Get A Free Consultation

Current Events, News, and Updates

Select your free booklet

Select your free booklet

Enter an email address.

Select a booklet

Select a state

General Nutrition Guidelines for Training

In this article, Melissa outlines some basic nutritional needs for training and racing.



– 15-20% of calories in diet should come from protein
– 1.0-1.4 g/kg body weight per day Protein for Endurance Athletes
– 1.6 – 1.7 g/kg body weight per day Protein for Strength Athletes
– Avoid very high protein diets since they increase risk of dehydration and may increase calcium loss and put excess stress on kidneys
Post exercise:
– Won’t hurt (or necessarily improve) glycogen storage
– May help glycogen and immune system
– Assists in rebuilding and repairing muscle
– As little as 10-15 g may be effective
Example of Proteins
– cup tuna, cottage cheese, salmon (7g protein)
– 2 tbsp peanut butter (7gm)
– 1 oz meat/chicken (7gm)
– 1 egg (7gm)
– 1 oz cheese (7gm), milk 1 cup (8oz), yogurt (1cup)
– Tofu 2.5x 2.75x 1 inch cube (7gm)

Saturated and Unsaturated (Mono and Polyunsaturated)
– Saturated Limit to 10-20% of intake
– Unsaturated = liquid at room temperature
1. Monounsaturated -olive oil, canola oil, avacados – helps reduce heart disease
2. Polyunsaturated – safflower, sunflower, soybean oils
– Avoid trans-fatty acids (Hydrogenated fats) -increase blood cholesterol and cardiovascular risk

Fat Intake Recommendations
– Less than 20% of calories from fat
– Less than 10% from saturated fats


During training and competition adequate fluid replacement is crucial to your performance and safety and it becomes increasing so in hot and humid climates (typical fluid loss 1.0-2.0 liters/hour). Replacement volume must exceed loss.

Dehydration of 2% body mass can impair performance. (150lb individual is 3lb fluid loss).


– Use a 4-8% CHO and Electrolyte solution for training and racing to offset dehydration, maintain glucose levels, offset glycogen depletion, fuel brain, offset electrolyte depletion
– See below guidelines for adequate fluid intakes

Daily Pre-Exercise Exercise Exercise Post Exercise
64 oz 14-22oz/2hrs pre exercise 10-25oz/hour 6-8oz/15-20min 16oz/lb lost

– During exercise, sweat rates are highly individual, best drinkers replace 80% of losses, issue is GI absorption
– Drinking too much will empty too quickly; start hydrating immediately
– Practice drinking and eating during training so you will be prepared once race day comes!
– During an event make sure you slow down at aid stations to replace fluids.

Requirements based on time and intensity; total grams not percentages; emphasize quality sources

Amount: most important factor in recovery; threshold of 500-700g/24 hours; threshold of 1.5g/kg at 2 hours (accelerates absorption process)


CHO gm/kg Training Regimen Goals
8-10 Very prolonged Refuel during and after
Moderate/high intensity
Greater than 5 hrs

6-8 Prolonged Refuel during and after
Moderate/high intensity
Greater than 90 mins

5-6 Moderate duration Daily recovery
Moderate intensity <1hr
Low intensity up to 2 hrs


* Always train and practice with what you plan on using for fuel and re-hydration in racing. When the body is under stress, there is very little stomach acid to break down any sugars that are not passively absorbed. Must test fuel during high stress (high HR, high heat, etc) training situations to mimic race conditions.

1) Before Exercise or Competition
a. Top off muscle/live glycogen, minimize hypoglycemia during exercise, prevent GI upset and hunger; provide electrolytes and hydration
b. 2 distinct periods: 2-4 hrs pre-exercise and 30-60 min pre-exercise
c. 2-4 hours before training or competition consume 200-300gm or 2- 4gm/kg body weight of carbohydrate rich foods, low fat, low protein, plus fluids; significant increase in muscle and liver glycogen; prolongs endurance. Example: 70kg= 140-280g; 55kg: 110-220
d. 30-60 mins before training or competition consume small carbohydrate snack around 1-1.5grams of easily digestible carbohydrates; individual preferences, experiment!

2) During Exercise
a. Consume 30-60grams of Carbohydrate per hour
b. Most people need and absorb between 300-700 kcals per hour to sustain a high effort. Most can only absorb between 300-500 per hour. Train your digestive system to handle nutrition and hydration.
c. 4-8% solution for increased absorption
d. Avoid high fructose drinks

– Replenish muscle and liver glycogen – Stored in body: 20 g in serum (blood), 75-100g in liver, 300-600g in muscles;
– Replenish muscle triglycerides (fats!) – Stored in body: 8g serum, 200-300g in muscle, adipose tissue 7000-8000g
– Manufacture new proteins – Stored in body: 7500g in muscle
– Replace fluid and electrolytes

Recovery concerns: multiple training sessions (daily or consecutive days); constant state of refueling and pre-exercise eating; must meet energy and carbohydrate requirements.

Average depletion for 2 hours of training:
– Muscle glycogen – 150-250g
– Liver glycogen – 50 g
– Intramuscular triglycerides – 50 g
– Adipose tissue – 50 g
Exercise significantly effects muscle glycogen (performance)

Amount of CHO eaten directly impacts muscle glycogen; adequate CHO promotes daily recovery; incomplete recovery results in gradual depletion; depletion associated with fatigue; chronic fatigue leads to overtraining syndrome and injury.

Timing for recovery: Rapid phase: 30-60 mins post exercise; slower phase: next several hours; immediately after strenuous exercise; important for 4-8 hours recovery time. Amount: immediately after .75-1.2 g/kg; again in 2 hrs, again in 2 hrs; need to consistently plan for this; Combo of high and low glycemic index foods

Majority of carbohydrates consumed should be from complex carbohydrates and whole grains such as whole grain cereals, breads, rice and pasta, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Nutritious CHOs improve overall quality of diet and immune system health.

Consider refueling needs based on training needs, previous days recovery and training goals for the next day. Small frequent meals post exercise may reduce GI distress (30 g portions of CHO)


HYPONATREMIA- Dangerously low levels of sodium in blood plasma, can occur by ingestion of too much water or too little sodium during extended periods of intense sweating. Signs of hyponatremia are nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, and weakness.

Sodium is an important part of the recovery process, improves fluid balance, greater fluid intake, less urine output, restores blood volume more rapidly; prevents dilution of blood, prevents reduced thirst; amounts in sports drinks too low; implicated in muscle cramping; losses vary widely among athletes (860-3400 mg/L)

– Replace lost sodium by increasing salt intake during carbohydrate loading
– During racing take in 1gram of sodium/hour for 3 hour or greater length events or intense training sessions. Most people lose about 300 mg/hr. At this rate after 3 hours, performance drops off. Also consider consecutive days of long/hard training in hot, humid conditions.
– Thermotabs, Hammer products, Life Transfusion liquid (multi-mineral), Endurolytes, sea salt. Best to be able to taste the salt as this is the best indicator of bodily needs: if the salt tastes good, you need more, if it doesn’t you are fine.
– Experiment, difficult to know individual needs
– Avoid use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents as they may increase the risk of hyponatremia in athletes.


Caffeine- Try before competition
– 3- 6 mg/kg over this may test positive, banned by IOC at higher levels (9mg/kg have tested positive)
– Mobilizes free fatty acids from adipose cells and decreases carbohydrate utilization, central nervous system stimulator
– Negative effects – dehydration, nausea etc

– Impossible to get all nutrition from food sources alone; added stress of training and recovery needs
– Minimally: multivitamin, multimineral (calcium/magnesium 2:1), antioxidants, Omega fatty acids, minimal for all
– High quality food; high quality vitamins
– Acid/Alkaline balance

(Carbohydrate – 50 g CHO portions from CHO-rich foods)

CEREALS Contains 50grams of carbohydrates
Wheat biscuit cereal (e.g. Weetabix) 60g (5 biscuits)
‘Light’ breakfast cereal (e.g. Cornflakes, Weeties) 60 g (2 cups)
‘Muesli’ flake breakfast cereal 65 g (1-1.5 cups)
Toasted muesli 90 g (1 cup)
Porridge – made with milk 350 g (1.3 cups)
Porridge – made with water 550 g (2.5 cups)
Rolled oats 90 g (1 cup)
Muesli bar 2.5
Rice cakes 6 thick or 10 thin
Rice, boiled 180g (1 cup)
Pasta or noodles, boiled 200 g (1.3 cups)
Canned spaghetti 440 g (large can)
Crispbreads and dry biscuits 6 large or 15 small
Fruit filled biscuits 5
Plain sweet biscuits 8-10
Bread 110 g (4 slices white or 3 thick wholegrain)
Bread rolls 110 g (1 large or 2 medium)
Pita and lebanese bread 100 g (2 pita)
Chapati 150 g (2.5)
English muffin 120 g (2 full muffins)
Crumpet 2.5
Cakestyle muffin 115 g (1 large or 2 medium
Pancakes 150 g (2 medium)
Scones 125 g (3 medium)
Iced fruit bun 105 g (1.5)
Ricecream 300 g (1.5 cups)

Fruit crumble 1 cup
Fruit packed in heavy syrup 280 g (1.3 cups)
Fruit stewed/canned in light syrup 520 g (2 cups)
Fresh fruit salad 500 g (2.5 cups)
Bananas 2 medium-large
Mangoes, pears, grapefruit and other large fruit 2-3
Oranges, apples and other medium size fruit 3-4
Nectarines, apricots and other small fruit 12
Grapes 350 g (2 cups)
Melon 1,000 g (6 cups)
Strawberries 1,800 g (12 cups)
Sultanas and raisins 70 g (4 Tbsp)
Dried apricots 115 g (22 halves)

Potatoes 350 g (1 very large or 3 medium)
Sweet potato 350 g (2.5 cups)
Corn 300 g (1.2 cups creamed corn or 2 cobs)
Green Beans 1,800 g (14 cups)
Tomato puree 1 litre (4 cups)
Pumpkin and peas 700 g (5 cups)

Milk 1 litre
Flavoured milk 560 ml
Custard 300 g (1.3 cup or half 600 g carton ready made)
‘Diet’ yogurt and natural yogurt 800 g (4 individual tubs)
Flavored non-fat yogurt 350 g (2 individual tubs)
Rice pudding/creamed rice 300g (1.5 cups)

Sugar 50 g
Jam 3 Tbsp
Syrups 4 Tbsp
Honey 3 Tbsp
Jubes and jelly babies 60 g
Fruit juice – unsweetened 600 ml
Fruit juice – sweetened 500 ml
Cordial 800 ml
Soft drinks and flavored mineral water 500 ml
Fruit smoothie 250-300 ml

Sports drink 700 ml
Carbohydrate loader supplement 250 ml
Liquid meal supplement 250-300 ml
Sports bar 1-1.5 bars
Sports gels 2 sachets
Glucose polymer powder 60 g
(Adapted from Peak Performance: training and nutritional strategies for sport J. Hawley and L. Burke. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1998. And the AIS website:

Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein Content of Select Energy Bars

Bar Carbo grams Calories %Carbos % Fat Protein %
ATP Tour 30 160 74 21 5
Balance 16 180 36 33 31
Bear Valley 60 420 56 29 17
Carbo-Crunch 27 180 60 19 20
Clif Bar 52 250 83 7 8
Edgebar 46 240 77 8 15
Exceed 53 280 76 6 17
Gatorbar 49 220 89 8 5
PowerBar 42 225 75 8 18
PR Bar 18 180 39 30 31
Tiger Sport 40 230 70 14 16
Torque Bar 46 211 87 2 11
Ultra Fuel 99 490 81 6 13
VO2 Max 45 230 78 12 12

Carbohydrate Content of Select Energy Gels

GEL Carb grams Calories %Carbs % Fat Protein %

PowerGel 28 110 100 0 0

Clif Shot 24 100 100 0 0

Carb-Boom 27 107 100 0 0

GU 25 100 100 0 0

Hammer Gel 23 93 100 0 0

Maxim (resealable) 77 310 100 0 0

SIS Isotonic 25 100 100 0 0

Squeezy 25 100 100 0 0

Product carbohydrate carbohydrate(% concentration) grams
(8 OZ serving)
Accelerade(12oz) sucrose,fructose, 7.75 26

Body Cooler fructose, maltodextrin 6 12

Body Fuel 750 maltodextrin, fructose 7 17

Endurox glucose, complex carb. 7 53

Exceed glucose polymer, fructose 7 17

Gatorade sucrose, glucose 6 14

Glucolyte fructose, maltodextrin 6 15

Hydra Fuel maltodextrin, glucose, 7 18

Max maltodextrin, fructose 10 24

Perform maltodextrin, glucose, 7 16

Performance maltodextrin, fructose 11 25

PowerAde fructose, sucrose 6 14

Power Burst fructose 6 12

Rehydrate fructose 6 12

10-K sucrose, fructose 6 15

Workout maltodextrin, glucose 8 20
polymer fructose


– Eat Smart, Play Hard: Customized Food Plans for All Your Sports and Fitness Pursuits by Elizabeth Ann Applegate, Liz Applegate (Paperback)
– Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners by Nancy Clark (Paperback)
– Training Nutrition: The Diet and Nutrition Guide for Peak Performance
by Ed Burke, U.S. Swimming Staff, Jacqueline R. Berning
– Optimal Muscle Recovery by Ed Burke
– Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 2nd Edition
by Nancy Clark (Preface)
– Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes By Monique Ryan, Velopress 2002