Demystifying Sports Nutrition

A diet that is laden with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables will slow the aging process and its effects on performance. Photo: Scott Draper | Competitor.com

You Need To Eat Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our brains and muscles, so endurance athletes need to eat them. Period.

“Humans can store plenty of fat and protein but our carb storage is very low, and it’s stored locally and not shared,” says Benardot. “So, we tend to run out of glycogen carbohydrates quickly with the muscles that use it the most.”

Austin doesn’t let her endurance athletes’ carbohydrate intake drop below 50 percent of their total daily calorie intake, no matter what. Brown recommends that 60 to 65 percent of calories come from carbs. Applegate gets more specific and assigns amounts based on training: For a runner averaging 55 to 60 miles per week, she recommends seven grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight. Her suggestion increases to eight, nine or 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight for triathletes.

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