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Training for an athletic goal should not only be thought of as the miles we log, but also the nutrition—what, when, and how much—we consume daily. A good nutrition plan supports the energetic demands of you training load, and as your training load changes, so should your nutrition. By changing how you eat daily, you can influence:
- Mental clarity
- Energy levels
But how does it all work?
Your body adapts to the demands you place on it, and the digestive system is no exception. In as little as three days, you can alter the composition of your digestive tract to better absorb nutrients and produce energy, all while decreasing GI distress… just by changing your diet!
Here’s how to implement our Eating is Training philosophy into your daily diet:
Eat for the work required. Have an upcoming training block of a lot of high intensity, high volume days? Increase calorie and carbohydrate consumption to ensure your body has adequate fuel. Entering a lighter load week or your off-season? Reduce caloric intake and limit processed carbohydrates to avoid packing on unwanted pounds.
Strategically plan your nutrient timing. Timing is key! Reduce intake of fat, fiber, and protein before workouts, but increase their consumption the rest of the day. Carbs are king for high intensity or very prolonged exercise since your body prefers this fuel source. If you have more than one daily training session, be sure to top off glycogen levels in between. Nutrition for good recovery is critical during heavy training, and getting sufficient protein to promote muscle repair is essential!
Train the gut. Training with key nutrients (carbohydrate, electrolytes, fluids) during activity will increase the gut’s absorptive capacity of those nutrients, thereby reducing the risk of GI issues during your main event.
Train your event-specific nutrition plan. Leave nothing up to chance race day! Know what you will have before, during, and after (have a plan) but also practice the plan! See what you tolerate best. Know which forms (solid, liquid, gel) and which flavors sit well with you. Mimicking the conditions of your event as closely as possible gives you the greatest chance of nailing it when it really counts.