Meal Plans for Endurance Athletes

August 23, 2022 4 min read

Meal Plans for Endurance Athletes

I had a zoom call with an athlete I'm coaching today where we reviewed her daily nutrition and blood test results. We found a lot of things that were causing her chronic inflammation and creating a negative impact on her performance.

I see this so often with cyclists everywhere I go. Most of the people I ride with are middle aged. They just can't eat (and drink) like they did in their 20's and perform at optimum level on the bike.

After our zoom call, Chris and I thought we should put together a sample of how I eat on and off the bike. This is a sure way to clean up your fuel to make your engine perform at it's peak level.

Writing this today, I'm 48 years old and have had a tough year as my body is transitioning into it's 5th decade. Chris always says to watch out for the "8's" because that's when our bodies begin going into the next phase of life. She nailed mine this year!

At 48, I'm eating much cleaner carbs for fuel. No more pizza or pasta to "load up". I eat lots of protein (my body weight in grams = 160g) every day. Every meal has fat with it to keep my brain functioning properly! (Questionable I know.)

 

Meal Plans for Endurance Athletes

Planning and eating your meals should be simple and quick to put together. I don’t want excuses for eating out or sabotaging your fitness because the meals are too complicated and too time consuming to prepare.

Meal Instructions:

Take one item from each category and place them in your pan. Sautee everything in the fat of your choice and cook to your doneness. Eat. 

Total time from fridge to table  <15min. 

You can use a grill/oven/hotplate… NO MICROWAVES!!

Women eat red meat, and/or organ meat and use a cast iron pan. MOST women are iron deficient and getting it through your food is best. 

Men, you will need a pan without a “non-stick” surface that peels up. 

I suggest eating 3 meals/day… no snacking. There will be food to eat “on the bike” so no need for a snack. It gives your body time to rest.

 

Protein -  Essential for muscle mass, hormonal balance, sleep regulation and recovery.

Aim for 30-40 grams/ meal

Options include: 

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Bison
  • Organs (Beef, Chicken, Bison, etc
  • Fish: salmon, shellfish, halibut (good), shark, tilapia, any very large fish (ok in small doses), can also be small canned fish (excellent), canned tuna, 
  • DO NOT EAT farmed fish and shellfish!

 

Fat - Essential for your brain function, joints, fascia, and ligaments. Fat also helps to absorb the vitamins and minerals in your other food groups.

Aim for 1-2 Tbsp/meal

  • Grass fed butter (casein is low, so most people can eat it without any issue)
  • Ghee
  • Olive Oil
  • Tallow
  • Lard

 

Carbs - Obviously the fuel for your workout and races. Carbohydrates are used as fast energy sources. These are the carbs that mitigate inflammation. (Many carbs CAUSE chronic inflammation, so stick to this list.)

Aim for  50-100 grams/meal depending on your workload and your body size. 

  • White rice
  • Potatoes (any kind) highest source of potassium. Better than bananas!
  • Cherries
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cooked green veggies
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms


Additional Nutrition Tips

I would suggest not eating your veggies raw. Many people have a hard time digesting them and many are high in Oxalates.  Oxalates are crystal-like substances that cause inflammation in your joints and gut. Spinach being one of the highest! Steer clear of spinach all together. 

 

Fruit is something that can be incorporated but should be looked at as desert. It is a sugar and should be consumed as such. Eat a piece of fruit at the end of the day with the last meal.Never start your day with fruit. 


On The Bike Nutrition

On training days on the bike, I focus on eating slow burning carbs. I take Strate Superfuel and Red Skin Potatoes primarily. If I have a high intensity workout I might add a  Banana, or Dates for some extra sugar that responds quicker for high power efforts. The key is I eat real food on the bike during training. Not packaged bars or gimmick foods. When the heat is up, I’ll add LMNT salts to my water to provide more electrolytes.

 

For races, I’ll double up my Strate Superfuel mix and add in gels. The gels will cause inflammation, but are hard to beat for a convenient high calorie, high carb energy source. (Note: if you use gels and high sugar carb mixes in training, you will be adding chronic inflammation to your body and reducing the performance level you could see with a less inflamed system.

I hope you find this quick guide useful and would love to hear your feedback! Shoot me an email in the Contact Us form and I'll get right back to you.

 

More pics of Chris' food!

   


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