Endurance Sports Nutrition and Performance: Common Misconceptions

Practicing good nutrition will definitely improve your daily routine.

However, there have been a lot of wrong claims asserted as facts.

Such misinformation should be corrected as soon as possible to prevent spreading these wrong or even harmful types of information to people involved in the field of sports and nutrition.

There’s a need to prevent the spreading of such harmful information and help fitness professionals, coaches and trainers put an end to them.

As much as possible, knowledge and awareness should be practiced when dealing with these kinds of information, especially when dealing with the well-being of individuals.

You may have heard of these myths before and are still believed by many until today.

Here, we gathered the usual myths associated with sports nutrition and athlete performance to provide the truth about them.

Myth No. 1: Lighter body weight helps you run faster.

Fact: Right amount of energy is needed to help you run fast.

It is a common misconception that comes with thin-looking athletes.

Lesser weight immediately means you have a higher chance of winning athletic events involving running.

However, if the athlete neglects proper nutrition by limiting to only very few amounts of carbohydrates and other necessary nutrients, it would negatively impact their athletic importance, especially if they’re participating in endurance sports.

Lower energy levels will weaken the athlete’s body, leading to a decline in metabolism, sudden collapse, and loss of concentration.

Although it is pretty advisable to make changes in the diet, like reducing fatty or sugary foods, disregarding a food group and only focusing on one would only result in low energy availability in your body.

Let’s say you cater to food rich in protein alone and neglect those that provide fat and carbohydrates.

This doesn’t guarantee that you have the nutrients required to execute your athletic performance.

If you need to follow a certain amount of nutrient intake to maintain good performance, it would be best to stick to it.

There are dietary supplements available that balances the amount of nutrients needed for your body’s development and function.

Myth No. 2: Carbohydrates will only slow down your performance.

Fact: Carbohydrates are necessary to improve your athletic performance.

Food rich in carbohydrates can be found almost anywhere and helps us perform better since they serve as the energy source for our bodies.

They exist in bread, grains, dairy, and even in desserts.

However, too many carbohydrates could lead to weight gain and cause high blood sugar levels resulting in hyperglycemia.

But this does not automatically imply that you need to cut the intake to stay healthy.

If you’re an athlete that does high endurance sports, you will need the right amount of carbohydrates to keep you going.

The number of carbohydrates your body requires may be different from other athletes.

Your metabolic needs define what constitutes the right amount of nutrient intake, so as long as you know and follow the recommended food to eat, you’ll do great.

Myth No. 3: Fats are entirely inadequate for the body.

Fact: The right amount of fats would depend on your body.

Similar to carbohydrates, fat can be found in almost any food group and provide benefits such as absorbing vitamins and improving the performance of the brain and the heart.

Since different types of fat bring different effects into our bodies, we should distinguish the right kind of fat we need.

The good fats are the monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats are those types that help you regulate your blood pressure and level.

Monounsaturated fats are found in various food sources, such as avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds.

Meanwhile, polyunsaturated fats are most commonly found in fish, soy milk, and tofu.

On the contrary, the bad kinds of fat are usually found in the food we love.

They are referred to as the “bad” kind since they bring harmful effects to our bodies when we don’t monitor our consumption and they come in two types which are trans fat and saturated fat.

Trans-fat is a component usually found in fatty food and commercially-produced snacks or baked pastries like biscuits and chips.

This kind of fat raises the level of bad cholesterol in the body.

Meanwhile, saturated fat should also be consumed in moderation.

You can find them in dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter.

Red meat is a significant contributor of trans fat, too. 

You don’t have to cut them entirely off your diet, but you need to consider the amount of bad fat intake your body is getting.

For athletes, be specific with the amount of fat-induced food you consume in your daily diet.

The required amount of fat will greatly depend on the sport you play.

Myth No. 4: Sports drinks are better than water in terms of hydration.

Fact: No other fluid beats water.

Water is a basic need and is ultimately the key to hydration.

Being hydrated is a huge part of one’s athletic performance since it allows them to execute their moves better.

A common practice among athletes is drinking lots of sports drinks before a competition or training.

However, they must be replaced with water since sports drinks have more calories which will only increase their sugar intake and can result in an increase in their weight as well as serious heart problems.

If you’re an athlete that does endurance sports, it’s best to drink fluids with fewer carbohydrates to keep you hydrated.

Although sports drinks do help in hydration because they also contain electrolytes, they’re best consumed after the sport or training to replace the lost electrolytes in your body.

Remember to always check the contents of the fluids you’re drinking to prevent any unlikely effect it may bring to your body.

Final thoughts

Now that the above mentioned myths have been discussed and corrected, it is our duty to share these helpful tips with others in order to change the earlier misconceptions that have been spread and believed.

This also calls us to be mindful and wary of the information that we come across everyday.

Together, let’s maintain healthy lifestyles based on truthful fitness and wellness information.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

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