NUTRITION NEEDS OF ENDURANCE ATHLETES

Endurance athletes represent different sports like running, cycling, swimming and marathons. Thus, the nutrition requirements of endurance athletes vary among athletes between different sports, during different training session and competitions. Adequate nutrition is a critical factor that determines athletic performance. During any endurance event carbohydrates, proteins, fluids, electrolytes and other nutritional requirements are increased depending upon the intensity, duration of sport and environmental conditions. Depletion of glycogen stores and electrolytes are a major cause of fatigue and muscle cramps. Therefore, maintaining optimum levels is a must. Studies indicate that carbohydrates are not only essential for peak performance but lack of glucose can hinder the synthesis of acetylcholine, one of the brain’s vital neurotransmitters. Endurance athletes are required to consume between 3-12 grams of carbohydrates per day during training and competitions. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise decreases glycogen stores, so the need for carbohydrates is high for all types of endurance sports. 

For endurance athletes, carbohydrates alone are not sufficient to promote recovery. Co-ingestion of proteins has demonstrated better recovery in terms of reducing muscle soreness and damage. Protein is another important nutrient required by endurance athletes. Since muscle-tissue breakdown is common during endurance exercise, athletes need more proteins to repair the tissues. Prolonged endurance training sessions cause serious muscle damage and loss. Endurance athletes utilize proteins differently as compared to strength athletes. Their body synthesizes mitochondrial proteins where carbohydrates and proteins are broken down to meet peak energy needs. To replenish lost nutrient stores, repair damaged muscles, proteins intake is mandatory for them. Supply of amino acids to the body post an intense endurance session provides muscle recovery and improves endurance capacity. 

Any lack of nutrition might have a direct impact on the muscles, joints, aerobic capacity and adverse effect on endurance and stamina. Steadfast Nutrition aims to assist in meeting the nutrient needs to speed up recovery time, support immune health, prevent fatigue and meet your desired fitness goal. 

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