BY JASON JOHNSON
While training for the Navy SEAL Fitness challenge back in May, I researched a few of the top foods to fuel endurance athletes. If you’re currently doing intense training, or just need a little extra to get you through your workouts, consider these power foods for endurance and high intensity training. I have kept all these in my food rotation:
1) Quinoa: (pronounced Keen-wah) It’s an ancient high-energy grain from South America. The Incas used it to increase the stamina of their warriors and allow them to run longer distances at high altitudes. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids, making it a perfect meal for vegetarians concerned with their protein intake.
2) Kale: Kale contains high levels of vitamins A, B6, C and K, iron, calcium and loaded with antioxidants. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Low-grade inflammation resulting from exercise-induced muscle damage is a daily nuisance for many endurance athletes.
3) Oatmeal: This is a great source of complex carbs. It’s easily digested, high in fiber, and is a low-glycemic index food which provides long-lasting energy. This is the ideal breakfast before an endurance event. I like adding cinnamon, walnuts or pecans, honey and raisins.
4) Green Tea: A University of Birmingham, England study suggested a strong possibility that green tea extract could delay fatigue during prolonged moderate-intensity efforts.
5) Cherries: Loaded with antioxidants, cherries have also been shown to enhance athletic performance. In a study conducted at the University of Vermont, competitive rowers who added cherry juice to their diets experienced significantly less muscle soreness and strength loss after taking a test designed to cause muscle damage than did a group of fellow rowers who received a placebo.
6) Bananas: Bananas are a perfect compliment to your bowl of pre-competition oatmeal. A banana delivers 2 important things for athletes: carbs and potassium. More than 30 g of carbs and about 400 mg of potassium. Athletes lose potassium through sweat during exercise
Until next time, stay healthy and stay active,
Jason M. Johnson, ACE-CPT