Whether you are starting out or have been exercising for a long time, you must have found out that most workout routines, whether for weight loss or for fitness, include cardio training alongside strength training. While strength training aims at muscle building, cardio aims at building endurance and stamina. But besides doing cardio, you must eat foods that help boost endurance and stamina both in the short term and in the long run. Here’s the list of foods you need to eat.
Eat a bowl of boiled quinoa every day for a week leading up to your sporting event. You can continue to eat quinoa after the event to obtain relief from muscle pain or injuries.
A superfood most appreciated for its complex nutritional profile, quinoa is easily available, affordable, and easy to cook. The proteins found in quinoa are essential for muscle building, cell growth, and tissue repair. Quinoa is also rich in vitamin B12, a nutrient that converts food to energy.1 Used by the ancient Inca warriors to increase stamina and endurance, this complex grain can be easily cooked up as a delicious breakfast or meal.
Consume half a glass of beetroot juice right before your sporting event to enhance stamina.
Beetroot juice is an energy-booster. The nitrate-rich beetroots trigger the release of nitric oxide to regulate blood flow and reduce the amount of oxygen required to exercise. A study, in fact, showed that a group of cyclists who consumed beetroot juice before their performance displayed an increase in stamina by 15%.2
Eat half a banana every 15 minutes of your sporting event or workout. Opt for fresh bananas as it’s healthier and more nutritious than the canned or frozen kind.
If there is one food that’s a favorite of athletes at track races, sports meets, or any other endurance runs, it is the humble banana. Packed with complex carbs and potassium that minimize cramping and help the cardiovascular system function better, bananas can boost your energy. Research indicates that eating half a banana every 15 minutes of the workout could be as effective as consuming energy drinks during the exercise.3
4. Chia Seeds
Toss a spoonful of chia seeds in your salad or smoothie. Consume the seeds every day for long-term endurance and stamina. If you’re an athlete training for a marathon, eat chia seeds for at least a month before the actual event.
An important part of the ancient Aztec diet, chia seeds are considered to be major sources of energy. One of nature’s best plant-based sources of complete protein, chia seeds work to raise your energy levels immediately upon consumption.4 In fact, marathon athletes can have chia seeds to carbo-load – that is increase their carbohydrates intake to increase the glycogen stores in their muscles. This glycogen serves as fuel during a long run, keeping fatigue at bay.5 You can also add chia seeds to smoothies, cereals, or your sandwiches to boost up your stamina and enhance your exercise routine.
You can eat spinach in its raw form. Alternatively, add chopped spinach to smoothies, omelettes and stews. However, ensure that you wash the leaves thoroughly before use.
Like Popeye, when you need that extra something to go the distance, pop open the spinach can and have a go. Like beetroots, spinach is rich in nitrates, which act directly on the cells’ energy factories – called mitochondria – to release energy and boost endurance.6
Drink one glass of pomegranate juice right after the workout. If the soreness in your muscle persists, drink two glasses of pomegranate juice every day for a week after the workout or event.
Pomegranates help athletes perform better and recover faster from stressful exercises. The fruit is rich in polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can reduce muscle soreness and inflammation by up to 10%, thus aiding muscle recovery.7
7. Pickle Juice
Drink a cup of pickle juice post the sporting event or workout to regain lost electrolytes.
When you’re exercising, you lose electrolytes and essential salt through perspiration. Pickle juice, which is rich in magnesium and potassium, replenishes the lost electrolytes and provides relief from muscle cramps. This reduces your recovery time and helps you quickly get back to your workout.8
8. Nuts And Nut Butters
Eat 1 ounce of nuts – including almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts – every day to boost your energy levels.
One of the highest sources of energy, nuts consist of all major macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate, and fat. The nutrients work together to stave off fatigue, boost energy, and promote endurance. Nuts also have a low glycemic index, which means that the sugar present in them is absorbed slowly by your body, thus giving you a stable energy level.9 10
Alternatively, you could also opt for nut butter. A favorite pre-workout snack of most sportpersons is peanut butter. It is a rich source of protein that helps sore muscles and tissues heal quickly, thus reducing your recovery time and boosting endurance.11
9. Oolong Tea
Drink a cup of black oolong tea right before your event to boost your performance.
If you’re looking for food that boosts energy and helps you perform better in day-to-day tasks, oolong tea is your solution. A traditional Chinese tea, oolong tea could be a healthier alternative to coffee. It contains healthy amounts of energy-boosters like caffeine and antioxidants like catechins and certain polymerized polyphenols. So, drinking oolong tea can help increase your energy expenditure, enhance your metabolic rate, and improve your stamina.12
Include these foods in your diet to power up in your workout and excel at sporting events.
|↑1||Quinoa. Center for family development, University of Minnesota.|
|↑2||Beetroot Juice for Endurance? University of Nevada, Las Vegas.|
|↑3||Bananas are as beneficial as sports drinks, researchers find. Appalachian State University.|
|↑4||The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. College of Health Sciences, Healthy Urban Bodies.|
|↑5||Illian, Travis G., Jason C. Casey, and Phillip A. Bishop. “Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25, no. 1 (2011): 61-65.|
|↑6||Spinach ‘may boost exercise’. National Health Services.|
|↑7||Ammar, Achraf, Mouna Turki, Hamdi Chtourou, Omar Hammouda, Khaled Trabelsi, Choumous Kallel, Osama Abdelkarim et al. “Pomegranate Supplementation Accelerates Recovery of Muscle Damage and Soreness and Inflammatory Markers after a Weightlifting Training Session.” PloS one 11, no. 10 (2016): e0160305.|
|↑8||Fact or Fiction? Common athletic performance misconceptions. Texas A&M University Health Science Center.|
|↑9||Brufau, Gemma, Josep Boatella, and Magda Rafecas. “Nuts: source of energy and macronutrients.” British Journal of Nutrition 96, no. S2 (2006): S24-S28.|
|↑10||9 tips to boost your energy — naturally. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.|
|↑11||Where Do You Get Your “Fuel” From? University of New Hampshire.|
|↑12||Komatsu, Tatsushi, Masayo Nakamori, Keiko Komatsu, Kazuaki Hosoda, Mariko Okamura, Kenji Toyama, Yoshiyuki Ishikura, Tohru Sakai, Daisuke Kunii, and Shigeru Yamamoto. “Oolong tea increases energy metabolism in Japanese females.” Journal of Medical Investigation 50, no. 3/4 (2003): 170-175.|