What is the best diet for endurance athletes?

This question is about NutritionRunning and Cycling

Sarah Achleithner

The right eating approach for an endurance athlete depends on a variety of factors including age, sex, training load, taste preferences, and goals. That said, endurance athletes should focus on nutrient-dense whole foods and aim to eat a combination of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy every day to support performance and general wellness


Carbohydrate intake is especially important for endurance athletes before, during, and after exercise to fuel working muscles, offset fatigue and promote recovery. Furthermore, protein intake is critical for building muscle and accelerating recovery during the post-workout period


Emerging evidence suggests that plant-based diets may improve cardiovascular function, glycogen storage, V02 max, and body composition among those who participate in endurance activities, although it may require additional planning to achieve nutrient adequacy [



For more information on eating for endurance activities check out our ultimate guides to





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[1] Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006

[2] Barnard, N. D., Goldman, D. M., Loomis, J. F., Kahleova, H., Levin, S. M., Neabore, S., & Batts, T. C. (2019). Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Safety and Performance in Endurance Sports. Nutrients, 11(1), 130. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010130