How do you improve endurance? At its simplest, the answer is you train longer and harder. If your goal, for example, is to run a marathon, the only way to prepare is to run – little by little, week by week, as you push yourself to run longer and further in training, your endurance will improve.
However, simply piling on the miles while doing nothing to address your diet will typically wind up with you tired, injured, dispirited. This type of training – whether you are looking to increase your endurance for running, swimming, or biking – exacts a heavy toll on the body. Not only will you need to eat more, to replace the calories you are burning in your workouts, you will also need to carefully consider what you are eating.
Simply adding extra junk calories will actually undermine your training efforts. Many people think that if they are working out a lot they can eat whatever they want – indeed, it’s not unheard of for athletes training for a long race to actually put on weight because they are so cavalier about their eating.
To maximize the benefits from the training you are doing you need to pay serious attention to your diet. The most crucial aspect of your nutrition is what you eat after a workout.
Post workout nutrition has improved a lot from the “pint down the pub” after a run. Your body needs three main things after a tough workout – hydration, carbs, and protein. There is a window of opportunity – around twenty to thirty minutes – when your muscles are ready to absorb essential nutrients at a rapid rate. After that the process slows down.
The first priority is therefore fluids – that’s why recovery formulas are always in the form of drinks or shakes. You have to get fluids in fast, and they are also the best way to transport the other key nutrients to your body.
Adding a recovery formula that includes both carbs and protein – ideally in a 3-1 ratio – will ensure that your body gets the fuel it needs to recover effectively from a tough workout.