Dates, the best allies of the long-distance athlete

dates-the-best-allies-of-the-long-distance-athlete

Do you like dates? Are you an endurance athlete and ultra-fund? Cyclist, triathlete, trail runner or trail swimmer? You’re in luck 🙂 In this article we explain the characteristics of dates and their nutritional information.

Dates for athletes are an ideal restorative energy food due to their extra contribution in sugars and calories. What’s more, most energy bars made with natural ingredients are based on dates as the main component. They are appropriate when practicing long distance sports or intense physical exertions such as cycling, ultras or trail running.

Dates are one of the most used components to make energy bars for their consistency and nutritional properties. Unlike other caloric foods, dates replenish us quickly but do not give us a feeling of satiety. Its easily and quickly assimilated sugars are released little by little.

These fruits should always be part of the sportsman’s provisions in the background and, above all, ultra-deep, due to their great energy contribution and their ease of transportation in the form of snacks. They are an ideal food to carry in your jersey pocket on routes and cycling marches and as being natural, they are perfectly carried in all weathers.

Dates characteristics

• Dates are rich in sugars and vitamins A and B, and in ancient times it was called the fruit of the tree of life.

• Its consumption can improve the quality of lipids (fats) in the blood without increasing sugar levels.

• Dates not only provide energy to the muscles, but also to the brain, allowing increased capacity and mental agility. Therefore, they are a good resource to focus better and perform much more if you eat a handful. The brain also consumes sugar when we work with our mind intensely.

• They are rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and in vitamin B3. The conjunction of potassium and vitamin B3 or niacin, favours good nervous and muscular function, promoting good psychomotor coordination. Magnesium is related to the functioning of the intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves immunity.

• Dates also have two natural pigments, beta-carotenes and lutein, which help to take care of eyesight and prevent degenerative diseases of the eyes.

• Dates are usually one of the main components of energy bars.

Energy [Kcal] 289.45

Protein [g] 1.88

Carbohydrates [g] 65,10

Fiber [g] 8.70

Total fat [g] 0.45

Read More: The role of nutrition in sport

Victoria Pendleton’s Diet and Fitness Program

victoria-pendletons-diet-fitness-program

Two-time Olympic gold medal winner, Victoria Pendleton MBE, is arguably one of the most celebrated athletes Great Britain has ever produced. On paper, she’s the epitome of what sportsmen and women dream of, having accomplished a lot of things at such a young age. Today, at 36-years-old, even though she’s retired from the sport of cycling, the native of Stotfold, Bedfordshire still finds ways to compete; this time on a different saddle.

Victoria Pendleton found a new passion in horse racing. Back in March 2015, she announced her intention to become a jockey with the aim of competing at a host of high profile events. Pendleton made her spirited debut five months after, racing and claiming second place in the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Riders’ Handicap at Ripon Riding Royal Etiquette.

From there, Pendleton’s stock rose. She went under the tutelage of renowned horse trainer and journalist, Paul Nicholls, who also regularly contributes expert tips on Betfair and its extensive coverage of the Grand National among other events. The following year, along with her thoroughbred, Pacha Du Polder competed in other major events such as the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, where she placed fifth. This, according to her, was “probably the greatest achievement” of her life.

In hindsight, Victoria Pendleton wouldn’t have been able to get this far without proper discipline when it comes to her diet and her training. During Pendleton’s 2014 interview with Poorna Bell of The Huffington Post, she revealed how she regularly eats healthy snacks like almond butter and olives. She also advised readers to chop up carrot sticks and dip them in hummus for another guilt-free snacking option.

Being a vegetarian, Pendleton regularly consumes either homemade muesli or granola bars or mixed fruits with yogurt for breakfast. Lunchtime normally features something like corn thin crackers, avocado, and a few slices of tomato and cheese. For dinner, Pendleton loves making Thai or Indian food heavy with vegetables, as well as other forms of protein. These cuisines also underline savoury flavour profiles.

During her cycling career, Victoria Pendleton wasn’t allowed to run as her trainers advised her against it. It was because the exercise mainly focuses on quad muscles, while running is mainly for hamstrings and calves. Also, her coaches didn’t want her to be at risk of any injury. Now since she’s retired, she puts in a lot of roadwork for cardio, jogging four or five times a week.

In terms of strength and conditioning exercises, Pendleton does body weight and kettlebell training. Her focus is to build much-needed upper body strength in order to endure the rigors of horse racing. She’s also into boxing, which perfectly combines power, speed, and cardio.

All in all, Victoria Pendleton isn’t just one of those retired Olympians who savour life after sport and give up their strict exercise and diet routine. She represents athletes who not just find different passions outside their usual ventures, but also take care of their bodies by eating right and training well. Be sure to visit Fit Bites’ blog section for more lifestyle tips, celebrity features, and healthy recipes.