Year-Round Nutrition Program

by Developing Endurance
Kinetic Select March 2021

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This excerpt briefly explains nutrition periodization for different training cycles to help maximize performance for endurance athletes.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book Developing Endurance, published by Human Kinetics. All text and images provided by Human Kinetics.

By implementing a year-round nutrition program in conjunction with their training program, endurance athletes can reap the benefits of enhanced health, improved performance, and better control of weight and body composition. Remember that the eating program should ebb and flow just as the training does; the athlete’s physical performance will be much more supported when nutrition matches the needs of physical training. The most important nutrients to consume during training are carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolytes. Table 4.1 provides recommendations for the intake of carbohydrate, protein, and fat during each training cycle. These recommendations are discussed in further detail in upcoming sections.

This table shows the macronutrient ranges for the preparatory cycle (both no weight loss goals and with weight loss goals), competition cycle, and transition cycle.

Common Errors in Nutrition Programs

Endurance athletes commonly make the following two errors in carrying out their nutrition programs:

  • Inadequate hydration during and after training. Hydration is essential for optimal performance and optimal recovery. Athletes who ingest too little fluid will compromise the effectiveness of training and will increase the length of time it takes to recover from training.
  • Not maintaining an appropriate nutrient intake on a day-to-day basis. Athletes and coaches need to recognize that ingesting too many calories is just as detrimental as ingesting too few calories. Ingesting too many calories can lead to weight gain, usually in the form of adipose. Ingesting too few calories minimizes training effectiveness and the recovery from training. Nutrition periodization helps ensure that nutrient intake is based on training load.

The popularity of endurance sports continues to grow worldwide. Now, from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) comes the definitive resource for developing the endurance training programs that maximize performance and minimize injuries. The book is available in bookstores everywhere, as well as online at the NSCA Store.

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