Off-Season Nutricion for the Endurance Athlete
This is the final in our nutrition series from Jenna Becker. Thanks to Jenna for all the great, practical information!
Whether this is complete rest, exercise without as much structure, or less demanding training (volume & intensity), your activity level is likely much lower. It should go without saying by now, your calorie and nutrient needs therefore are not as great.
While nutrition should still be a priority, specific attention to details and nutrient timing are not as important during this time…give your body and mind a break. Focus on your daily nutrition, including consistent, quality feedings of lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains if grains are to be eaten.
Need less, Eat less: Eat based on your lower energy expenditure, and with the main goal of supporting health rather than training. Again here higher carbohydrate foods like whole grains may not be necessary, or at least in lesser quantities, and sports nutrition products are definitely not.
Prevent body weight/fat gain: By eating less during this time since you are training less, you will help prevent unnecessary weight gain, which ultimately will help performance goals. Improving metabolic efficiency, which has been discussed before, may also be a goal.
Again, specific needs may vary, but as a general guide:
Carbohydrates: 3-5 g/kg
Protein: 1.2-2.2 g/kg
Fat: 1.0-1.5 g/kg
I want to leave you with one last thought: Nutrition is a science and an art. The science provides us with a nice starting point, a nice outline; but filling it in with your individual needs and response is what creates a masterpiece. Take advice based on your unique needs and goals, try it out, and see how you respond! Your nutrition program should be as individualized as your training program.