Bananas – Before beginning any sort of intense physical activity, bananas are among the very best foods to eat to ensure safety to your body. Their high potassium makes them a necessity in any pre-work-out snack. On top of the loads of potassium, you're also getting Vitamin B6, which is good for the heart and maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Bananas also take on the role of replenishing lost electrolytes, so put down your Gatorade and eat a banana! Bananas, despite being a very healthy food, are also tasty and extremely easy to eat. They have a natural “wrapper” which means them appropriate to eat anywhere and anytime, as well as being easy to chop up and mix into a shake or smoothie. Kale – A member of the cabbage family, kale ranks at the very top for necessary consumption for any athlete. Kale contains extremely high levels of a range of vitamins: Vitamin A, K, and B6. Kale also possesses the ability to act as a daily source of iron and calcium. A popular substitute to milk could be a kale shake. Kale is mostly known for being the best food for your digestive system as well as being a way to lower cholesterol. If kale can't do enough for you, it contains two very essential antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress. Whey – With the rise of supplements and additional protein to many athlete's lives, whey protein just became all that more essential. Whey is successful in containing all the important amino acids while being absent fat, and cholesterol. Whey is the fasting digesting protein out there which makes it a popular candidate for athletes who are in desperate need of fast-acting muscle-repair. Whey isn't the easiest thing to get however, but you can find several brands of protein powders out there that contain whey protein. I even recommend not getting any protein powder unless it contains whey. Salmon – And here is the meat that is so crucial to building endurance. Wild salmon is among many nutritionist's ranks as being the best meat for your body. It's protein-rich chemistry makes it perfect as being the main course of a dinner after a big marathon or work-out session. Full of Omega-3 acids, salmon prevents muscle cramping and inflammation throughout our bodies which makes it an important food for intense athletes. Wild salmon is also one of the few meats out there that really benefit your cardiovascular system, and help prevent heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure. Oatmeal – A breakfast of champions could be made up of about anything: bacon, pizza, nails, wood- chippings, etc. But a breakfast of athletes should definitely take the place of oatmeal. Oatmeal is rich in fiber, Vitamin B, and antioxidants which make it a great food to start off your day. It's low glycemic index makes it imperative for runners as it efficiently releases energy into the bloodstream in a sustained fashion, as opposed to other breakfast options which act more suddenly. But don't stop with just oatmeal. Top it off with fresh cherries and maybe a splash of sugar to really get your day going. After all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.
Many of you reading this have probably vowed to yourself that you are going to “get into shape” by increasing your endurance. Endurance training is for those who want to be able to do physical activities for long periods of time – longer than the average Joe, that is. In this blog I will go through a few exercises I have found to be most helpful in getting your body to that next level. Jogging – Believe it or not, jogging/running is still the number one way to increase your endurance because of its simplicity. Depending on your current fitness level, this could be jogging a mile to several miles; it all depends on what you're comfortable with and what your own body can handle. Jogging is the easiest because you don't need a whole of fancy equipment or anything to do it; you just strap on a rugged pair of sneakers, grab some mobile tunes, and head out the door. The only problem with jogging is that is really tests your own commitment to a healthy life style. Many people WANT to start a regular jogging routine, but if you don't personally like jogging, it makes it very difficult to get yourself off the couch and out the door. If this is you, keep reading because there are other ways to do this. Cycling – Maybe jogging isn't for you because you don't like the impact of the ground on your feet, so cycling could be a viable substitute. Cycling requires a bit more however, as you need a decent bicycle, and a good route to go on. The bike can get to be very expensive, depending on how serious you are about cycling, and finding a good route could mean a bit of “going out of your way”. Nevertheless, people have produced the same results from cycling as they have from jogging/running, and I personally believe cycling is a bit more enjoyable. Rather than the huffing-and-puffing you get from a long run, cycling is more of a passive burning that you endure while taking in some gorgeous views of nature. Swimming – Swimming lies as one of the most physically demanding activities today. You may think your body functions to near perfection, but if you put it underwater you'll be shocked to see how much harder your muscles have to work in order for you to move. Swimming isn't for everybody, I'll admit that, but it is one of the most enjoying activities out there and the results you get from swimming exercises is astonishing. Finding a nice sized Olympic pool to do your exercises is can be difficult, but if you find a gym that offers one, it'll be very beneficial. Lifting – All of the three ways to build your endurance that I listed above are all aerobic, but there are several anaerobic exercises you can do to build endurance. The problem with this is that anaerobic exercises do a lot better job at building muscle mass as opposed to increasing your endurance. More muscles means more oxygen and blood needed to fuel the which means the faster your heart needs to work which leads to a quicker fatigue. Keeping a lean amount of muscle is crucial to building high endurance. You don't see any marathon runners that looked like balls of muscle now do you? Lifting can build endurance as long as you go for as many reps as possible. Rather than maxing out at the gym every visit, go for less weight, but more reps. There is another way to anaerobically build endurance, and that's without any weights. Exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, crunches, and other exercises where weight is not needed do a lot better job at building endurance as they also focus on your core.