The spotlight at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, was not only on the games’ amazing athletes, but also on what has turned out to be one of the most abused performance-enhancing drugs ever – eryth-ropoietin (EPO).EPO is a synthetic version of a natural hormone in our bodies that is produced in the kidneys and stimulates the formation of red blood cells. Synthetic EPO is used medi-cally to treat certain types of anemia and other diseases. But as a black market sports drug, EPO is used by athletes to increase the body’s production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen to muscles. The net effect is to boost endurance – a job EPO does well, by 5 to 15 percent. Synthetic EPO, however, has trouble-some side effects when not taken under medical supervision. It thickens the blood, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke, particularly during intense exercise.
The drug is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 26 athletes.1But this bulletin is not about EPO. It is about how to increase endurance through nutrition and supplementation, without re-sorting to dangerous drugs . I’ve seen amazing results from ath-letes who are willing to take the natural route. Case in point: I once worked with a pro triathlete who regularly consumed 6,000 calories a day from lean proteins and natural carbohydrates. In a qualifier race for his third Ironman, the toughest, most grueling triath-lon in the world, he was able to maintain a sub-six minute pace and turned in the third fastest race of the day.Once in the Ironman, he was fueled by a breakfast of egg whites and oatmeal with CapTri®. During the first half of the bike race, he consumed 32 ounces of a special carbohydrate drink (Pro-Carb™), mixed with a medium-chain triglyceride supple-ment (CapTri®). He dismounted his bicycle in 240th place (out of 1,450 professional competitors).
At the 19th mile marker, he had moved up to 110th place. With seven miles to go, he picked up his pace and fin-ished in 79th place – his strongest Ironman showing everIf that’s the kind of endurance and stamina you’re looking for, no matter what your sport, here’s what to do to get it.Eat a Natural Carb-Laden Diet. Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred fuel source during exercise. It is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. More than 99 percent of the carbohydrates you eat are used by the body to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is a molecular fuel used by the muscles to power contractions. The more carbohy-drates you include in your diet, the better your muscles run . In 1967, a now-classic study was per-formed to look at the effects of carbohydrate intake on glycogen levels and endurance. Endurance was measured by exercise time to exhaustion, with the subjects training at 75 percent of their maximal aerobic capacity. The researchers found a direct relation-ship between carbohydrate content of the diet and endurance time.
A low-carbohydrate diet (5 percent of calories) provided enough muscle glycogen stores to sustain one hour of exercise. A moderate carbohydrate diet (50 percent of calories) resulted in glycogen levels to sustain 115 minutes of exercise. The high-carbohydrate diet (82 percent of calo-ries) supported 170 minutes of high intensity exercise. Clearly, a high-carbohydrate diet is beneficial for endurance.2The best source of carbohydrate to meet the energy demands of the body are starchy carbs and fibrous carbs. I recom-mend that you eat at least one to two servings of starchy carbs and one to two servings of fibrous carbs at each meal, along with a lean protein source. For guidelines on how to do this, see The Parrillo Nutrition Manual™.Fuel Your Body with Carbohydrate SupplementsThe longer and harder you train, the more depleted your glycogen reserves become, and the sooner you fatigue. One way to prevent the onset of fatigue and help extend energy is to use a powdered carbo-hydrate supplement in your diet .Select a formulation that contains low DE dextrines, either maltodextrin or rice dextrin. These are slow-releasing carbo-hydrates derived from grains that provide sustained energy levels. This type of formu-lation is found in Parrillo ProCarb™ and Parrillo 50-50 Plus™.For even greater energy and endur-ance, sip that carbohydrate beverage during your workouts.
This provides a source of carbohydrate other than muscle glycogen. With glycogen spared, fatigue is delayed. Mix in CapTri®CapTri® is a me-dium-chain triglycer-ide (MCT) supplement. MCT oil is preferen-tially used as fuel for energy, instead of be-ing stored by the body. Medium chain fatty acid fragments can dif-fuse into the cell very quickly, where they are burned immediately for energy – at the same time as glucose . The ability of MCTs to enter the cells in this manner has a glucose-sparing effect, mean-ing that glucose and its stored counterpart, muscle glycogen, last longer without being depleted. The longer glycogen reserves last, the more energy you have. To boost your endurance during exercise, take CapTri with a carbohydrate sports drink. At the University of Capetown Medical School in South Africa, research-ers mixed 86 grams of MCT oil (nearly 6 tablespoons) with two liters of a10 percent glucose drink to see what effect it would have on the performance of six endurance-trained cyclists. The cyclists were fed a drink consisting of glucose alone, glucose plus MCT oil, or MCT oil alone. In the labora-tory, they pedaled at moderate intensity for about two hours and then completed a higher-intensity time trial.
They performed this cycling bout on three separate occasions so that each cyclist used each type of drink once. The cyclists sipped the drink every ten minutes. Performance improved the most when the cyclists supplemented with the MCT/glucose mixture. The researchers did some further biochemical tests on the cyclists and confirmed that the combination spared glycogen while making fat more ac-cessible for fuel.3Supplement with Endurance-Enhancing Nutrients. These include the following inosine, L-phenylalanine, D-phenylalanine, ferulic acid (FRAC), and magnesium and potassium aspartates, which is the formulation in our Max EnduranceT Formula. Inosine improves oxygen utilization for better stamina, possibly by forcing ad-ditional production of ATP. L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that acts as a potent mental stimulant for improved concentra-tion during workouts. The mirror image of L-phenylalanine is D-phenylalanine, an amino acid that inhibits the breakdown of endorphins (a protein-like substance with analgesic properties) for a higher pain threshold. Ferulic acid (FRAC). stimulates the endocrine system to aid recovery and boost workout capacity.4Hard training produces certain waste products, including ammonia .
By turning ammonia into uric acid, aspartates help filter waste products from the system, giving you extra stamina and extending endurance.5Supplement with Liver Tablets. Among the most crucial supplement for anyone who wants to increase endur-ance is desiccated and defatted liver, the basis for our Liver-Amino™ Formula. I can’t overemphasize the importance of this supplement, because defatted liver is an excellent source of heme iron. Iron is essential for the manufacture of two important proteins in the body: he-moglobin, a constituent of red blood cells that gives them their color; and myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in muscle cells. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen from the lungs and transports it to the body’s cells where it is used to produce energy from the foods you eat. Myoglobin allows oxygen to be consumed inside muscle cells. Without adequate iron, the oxygen delivery system won’t work well, nor will oxygen be burned properly inside the cells . Clearly, iron has a central position in produing energy .For best results, I recommend that you take several Liver Amino™ Formula tablets with each meal. Along with ample calories from high-density foods, desiccated liver supplements should help you reach peak levels of performance. There you have it – ways to boost endurance, naturally and safely – as long as you’re willing to go the extra mile nutrition-ally, and not take short cuts.
1. Dunn, A. 2000. “Olympics again put oft-abused Amgen drug under scrutiny.” Los Angeles Times, September 18.
2. Bergstrom J., et al. 1967. Diet, muscle glycogen and physical performance. Acta Physiology Scandinavian, 71: 140-150 .
3. Van Zyl, C. 1996. Effects of me-dium chain triglyceride ingestion on fuel me-tabolism and cycling performance. Journal of Applied Psychology 80: 2217-2225.
4 . Murray, M .T . 1996 . Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, Cali-fornia: Prima Health.
5. Wesson, M., et al. 1988. Effects of oral administration of aspartic acid salts on the endurance capacity of trained athletes. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 59: 234-239 .