Eat for Endurance

A pasta supper before a race is traditional because athletes believe that carbohydrate loading is the best way to prepare their muscles. A study from the University of Texas shows that taking foods with both carbohydrates and proteins increases an athlete�s endurance more than eating just carbohydrates (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2003).

When you exercise vigorously for more than two hours, you need to take extra fluid, salt and calories. The best way to do this is to drink whatever fluid tastes best to you, and eat any food that includes plenty of salt. Many studies show that taking in extra carbohydrates during an event prolongs endurance, so athletes often eat oranges and other fruits, cookies, sandwiches and any other carbohydrate-rich food that they like. This study shows that they will have even greater endurance if they also take in high-protein food such as cheese, meat, chicken or fish. During prolonged, intense exercise, your muscles are damaged and the extra protein supplies protein building blocks called amino acids that can help to limit muscle breakdown and hasten recovery.

Checked 9/29/08

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