Improving physical endurance with nutrition

I have another guest post from the Natural Alternative Health & Wellbeing website regarding endurance and nutrition (always a tricky thing to nail!). Enjoy!


If your New Year resolution was to get fitter in 2017, or if you were already interested in exercise and would like some healthy tips then this article is for you. In this article we explore using nutrition to help boost your endurance to get you that faster time and finish in a better condition whatever your endurance sport.


Months in advance of a sporting event practice eating and drinking whilst exercising to find out which items work for you. Some people have robust digestion and can eat shortly before exercise, and some people can only exercise on an empty stomach. If you are taking part in an event find out which foods/drinks are available en route so you can start using these during your training to get your body used to them.

As nutritional therapists we often advise people to generally follow low Glycaemic Index/Glycaemic Load (GI/GL) foods to maintain a healthy weight, but during intense exercise these are not the best rules to follow. Exercise requires meal s to have a higher carbohydrate content so there should be some fat or protein to lower the GI/GL but don’t overdo it – the diet of someone exerciseing should be mostly carbohydrates. Add unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts), lean protein, low fat dairy to supplement the carbohydrates ensuring you combine 1 low GI/GL food with each meal (e.g. dried fruit). Popular snacks/light meals include: peanut butter and banana sandwiches, apple with chocolate milk or fruit and yogurt smoothie.

To make sure you are getting enough variety of carbohydrates into your diet here are some examples of what you could use:

  • Breakfast – orange juice, 1.5 cup rolled oats, banana, and wholemeal toast with peanut butter
  • Morning snack – mini box of raisins and ½ bagel
  • Lunch – 2 slices wholemeal bread, ½ tin tuna, 1 tbsp mayo, lettuce and tomato, 6oz yogurt, 1oz pretzels, 1.5 cups grape juice
  • Mid afternoon snack – apple plus 12 almonds
  • Dinner – 2 cups cooked wholewheat pasts, 1 cup tomato sauce, 2oz cooked beef/chicken/seafood, lettuce, 1 cup sorbet for desert
  • After dinner snack – cup of milk plus 6 figs

In the week leading up to the event start to consume even more carbohydrate – approximately 8-10g per kg body weight per day, this can be in the form of pasta, rice, potatoes. Beware not to load up with too much fat e.g. cheesy pasta which leads to poorly fuelled muscles and bigger fat cells. Instead pick pasta with tomato, or honey on toast.

On the morning of the event eat familiar foods which you know you can tolerate. Maybe liquid meal replacements if solid food is not good (this should be tried in advance during your training). Include ingredients which are low fat and fibre to prevent slower emptying of stomach. Ultra Marathon Cycling Association suggest eating 50g of carbohydrates each hour before the event e.g. banana plus a large bagel with jam is 100g, and drinking 500ml two hours before the start of the event. If you can eat close to the event it is suggested 0.5g of carbohydrates per lb body weight the hour before exercise, so for someone who is 10.5 stone the equivalent could be a bowl of cereal plus a banana. If you have found in training you are better without food just before exercise try eating 3 hours before something like a bagel with peanut butter, piece of fruit and a yogurt.

During the event the golden rule when it comes to refuelling is eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.


This is crucial to get the most out of exercise and also recovery. It’s also a personal amount which changes each time you exercise. Here is one way to measure how much you should be drinking: Weigh yourself in your exercise clothes just before you exercise, and again when completed the exercise. Every 1lb lost is equivalent to 2 cups (16oz) of fluid. Add the amount of fluid drank during exercise, then divide the total amount by hours exercised. An example:

if you lose 3lb (6 cups fluid) and drink 2 cups during the 2 hours exercise the sweat rate is 8 cups (6+2) for 2 hours, so need to refuel with 1 cup every 15 minutes during exercise as an approximate for your individual sweat rate.

Excessive sweating without replacing electrolytes is dangerous. As an approximation when weight loss is 0-2% of body weight following an event thirst is common and estimated performance loss is 1.8% but this increases to a performance loss of 7% when weight loss is 2-3%. By the time weight loss reaches 3-6% cramps are common and at greater than 6% body weight loss severe cramps, heat exhaustion are a very real threat. It is crucial to make sure during training you measure your sweat rate to ensure you compensate for the amount of fluid you are losing and thereby how much you should be refuelling during exercise.

Consider also the minerals you are losing in sweat. Sweat has 1,000mg sodium/quart, and sports drinks have 440mg sodium/quart so there are occasions when you will need more salt than in sports drinks.The low sodium can also impede you combined with too much water making you feel bloated so don’t consume large amounts too quickly until sodium levels are corrected.

Sodium and potassium are the main electrolytes within cells, but potassium is not lost as  much as sodium in sweat. To compensate for sodium loss add a pinch of table salt per hour of exercise, or include some drinks with a higher salt content e.g. V-8 tomato juice.

Avoiding the mistakes

According to Ultra Marathon Cycling Association there are 10 mistakes to avoid:

  • Over hydrating leading to stomach cramps and sodium being too diluted
  • Too much simple sugar which will be converted by the body if not used into triglycerides
  • Insufficient post event refuelling. Try to consume 50-75g of carbohydrates plus 15-20g protein within 30-60mins after event
  • Make sure you’re eating the right balance, as an approximate the general diet should be 12-20% protein, 50-60% carbohydrates, 20% fat
  • Forgetting to eat enough
  • Insufficient electrolytes causing weakness, nausea and cramping
  • Too much protein during exercise which puts extra burden on the kidneys
  • Too much solid food
  • Time recovering is as important as time spent training

We all know the importance of hydration and carbohydrates when exercising, and hopefully this article has provided some practical tips to make your training more productive and help you exceed your exercise goals.

What do you eat the week leading up to a big event?

Is your stomach sensitive of robust when it comes to digestion?

How much salt do you usually eat?

Why we should sleep well after exercise

Hi guys, I have a post in collaboration with Noah Sparrow for you today about the importance of sleep for recovery. Hope you enjoy!

We all know that getting a decent amount of sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle. And anyone who’s taken part in the Stubbington 10k race will know how a lovely bed is a particularly welcome prospect after the race.


But what is it about sleep that is so good for helping us feel so refreshed after a particularly brutal bout of exercise? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has suffered from the occasional troubled night’s sleep, so I’ve been doing some research to see how sleep functions and how I can maximise my time in bed!

It’s interesting to find that even today we still don’t know why we sleep. But anyone who’s experienced bouts of sleeplessness will understand how sleep plays a huge part in helping our brains and our bodies recover from their daily rigours.

By having a dedicated period when we are allowed to rest, it enables our bodies to clear out toxins and rebuild any damaged cells. And seeing how exhausted we feel after a proper workout session, it’s clear that a decent dose of sleep is essential to stop our bodies falling apart!

There have also been studies that have shown that sleep deprivation can increase the risks of heart disease and strokes, so I’ve been thinking about ways that I can boost my chance of catching up on sleep.

Thankfully, some studies have shown that consistent exercise eventually helps our sleeping habits, but just in case I lapse in my exercise, I’ve been checking some alternative sleeping options.

So as well as trying to avoid the melatonin-draining artificial lights emitted by television and computer screens late at night, I’ve been inspecting some of the stylish beds at Bedstar to see which one is best suited to my sleeping style. Some of the calming grey styles will be pretty well-suited to my interior scheme, and they prove that maybe grey is the new black!

I’m something of a light sleeper, so whether it’s investing in a decent memory foam mattress, or even getting one of those fancy white noise generators to mask the noise of the street, I’m going to make sure that 2017 is all about getting some decent rest.

So although the scientists still might not know exactly why we sleep, it looks like with a nice new bed from Bedstar, plenty of exercise and a little digital assistance, I should be able to catch some zzz’s this year!

How much sleep do you get a night?

Do you prefer a soft or hard mattress?

Are you light sleeper?

Some Days Are Just Hard

Hey guys, so today I have a guest post from a fellow running blogger. Hope you enjoy, she’s a lovely (speedy) girl!

I’m Ellen, a teenage runner, blogger and fitness enthusiast from So who am I? Well I could go into lots of detail about me, but to be honest, all you really need to know is that I love to run and I’m very competitive. I spend my free time training, travelling to training (at Hastings AC), fuelling for training, and of course racing- I also blog and Instagram along the way, whilst also trying to fit in a bit of GCSE homework…but we all know that’s at the bottom of the priority list. Today Anna has been kind enough to let me write for you guys, and so I hope you enjoy it. You can read Anna’s blog on TeenRunner right HERE.
On some days, running-love is real. I’m talking about when you get out of bed and you’re ready. No aches. No pains. Just pure desire to be training like a professional. And these days are the BEST. Inspired, motivated, ready to take on anything- you’ve got it covered. Like everyone else, I really love these days: there’s not normally a specific reason why they come around, but when you do, you’ve just got to accept them and go with the flow…the only thing that’s slightly irritating is when the magic feeling arrives on a 20-minute recovery run day. I mean, why can’t it come on endurance track session day? That would be MUCH more useful.I think these feelings are what people assume running feels like everyday for those who’re dedicated to their training. It’s like, you have your occasional runners, and then you have your serious runners. Sadly, having a perfected training schedule doesn’t prevent those bad days, whether you’re a professional or a speedy park-runner. So let’s talk about these days…well they’re not bad, it’s just that they’re super hard. The duvet covers are more inviting than the puddles and pavements, watching the next episode of TV would be so much easier than lacing up. I think that what makes it harder is that you know you’ll feel so much better after you’ve finished, but it’s just getting out there in the first place.

For me, morning runs are great. Sure, that moment when you get out of bed and struggle to comprehend how you’re going to make it through the whole five miles is tough, but I find that once I’m out there, I have this extra motivation to finish because I know I’ll be done for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be out running, but I also like completing things, and so getting out early doors makes me feel great for the rest of the day. However, due to school and club training most of my running takes place in the evening so this isn’t always applicable. In term time it isn’t a problem because school is always busy, but on the other hand, during the holidays the hours before training drag on and on- especially because I don’t want to do anything that will make my legs tired for the evening.But what is the point of all of this? Everyone obviously has days full of energy, and days where they really begin to question why they ever chose to take up running. Well I guess I just want to say that this is what makes runners special. The people who don’t run are the people who quit on their bad days. The people who thought it would be easy and effortless have long given up. If you can still call yourself a runner after the DOMS, the 5am starts, the Sunday miles whilst the rest of the family are still in bed- then you should congratulate yourself. Being a runner is hard. But it’s also amazing.

‘It’s supposed to be hard… the hard is what makes it great.’

~a random but true quote I found on the web.

Ellen Crombie

Instagram: @teenrunnerblog

Twitter: @teenrunnerblog

Also, you can vote for Ellen in the Trespass Blog Awards HERE.

5 recipes to try in 2017: A beginner’s guide to juicing!

It’s FRIDAY! Today I have a guest post for you guys regarding juicing. Hope you enjoy!

With only a month until the New Year, we’re looking ahead to 2017 and committing to a better and healthier lifestyle. Juicing has taken the health world by storm this year, with a lot of us blending pounds of fruit and vegetables by the glassful. Here are the ultimate juices, perfect for a better body, a better mind and a better you!

Recipe #1 – Vitamin C repairer

For the growth and repair of tissue in your body, Vitamin C is an essential vitamin needed for our body to function efficiently. However, a lot of us don’t get enough of it. Full of “super foods” this juice is the best for fighting viruses and giving your body a much-needed boost.

  • 1 apple
  • 2 peeled oranges
  • 1 unpeeled lemon
  • 1 chunk of ginger
  • 3 cups of spinach leaves
  • 1-inch piece of peeled ginger
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint leaves


Recipe #2 – Sleep restorer

Having trouble sleeping? Sleep deprivation is a common struggle amongst today’s society and if continued, lack of sleep can affect not only your day to day routine but make you prone to more serious conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. This celery-based juice, rich in both Calcium and Magnesium, is designed to help calm the nervous system, and relax the body after a long and strenuous day, making it perfect for those insomniacs amongst us.

  • 2 peeled oranges
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 3 cups of watercress
  • 8 stalks of celery
  • 3 cups of romaine lettuce

Recipe #3 – Skin Rejuvenator

Put the glow back into your skin with this cucumber and apple juice. These three ingredients work together to neutralise inflammation, boost hydration and alkalinity and promote healthy skin.

  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ apple
  • 3 slices of pineapple

Recipe #4 – Waist reducer

Losing weight isn’t a quick or easy process, but eating the right foods can help boost your metabolism and keep you on the straight and narrow in 2017. This juice, containing dark, leafy greens, rich in calcium, has been linked to weight loss. Combined with ginger, a key ingredient known to curb your cravings, this is an ideal juice to start your day.

  • 2 leaves of swiss chard
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger
  • ½ peeled lemon

Recipe #5 – Energy riser

Whether you’re an early riser and need that initial burst of energy, or a pick me up through the day, full of fructose and glucose, this juice is perfect for a natural energy boost.

  • 4 leaves of red cabbage
  • ½ unpeeled lemon
  • 2 pears

Looking to get all of the above combined?

Remembering to stock up on all of the necessary fruits and vegetables can be challenging, which is why the Prestige Health, Fitness & Juice Retreat launched its juice detox programme.  You can enjoy healthy dining, delicious juices and as much exercise as you can manage. Combined with a week’s stay in the picturesque town of Lagos, this is the perfect fitness holiday to help you reach your goals in 2017.


Do you juice a lot?

What’s your favourite fruit combo?

I.C.E. (And not the cold variety!)

Today I have a really interesting post from my friend, Michelle (she recently did the Newcastle parkrun review – to be fair, she really should start her own blog as she’s such a good runner and always eats nice things (read: cake) too). Today she’s reviewing the I.C.E running ID.

Now it’s dark like all the time (well it feels like it anyway) “be safe, be seen” is a thought that crosses most runner’s minds as they pick out their best high-vis outfit before their run, don the head torch and other flashies.

But have you ever thought about if, god forbid, something happened to you whilst out on a run???

If you’re out with friends or a club then the people around you are going to know who you are and who to contact to tell them what has happened but are they going to know your medical history? If you take any medication? If your allergic to medication? But what about if you are out running alone? The chances of someone who knows who you, let alone anything else about you, finding you is minuscule!!

After the tragic deaths of the two young Aldershot, Farnham & District runners I feel it is important to raise the topic of ensuring every one of us runners have some form of ID on them when out running I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency). This doesn’t just apply to people with medical conditions but EVERYONE! There are a number of options available, from simple and cheap to those with a slight cost but worth the investment!

Your Mobile Phone

For those of you who run with your phone this is a quick and free option!
These days most mobile phones allow you to enter I.C.E. and medical information which can then be accessed from the lock screen. I am not sure exactly how to do this with any phone apart from iPhone but just Google it and there will be plenty of step by step guides available. If you own an iPhone then if you go into the built in Health app it will ask you to set up your medical ID.

This can then be accessed from the lock screen in an emergency without having to unlock your phone.

After you press the home button press “Emergency” and then “Medical ID”.

Key Tags

This is another quick and cheap option for ensuring you have I.C.E. details with you whilst out on a run and was the first way I ever took I.C.E information out on runs with me! I bought a pack of about 30 key tags from a pound shop, wrote I.C.E. on the front and my emergency contact name and number on the back.

It lives attached to my front door key so it is guaranteed to go with me every time I run! The rest of the pack of key tags are probably sat in a drawer at home but I’ve got one on my uni front door key and another on my home front door key. Why not put the rest of the box to use and pop one on your kid’s door keys too?!

parkrun Wristbands

The majority of runners these days have a parkrun barcode. For many of us it starts life as a constantly crumpled and soggy bit of paper, it then progresses (maybe) to being laminated to make each one last a bit longer but why not invest in a parkrun wristband and kill two birds with one stone!

At £13.98 the wristbands are made from silicone making them durable and waterproof. They come in sizes from small to extra-large, are available in black or pink and are laser engraved with your name and personal barcode. In addition to these you can personalise them with your I.C.E. telephone number and medical information.

Even though I’m not the most frequent parkrun attender I purchased one of these wristbands about a year ago. The first time I used it I was worried the barcode wouldn’t work but I’ve had no problems! They are really light and easy to just slip on before a run, even if you’re not off to parkrun!

OneLife ID

Being away at uni I felt I probably needed something a bit more than just a key tag on me when I was out running as the chance of anyone knowing more than my name was well zero! I came across OneLife ID who make emergency wristbands designed for sports. These are slightly more expensive but worth every penny!

They have a wide range of wristbands, alert cards, dog tags and now even tags to add to your watch or activity tracker! Each of their ID tags are personalisable and allow you to create an online personal profile which can only be accessed using a code on the back of your ID tag. The online profile can be updated and allows more information about you to be sought. You can also download a mobile ID to save to your phone.

I chose the Stealth Squadra ID wristband (£22.99) which comes in a choice of 11 different colours, has a soft silicone strap and a stainless steel “fold over safety clasp” so it fit securely once you’ve put it on. It is water and sweat resistant too. It comes in one size which you cut to size and then attach the clasp meaning you can make sure it’s a snug fit!

When ordering you personalise the tag itself to include text only (up to 5 lines) or have less text and a QR code. You choose your own online ID and the tag comes with a security PIN written on the back of it so people can only view detailed information about you if they enter the pin. If things were to change in the future you can order replacement tags for your band.

I love my OneLife ID and wear it out on every run! It doesn’t move about too much due to the fact you cut it to size, fits easily under long sleeves for the winter and is so lightweight I have often forgotten I still have it on and have been known to walk around with it on all day before!

Carrying I.C.E. ID whilst out on a run will put your loved ones at ease, so with Christmas coming up why not add an I.C.E. ID wristband to your list for Santa!

Thanks, Michelle. This is a really important post I think. I for one actually have done none of these things and feel suitable guilty! I’ll definitely be updating my Health app on my iPhone and looking to buy the parkrun wristband soon. And not just for running but I go to the gym stupidly early in the morning so having this information on me would be very handy as I don’t take my purse with me to the gym.

Do you have any of the above I.C.E products?

How do you stay safe when running?