Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Boosting energy levels for endurance events...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Boosting energy levels for endurance events...

Boosting Energy Levels.........If you are attempting any sort of endurance event, it's important that you are eating enough quality food to make sure that you perform at peak performance. Here are a few tips....

The starting point.......The secret to sustaining your dietary changes is to make gradual adjustments. You do not need to make wholesale changes in one go. It's far easier to swap and add bits to your diet every few weeks or so than emptying the cupboards and starting again!

Phase 1. Always eat breakfast.........This is fundamental if you really want to commit to boosting energy levels and improving concentration. You should aim to eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking - even if you don't feel hungry. This is the most important meal of the day. Eat some protein with complex carbohydrates to balance blood sugar levels. Sugary cereals are out of the question.

-       Oats with skimmed milk and almonds
-       Greek yoghurt with fruit and seeds
-       Wholegrain toast with peanut butter
-       Ryvita / oat cakes with smoked salmon or cottage cheese
-       Scrambled / poached eggs on rye bread
-       Omelette
-       Muesli (no added sugar) with added nuts

Phase 2. Eat vegetables with every meal.............Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables grown above the ground or fibrous carbohydrates are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. This means they release energy slowly and help maintain blood sugar levels. You should be aiming to eat at least 2 portions of fruit and 3-6 portions of vegetables a day.

Phase 3. Eat complex carbohydrates AND limit sugar intake.............This is one of the hardest changes to make to your daily diet but is one that will have a huge impact. Carbohydrates are divided up by the response they have on blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of your blood glucose response to a particular food. This means that if you eat a high GI or simple carbohydrate food such as white bread, your blood sugar levels rise rapidly. As insulin is released in proportion to the GI of your meal; a high GI meal will release a large amount of insulin into the blood. Insulin works by storing blood glucose in the cells, often in the form of fat. As glucose is removed from the blood for storage, energy levels drop and you start to feel hungry again.

Many sweet tasting and starchy carbohydrates are high GI. Refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, flour and processed cereals have a high GI and often contain few vitamins and minerals.

High GI foods...Eat only before or after exercise...White bread, White Rice, White Pasta, Parsnips,
Carrots, Couscous, Baked potato, Honey, Nutrigrain, Bagel, Pineapple, Rice cakes, Sweets

Low GI, energy dense foods...Eat in moderation...Wholemeal Pita bread, Rye bread, Oats, Spaghetti, Quinoa, Brown rice, Basmati rice, Banana, Apple, Pear, Sweet potato, Lentils, Beans (broad, kidney etc)

Low GI, low energy foods...Eat regularly...Asparagus, Aubergine, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Courgette, Cabbage, Kale, Lettuce, Green beans, Mushrooms, Peppers, Spinach, Onion.

Foods and behaviours to avoid...
Skipping meals
Snacking on refined carbohydrates
Adding sugar to hot drinks
Overcooking vegetables
Inadequate protein intake
Eating processed high-sugar foods such as chocolate, sweets, cakes, biscuits
Large portions sizes of pasta, rice or potatoes
Eating a low fibre diet
Excessive caffeine (3-4 cups a day)

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