internally that make it unable to sustain a good quality of training.

Advice: Spend more time on the basics, such as easy to steady intensity runs and look for hills to build a solid base.

The way you train, what you eat and how much food is consumed does affect what your body is able to put out. By addressing the causes listed above, you can program your body to work for you instead of against you allowing for big improvements in endurance performance.

Training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012? Watch this space as Journey Fitness Company will be delivering more tips to help you train to reach your target. To register for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012, please visit www.marathonsingapore.com

Jonathan Fong is the Director and Co Founder of Journey Fitness Company.

With over 15 years of endurance sports experience, Jonathan, who was Singaporeʼs National Record Holder and Triathlon Champion between 1996 to 1998, was awarded the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) Meritorious Award over the same period. He was the champion for the 1997 South-East Asian Triathlon and was placed first in the Singapore Biathlon (Open) in 2001. Jonathan has also competed in numerous triathlons from Sarawak to Los Angeles.

Using his experience of elite level racing and his qualifications as a sports scientist, Jonathan has worked with and coached many local and international athletes to help them achieve personal bests. Through Journey Fitness Company, he now also supports multinational organizations to improve the health and well being of their employees by implementing strategic programmes that support both talent retention and performance.

Jonathan was born in Singapore and has been involved in the triathlon scene since the age of 14.

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