You want to improve performance in your chosen endurance sport.
You want better recovery and less soreness.
You want better all-round health.
Choose your own training adventure!
Whether you're just getting started on the road to fitness or have been competing in sport for a while, concentrating on your endurance and stamina is going to help you improve your fitness levels and athletic performance.
As with any exercise being prepared for the training session and the recovery that follows is crucial for increasing your physical fitness. As well as focusing on factors like sufficient sleep, fuelling performance and recovery requires quality nutrition in your diet. The range of products from Multipower are aimed at supplying you a range of options to fit in around your own specific diet and training plans, to help you reach your goals more easily.
"You don't only increase endurance during a training session. If you want to go for a run in the evening, you can help the body prepare for increased performance at breakfast and lunch."
Foundation sports nutrition
Nutrition and Training go hand in hand
You can only successfully increase performance and support your health if you eat and drink the right things. A balanced diet and proper hydration are key, as everyone knows, but this is where the most mistakes happen. Here we'll cover the fundamentals of sports nutrition and help you avoid the pitfalls of poor nutrition.
Note: Your diet should reflect your needs, the information below is aimed at those looking to increase performance, if you're your training to lose some body fat or build muscle then you should refer to the nutrition info in the “Losing weight" or "Building muscle" sections.
Obviously your diet should be generally balanced, contain lots of fruit and vegetables, whole-grain products and high-quality proteins and fats. For sports performance, three things are particularly important.
They are the most important fuel for the muscles when working hard. They're stored in the liver and muscle in the form of glycogen - but only in limited amounts. If you want to maintain a consistent performance level during exercise over extended periods, you should always start out with an optimal store of glycogen and keep topping it up.
Reductions in carbohydrate stores can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration and a drop off in your performance. We recommend snacks such as energy bars, dried fruit and bananas for when you're training, competing or recovering. The right sports supplements allow you to absorb the necessary amounts of carbohydrates, effectively, in an easy to consume form.
Protein supports muscle regeneration in the recovery phase. Having the right nutrients at hand after a competition or training is proven to optimise recovery. In a normal diet, protein foods must first be broken up before they can be split into amino acids which the body can then absorb - a process that takes a lot of time and energy. The specifically selected protein found in sports supplements do not require as much digestion, and some require none at all. This means they enter the blood quickly and provide the muscles with essential amino acids without burdening your digestive system. This makes them especially useful around training and as supplements for whole food proteins.
Dehydration very quickly harms your ability to exercise. Two litres of water a day is a good baseline, with the majority of the intake coming from plain water. Over longer workouts you should drink an additional 250-300 ml or so every 15 minutes. Isotonic drinks are a particularly good option, as they contain exactly the right concentrations of energy-giving carbohydrates and important minerals like sodium and potassium that aid hydration, speeding the movement of liquid out of the gut and into the body.
As an endurance athlete, you should balance nutrients and total calorie requirements as shown.
Individual adjustments must be made according to workout intensity and exercise frequency. If after work you prefer to relax rather than exercise, healthy fats and high-quality protein are preferable and carbs should be reduced.
Effective training for beginners
Stick with it, you will see the results!
Everyones motivation for taking up a sport or doing more exercise are different. Training increases fitness, improves bodyshape and quality of life of course, but it also helps reduce stress and even improves things like memory and mental performance. Whatever your reason for taking it up the key is to stick with it until the habit changes become second nature.
Motivation is high at the beginning but after a while everyone's enthusiasm takes a bit of a hit. The key here is to focus on your goals and the benefits that no doubt you are already experiencing.
It takes a while until the habit changes become part of your lifestyle but as they do you and those around you will notice the differences. The key is to focus on making the habit changes easy to follow. Joining a gym close to your home as opposed to a slightly flashier one that is not nearby or on your route to work for example will mean you go more often. Keeping initial goals achievable, but not too modest, will help you push yourself a little. Above all, keep it simple, keep it realistic and focus on the benefits.
Before you start it is a good idea to get a check up with your doctor, especially if it has been some time since you trained or did any sport and also if you have had health problems in the past. Secondly, look at any equipment that you might need. Specialist retailers can help with things like trainers, and you should focus on getting the minimum amount of equipment that will allow you to start training in a meaningful way.
Initially keep your training light, focus on your mobility and flexibility and the technique of whatever your chosen sport or activity is. Focusing on technique as opposed to performance will give you the foundation to better training in the future and will help you avoid injury.
Initially, increasing the amount of exercise is more important than increasing intensity. For beginners, interval training is an effective way to maximise your training time. Depending on your fitness level, for example, do one minute of running followed by one-minute at a much lower intensity. 15 repetitions take 30 minutes.
As you become fitter you can extend the duration of your training sessions and also lower the amount of rest intervals used, this way you're always making progress by stimulating the body to recover and pushing yourself to higher levels of fitness and performance.
Additional full-body workout
The body is a machine that is designed to do a variety of tasks from long runs to heavy lifting. To avoid overtraining and the pitfalls of working the body in only one way, it is a good idea to include an extra gym based full body workout.
Choose 4 to 6 exercises that involve pushing and pulling and also working your legs and complete 3 to 4 sets of each exercise. Keep the weight so it is manageable but challenging for repetitions of between 10-14 for each set. Performing these exercises in a Circuit (alternating between upper body and lower body exercises) can be an effective way to speed up your session and give the heart and lungs a workout.
Even if weight training doesn't interest you, this type of cross training will lower your risk of injury and the added strength will improve your quality of training and increase your performance in your given sport.
The right nutrition for advanced athletes
Carbohydrates are your fuel
There are many different factors involved in sports nutrition. In addition to how much you eat, the amounts of the different nutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fats are crucial. Ideally, 50-60% of the daily energy requirement should be carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20–30% fat.
Finally, the timing of foods and nutrients are increasingly being seen as a very important factor in performance nutrition. A specific element of this is the carbohydrate and protein requirements around training where fuelling and recovery requirements are at their highest. A significant quantity of your carbohydrate intake should fall in the hours before and after training to ensure you fuel both training and recovery. Protein can also aid the body's utilisation of carbohydrate and will speed recovery. Slower digesting whole food proteins are more easily tolerated after training with the more easily digested protein supplements used in the times just before and after training.
The calorie requirements for a sedentary person are normally somewhere between 1900 and 2100 calories per day, but with an hour or more training this can go up to approximately 3000 calories. As an endurance athlete, about 1650 calories should come from carbohydrates (which corresponds to a quantity of about 400g carbohydrates). Potatoes, pasta, muesli, fruit and vegetables, for example, are carbohydrates foods that can be consumed on a daily basis.
You should also pay special attention to your intake when on training camps and travelling to competitions. Here portable sources of carbohydrate that are going to remain safe to eat when you don't have access to a fridge are important. This is also one place where the convenience and palatability of sports supplements come into their own.
When you train hard and deplete the muscle, processes are initiated by the body to recover and repair the tissues, and also to make the body more able to cope with that stress in the future. This 'supercompensation' process is usually viewed in terms of repairing muscle tissue, but it also applies to the ability of the body to store carbohydrate.
Although quite limited, as opposed to body fat, the amount of carbohydrate the body is able to store can be increased by the cycle of depleting it with training and then restoring it with carbohydrate from the diet.
Pay attention to getting a decent supply of whole food starch sources with meals and emphasise carbohydrate intake around training from a mixture of food sources and, where useful, sports supplements like sports drinks and recovery bars.
Dehydration is the quickest killer of performance and adequate hydration is crucial. Two or more litres a day is a good baseline, with the majority of the intake coming from plain water. Over longer training sessions you should drink an additional 250-300 ml or so every 15 minutes, and pay attention to the conditions such as temperature and wind speed as these can effect sweating rates. Isotonic drinks are a particularly good option, as they contain exactly the right concentrations of energy-giving carbohydrates and important minerals like sodium and potassium that aid hydration, speeding the movement of liquid out of the gut and into the body.
Nutrition for competition
One to two days before the competition, you should ensure your glycogen stores are topped up by increasing your carbohydrate uptake to approximately 70% of your daily intake of calories (this amounts to about 6–10 g carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day). This, coupled with the reduction in training volume just before competition, will provide a 'carb loading' effect without overloading your body and leaving you feeling bloated.
On the day of the competition, you should ideally have the last big meal two to three hours before the race. The meal should be easily digestible and should not contain too much roughage. During the race, even with energy stores totally depleted, the body cannot absorb much more than 60-100 g of carbohydrate per hour. It is then particularly important to drink enough and ensure carbohydrate replenishment.
Recovery and training are flip sides of the same coin and if you don't pay attention to both then you'll not be getting the most from your training. The less experienced athletes undertaking harder, longer training or competition will need longer to recover but usually a recovery period of 24 to 48 hours is sufficient, provided you've supplied the body with sufficient nutrients.
To speed up the recovery process nutrients should be taken in straight after training, and ideally a little before and during as well. Carbohydrate and protein are the emphasis here and after longer sessions, approximately 1.5 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight and 0.3–0.5 g protein per kilogram of body weight should be consumed in the first hour.
As time is an important factor this is an ideal place to look at the use of specific sports supplements like carbohydrate and protein drinks and recovery formulas. These are deigned to be easy to use and quickly absorbed by the body.
Effective advanced Training
Build on a solid base.
So you've decided to take your training to the next level. Whether it is just for the fun of training or you're aiming to take part in a competition or event, your successful transition to the next level of performance is based upon a solid foundation of physical fitness, of basic knowledge of your sport and the tools to help you recover.
Building on this foundation will involve targeted training to work on weak spots, for example running technique or leg strength.
Away from competition phases, other forms of training are used to 'bring on' certain physical qualities. For example cyclists will often emphasise weight training and may run or swim during this time. As the season approaches training will become more specific and there will be an increase in both intensity and frequency of the sessions, meaning you'll be training harder. As the effort increases so does your recovery needs and the nutritional needs that go with it. Whereas with basic training, eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein will prevent winter flab, as training intensity picks up, so will your consumption of high-energy products. Here specialised sports supplements will work in conjunction with a solid healthy diet to help you meet your increased needs, providing quality nutrition in a practical and effective form.
Cross training for increased physical capacity
Cross training will help you become a more rounded athlete. Working on mobility, strength and power has carry over effects that improve your ability to perform in your chosen discipline. Whilst weight training may not on the face of it have much to do with endurance sports the extra strength and power you develop in this way can be used to increase the intensity of your specific sports training sessions.
Cross training is usually carried out in the gym. Your needs and the needs of your sport will determine the exact training plan but mobility, flexibility, strength and power will all be involved. Coaches and information resources such as the sports magazines will give you some guidance here.