Nutrition Guidelines for Endurance Athletes

Nutrition before, during and after endurance training is really important for full recovery of your body (muscles and immune system). Timing of nutrition should be acknowledged as well. I did review this NSCA article on endurance nutrition a long time ago (Bishop, P. A., Jones, E., & Woods, A. K. (2008). Recovery from training: a brief review: brief review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(3), 1015-1024) .

 Endurance Nutrition

This is my summary in short:

  • Fatigue results from thermal stress caused by dehydration, muscle glycogen depletion (carbohydrates), or limited blood glucose availability.

  • Other consequences of endurance exercise are muscle damage, soreness and immune system suppression. 


  • Preparation prior exercise should consist of Hyper-hydration: before competition- 500ml of fluid 2 hours before and again 15 minutes before exercise and Glycogen loading: Carbohydrate feeding 4-6 hours before exercise: 200-300g of carbs meal.


  • Carb supplementation 1 hour before exercise is still controversial.


  • Supplementation during exercise:  Fluid and electrolyte supplementation (sodium chloride electrolyte for maintain fluid balance, and absorption of fluids). Dosage: 15-30 mmmol/L sodium and potassium 3-6 mmmol/ L. Magnesium can be added as well. 


  • If training more than 1 hour a carbohydrate supplementation:  500ml of fluid per hour is best.


  • Timing of carbohydrate ingestion
    If training in hot and humid conditions consume 250 ml of a 5% of carb solution every 15 minutes. Card solution should consist of maltose, sucrose and maltodextrins. Adding protein to carb supplementation (1:3 ratio) can increase effectiveness of supplement and boosts the immune system. If training in normal conditions, consume carbs right after exercise 6-8 mmol/ kg. Liquid supplementation- easy to consume and rapidly digested. On the other hand, whole food intake after several hours - muscle recovery.


  • Nutrition for rapid rehydration recovery
    Sodium 20-80 mmol/ L
    Potassium 2-6 mmol/ L


  • Muscle glycogen depletion
    5-7g of carbs / kg of body weight per day
    7-12g of carbs / kg of body weight per day
    10-12g of carbs / kg of body weight per day


  • The metabolic window of recovery opportunity is 45 minutes after exercise with carb/ protein supplementation.