Nutrition Coaching for Chicago Endurance Athletes

Endurance athletes like rowers, runners, nordic skiers and distance swimmers have very specific nutritional needs. Endurance athletes also have the tall task of balancing optimal body composition with fueling for peak athletic performance. The fuel you provide your body can make or break your daily performance. We have lived this struggle!

Foundational Questions for Endurance Nutrition Planning

Here are some key points we consider when working with our endurance based athletes: 

  • What is the main energy system used (aerobic, anaerobic, glycolytic)? 
  • What is the energy demand on the individual (calories expended through exercise)?
  • What season is the athlete in (in-season or off-season)?
  • What is the MAIN priority of each season? An endurance athlete may be looking to change body composition during the offseason by losing body fat and/or increasing muscle mass. Nutrition is paramount when attempting these changes. 
  • Periodization: Is the athlete set up for peak performance during their competition season? Does the nutrition and training program allow for periods of rest and recovery? 

Once we have the above information. We can build a plan tailored to an athlete’s needs.

Building Nutrition Plans for Endurance Athletes

Step 1:  Establish Biometric Baseline Data

This is when we put you to work! We ask our clients to complete an intake form that gathers your age, height, weight, current medications and supplements, as well as dieting history. From here can get generate estimates of your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and your total daily energy (TDEE). Your RMR is how we estimate calories your body burns at rest, while your TDEE is caloric quantity your body burns throughout all daily activities. These estimates help us determine a baseline for how much energy your body needs daily.  But wait, we aren’t done yet!

Calculations are great (in theory) but you are unique and should be treated like a human, not a robot. To ensure we are providing the best macronutrient and calorie prescription as possible, we will ask you to track and record EVERYTHING you eat for at least five days. The catch? We need to you to eat NORMALLY. Don’t try and impress us or change what or how you have been eating simply because you know we are watching. We promise to reserve any and all judgments (trust us we’ve seen it all). We need a glimpse of what your body and digestive system have been seeing. Don’t suddenly start eating three salads per day if your diet has largely be comprised of pizza, beer, and Doritos. This just got real, didn’t it? 

Step 2: Implement Nutrition Plan 

After reviewing your food log and intake form, your nutrition coach will put together the beginning stages of your dietary plan based on your priorities (weight loss, peak performance, muscle gain for example). This plan will include daily macronutrient targets, pre- and post- workout macronutrient suggestions, as well as daily hydration goals. We will also lay out the short- and long-term plan based on your training season. If you are currently trying to lean out (or make weight) in preparation for a race a few months away, we will show you how your nutrition plan will change week-to-week and month-to-month. 

It may be worth mentioning at this point that we will never prescribe what we deem to be an unhealthy macronutrient prescription or extreme calorie restriction diet. That’s just not how we roll. 

Step 3: Feedback & Adjustment

As you get more comfortable with your nutrition plan, we will communicate regularly,  monitoring your feedback and progress. We will provide education and guidance on recovery protocols, recipe ideas, sleep hygiene, and stress management.

In summary, we help you determine: 

  • What foods fuel you the best
  • Your ideal body composition 
  • Your optimal pre-training and pre-race nutrition protocols (when and what to eat based on the demands of your training on any specific day)
  • What quantities of calories, protein, carbs and fats and water you need on a daily basis, in addition to any modifications for longer training days or competition days 

At Beyond The Box Nutrition our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower you to develop healthy, sustainable nutritional and lifestyle habits so that you may live your best life. At the end of the day, we want you to feel comfortable and confident enough NOT to need us again! 

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