The Endurance FUEL GUIDE

The Endurance FUEL GUIDE

What does it mean to fuel for endurance training properly?

Endurance fueling (aka giving your body nutrients) is essential for athletes and individuals engaged in prolonged physical activities. During long-duration exercises such as distance running, cycling, or swimming, the body's energy reserves are quickly depleted, leading to fatigue and reduced performance.

Proper endurance fueling ensures a steady supply of essential nutrients, primarily carbohydrates and electrolytes, which serve as the energy source for the muscles and optimize hydration levels.

  • Imagine a vehicle. It uses fuel as its primary energy source to power its engine and move. The speed at which that vehicle moves directly affects fuel economy and consumption.
  • We are born with an internal engine. We can build that engine to become stronger and more efficient through training and physical adaptations, but it will always require a fuel source to work.

What happens when you don't fuel properly?

Failing to fuel properly for endurance training can have significant negative effects on an athlete's performance, overall health, and recovery.

Inadequate fueling before a run and failing to maintain a nutrition strategy on large endurance efforts can lead to:

  • Fatigue and reduced performance
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Delayed recovery
  • Reduced focus and mental processing
  • Dizziness and Nausea

Adequate fueling before, during, and after endurance training is essential for maximizing performance, enhancing recovery, optimizing hydration, and protecting overall health and well-being.

When I started running, I didn't understand the importance of consuming carbohydrates around my more prolonged endurance efforts. My previous running knowledge came from my time in the US Army, which was "suck it up and run faster." Nutrition strategy was not necessarily an area of focus. So, when I increased my running volume after transitioning out of the military, I applied this same mindset. This approach resulted in "bonking" during big runs and poor athletic performance. The truth is, I thought running without fuel would make me "stronger." I was wrong and had a lot to learn.

* In endurance sports, "bonking" refers to sudden and severe exhaustion caused by the depletion of glycogen stores during prolonged physical activity. It is also commonly known as "hitting the wall." Bonking typically occurs during endurance exercises such as long-distance running, cycling, or triathlons, where the body relies heavily on glycogen as its primary energy source.

In 2018 I ran my first marathon in Austin, Texas. I didn't know how to train or fuel properly and underestimated my hydration knowledge. A few days before I lined up to run the 26.2-mile race, I started consuming excessive water. I would fill up a gallon each morning, finish it by lunch and refill it for the second half of the day. I thought this was a proper hydration approach, but I couldn't have been more wrong. By consuming abundant water, with no added electrolytes, I diluted my body's electrolyte concentration. This decision resulted in full-body cramps throughout the race.

* Lesson learned: A strategic hydration protocol requires the appropriate amount of electrolytes and water consumed. By consuming too much water and insufficient electrolytes, you put yourself at risk for dehydration, cramps, and dangerous health consequences.

Carbohydrates and electrolytes

Carbohydrates play a vital role in supporting endurance training by providing the primary source of fuel for both the muscles and the brain. After consuming carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which serves as the primary energy source during endurance exercise. Glucose is readily available and efficiently used by the muscles to fuel prolonged activities like running, cycling, or swimming.

* Excess glucose not immediately used for energy is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. During endurance training, the body taps into these glycogen reserves to sustain energy levels, allowing athletes to continue exercising for extended periods.

* On average, a person can store approximately 400-500 (or more) grams of glycogen in their muscles and liver combined.

Electrolytes play a crucial role during endurance training, as well as everyday life, by helping maintain proper fluid balance, nerve function, muscle contractions, and overall cellular functioning.

As athletes engage in prolonged endurance training, they lose electrolytes through sweat, which can lead to imbalances in the body. By paying attention to electrolyte balance and implementing effective hydration and fueling strategies, endurance athletes can optimize their performance, reduce the risk of cramps, and ensure their bodies function optimally during training sessions and competitions.

  • The amount of sodium loss during one hour of exercise can vary widely depending on factors such as an individual's sweat rate, exercise intensity, environmental conditions, and fitness level.
  • On average, during moderate-intensity exercise, a person may lose about 1,000 mg of sodium per hour but can increase to as high as 3,000 mg of sodium per hour.

BPN's G.1.M Sport

G.1.M Sport is an endurance supplement that was created and formulated to fuel, hydrate and improve performance while training.

Each serving contains 20 grams of carbohydrates from Cluster Dextrin® and 350 mg of sodium.

Cluster Dextrin® is used in this formula because of its high molecular weight, low osmotic pressure, high solubility, and fast gastric emptying. These characteristics ensure the most effective training fuel source by improving stamina, reducing fatigue, and minimizing gastrointestinal disorders.

  • Traditional sports drinks typically utilize a higher osmotic pressure carbohydrate source, which results in stomach discomfort, gas, bloating, and belching.
  • G.1.M Sport is naturally sweetened with Stevia and Monk Fruit

BPN's Electrolytes

Our electrolytes contain 500 mg of sodium per serving with no sugar added. They have been created to supply your body with everything that it needs to optimize hydration and nothing that it doesn't.

Many people live in constant dehydration (regardless of athletic performance) and don't even know it. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, headaches, confusion, irritability, fatigue, and weakness.

* Our electrolytes are naturally sweetened with Stevia and Monk Fruit

How Do I get Started?

A common question we receive is, "Where do I start to ensure I'm fueling properly for my endurance training?" Follow the below baseline fueling recommendations and experiment with more or less based on your body's requirements and individual preferences.

Less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity:
*Consume 1 scoop of G.1.M Sport mixed in water 20-30 minutes before exercise.
= 20 grams of carbohydrates and 350 mg of sodium
 
30 - 60 minutes of moderate physical activity:
*Consume 2 scoops of G.1.M Sport mixed in water 20-30 minutes before exercise.
= 40 grams of carbohydrates and 700 mg of sodium
 
60 - 90 minutes of moderate physical activity:
*Consume 3 scoops of G.1.M Sport mixed in water 20-30 minutes before exercise.
= 60 grams of carbohydrates and 1,050 mg of sodium
 
Post run
*Consume 1-2 BPN electrolytes scoops to replenish your body's hydration levels.

How to customize your fuel strategy

Several factors influence an endurance fueling strategy, as each athlete has unique needs and requirements. Some key factors that can affect an individual's endurance fueling strategy include duration of the activity, the intensity of exercise, environmental conditions, sweat rate, and individual metabolism.

The above baseline fueling recommendations are a great place to start, but an athlete needs to test what works best for them. It is always better to be over-fueled than under-fueled, but not over-fueled to the point that it causes gastrointestinal distress.

Duration & Intensity

The type of endurance workout an individual is performing, including the duration, intensity, and purpose of the session, influences the balance of carbohydrate and fat utilization as fuel sources.

You must consume carbohydrates not only around workouts but also throughout the day to ensure full glycogen stores that the body can rely on during training.

If a training session is longer than 60 minutes, and especially longer than 90 minutes, it is recommended to carry a fuel source with you as you train. A water bottle can be stored on a bike, along the side of the pool, or carried (hand-held water bottles work great for long-distance running) throughout.

More intense training sessions that include larger efforts, faster paces, and shorter rest periods will utilize fuel sources at a quicker rate. Hill sprints, track workouts, tempo runs, and high-intensity bike intervals are examples of this type of workout.

  • Begin by adding 2 scoops of G.1.M Sport, mixed in water, and slowly sipped on throughout the workout to maintain appropriate fueling requirements during longer duration or high-intensity training sessions.

= 40 grams of carbohydrates and 700 mg sodium

Environmental Conditions

Temperature and humidity impact fluid/electrolyte losses through sweat. Athletes exercising in hot and humid conditions may need to increase their fluid/electrolyte intake. If you are training during higher temperature/humidity seasons:

  • Begin by adding an additional serving of electrolytes (500 mg sodium) to your pre-workout nutrition and an additional serving of electrolytes to your intra-workout nutrition.

Sweat Rate

Individuals have varying sweat rates, which influence their hydration needs. Sweat rates can be measured during practice sessions to better estimate fluid/electrolyte requirements during competition.

The best hydrating solution is unique to an individual's sweat analysis. The ideal goal is to replace exactly what an athlete is losing, and this concentration can range significantly from one person to the next.

Some people are "saltier" sweaters than others and require more electrolytes to maintain appropriate hydration levels. You can start by getting a sweat analysis that tests your sweat's sodium concentration, but if this isn't an option, you can look out for the following:

  • Visible Salt Crystals: After an intense workout, you may notice white, salty reside on your skin or clothing. This is caused by the crystallization of salt as sweat evaporates.
  • Salty Taste: If you've ever tasted your sweat during or after exercise, and it tastes noticeably salty, it could indicate a higher sodium concentration.
  • Stinging or Burning: Salty sweat can sometimes cause a stinging or burning sensation on the skin, particularly in areas where sweat accumulates and evaporates.
  • Dehydration Susceptibility: Individuals with a higher sodium concentration in their sweat may be more prone to dehydration during exercise, as they lose more sodium and fluids in their sweat.
  • Begin by adding an additional serving of electrolytes (500 mg sodium) to your pre-workout nutrition and an additional serving of electrolytes to your intra-workout nutrition.

Train the way you race

While having an endurance fueling strategy is very important and pivotal to your training performance, it is not something you want to test for the first time on race day. We want to train the way we race. Testing your endurance nutrition strategies during practice is essential for several reasons:

  1. Identify what works for you. Everyone's bodies react differently to various foods and nutrition approaches. You can determine what works best for your specific needs and preferences by testing different strategies during practice.
  2. Avoid potential issues during races or events. If you have yet to test your nutrition strategies in practice, you may encounter unexpected problems during a race or competition.
  3. Build confidence. Knowing that your nutrition plan has worked well during practice gives you the confidence to trust your strategy during the event.
  4. Train your gut. Just like training your muscles, your gastrointestinal system needs adaptation to handle the nutrition demands of endurance activities.
  5. Evaluate performance impact. Nutrition plays a crucial role in your endurance performance. You may require more or less nutritional support during training than others, so knowing specific amounts and timing for your strategy is very important.

 

Innovation is the lifeblood of BPN. We're constantly studying and trialing new ingredients to stay informed and work to become a leader in the industry. Over the past 6 months we have launched and expanded our endurance offerings with our GO Gels, GO Bar, and Recover supplement with one goal in mind - to FUEL YOUR PERFORMANCE.

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