If you are a stoic athlete your workout isn’t just an important part of your day; it’s an important part of your life.  You train hard and long, and you aren’t a lightweight.

For those of you who train for endurance, a healthy diet plan is essential to keep you going.  There are six nutrition rules that you should never break, keep reading to get the inside scoop!

Get your grains and seeds in

Grains and seeds are great for those who work out for endurance.  They will keep you full and energized for long hours.  Many people try to avoid these foods because they tend to have a high calorie count but when you are working on large amounts of calories and fat, your body needs something solid to run on.

Whole grains are awesome because they are easy to find, and most are cheap.  You can get your daily fix of whole grains in by starting the day off with whole grain bread or oatmeal.  They contain minerals, fibre, and phytonutrients that your body craves when you are an athlete.  Just make sure that you steer clear of processed grains and white bread.

Flaxseed are a great option – they contain fibre, vitamin B1, and ALA omega-3 (an essential fatty acid).  You can add flaxseed to your cereal, on top of yoghurt, and you can even replace white flour with ground flax flour.

Other seeds to add to your diet are:

  • Chia seeds – high in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
  • Pumpkin seeds – high in vitamin B complex, protein, and L-tryptophan (known to boost your mood and combat depression).
  • Sunflower seeds – rich in magnesium and vitamin E.

Don’t skimp on water

Water is a vital part of your diet that you should not take lightly.  When you drink water you boost your metabolism and kick-start your ability to burn fat.  It will help you get the most out of your workout.

You should also be aware of the amount of water that you are drinking throughout the day, because staying hydrated is essential if you are working out for long hours and even more so if you are in the sun.  Dehydration is very dangerous, and you should drink water throughout the entire day, not just when your workout begins.

Studies have suggested that sugar and salt dehydrate the body.  Make sure that you aren’t reaching for an excess of energy drinks that claim to refuel and hydrate the body – sometimes these drinks are packed full of sugar and sodium.

Never starve yourself

Being healthy does not equate to starving yourself.  Although some people boast about how little they eat, eating is not something to look at negatively.  Eating is a vital part of our survival and if you are working out for long periods of time and skipping meals then you will start to feel the negative effects quickly.

Change the way that you think about eating and food.  Having a positive relationship with food is very important for athletes.  You need muscle and energy to sustain your activities, and the base for your health starts in your kitchen.

Plan your meals

One way to make sure that your body is always fuelled and that you don’t end up reaching for fast food and things that sabotage your workout is to plan out your meals.  At the beginning of the week make a list of all the things that you need to eat for the week.

It’s also important for you to be prepared with snacks.  Take fruit, vegetables, and nutrition bars with you everywhere you go – sometimes you need a little pick me up through the day to keep you going.  If you’re prepared, you can make sure that your snacks are foods that will fuel your body and hold you over until your next meal.

Don’t believe everything you read

Make sure that you do thorough research on everything that you choose to eat.  Don’t trust claims that are on the outside of packages.  Do your own investigating.  Read all the labels on pre-packaged food and don’t buy products simply because they claim to be “healthy.”