Awesome Nutrition Guide for Endurance Athletes

@stevemz sent me down a rabbit hole of research yesterday looking for interesting nutritional information. While on my journey, I happened to come across this nutritional guide for U.S. Military Special Operations Forces.

Spoiler - It’s Completely Free

Here is the link - Navy Seal Nutrition Guide

The demands imposed by Special Operations Forces (SOF) training and missions are unlike any athletic endeavor. Success requires the mustering of all strength and endurance—both physical and mental. SOF are “Warrior Athletes,” the ultimate athlete, at the top of the athletic pyramid. One factor that will contribute to mission success and lifelong health is good nutrition. It is well known that appropriate nutritional habits and interventions can enhance performance, and these successful approaches need to be known.

Maybe a bit of back patting in the above, but the pdf really covers so many important topics such as nutrient timing, macro optimization, dehydration and its impact on performance, supplements, and the list goes on.

I was lucky enough to serve in a similar though not as elite unit back when I was a young pup. Many of the things we discuss today (intermittent fasting, keto, HCLF) were things that were tried on my unit many moons ago. The more elite units of each military branch are definitely on the pointy end when it comes to endurance performance maximization. As I read the pdf, it was interesting to see all of the parallels to the demands of cycling.

A few points that really stand out to me:

  • Eat a lot of carbs (55% of your daily caloric intake, 20% protein, 25% fat ) :flushed:
  • Excess protein is not needed and ultimately turns to fat (target .6-.8g per lb of body weight)
  • The Refueling Interval (RFI) is the 45 minutes after finishing a workout
  • For exercise longer than 90 minutes, consume 50 grams of CHO and 12 grams of protein as food or drink immediately during the RFI and 50 grams of CHO every 2 hours for 6 hours.
  • It takes at least 24 hours to replenish muscle glycogen stores following exhaustive exercise
  • A huge section on performance supplements, what works, why it works, warnings, origins, pretty awesome
  • Energy requirements can increase 25–50% during cold weather operations (races) as compared to warm weather operations (races)

Sleep, depression, supplementation, aging athletes, eating out, snacking, so many topics covered, hard to list everything.

Please take a look and leave your feedback below. I am finding it to be a pretty interesting read and wanted to share.

A lot of this is probably a review for some but I found a lot of interesting new material. Did I mention it’s free? :man_shrugging:


This is in line with other guidelines from other sources of 1.4-1.6g/kg, although if you are running a large calorie deficit, 2g/kg will help spare muscle tissue.


I agree, though was a little surprised to see it listed that way here. Maybe I was thinking the more muscle bound folks would be more protein focused.

They reference an average Navy Seal BMI of 25 and a bf of 13%. A bit thicker than your typical cyclists and hence I presumed they would be a bit more protein centric.

Good stuff and thanks for chiming in :+1:

Very cool find. I’m reading through the rest of it now.

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One more nutrition thread to keep eyes on.

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Fourth page:

Blockquote 0. 4 High Performance Catalysts

  • Vitamin and mineral needs can be met by eating avariety of foods.
  • Vitamin-mineral supplements do not provide energy.
  • Vitamin-mineral supplementation is warranted only when energy balance is not met through the diet.
  • Mega-dosing on vitamins and minerals can be det- rimental to health and performance.
  • Foods naturally high in antioxidants (fresh and colorful foods) should be eaten daily.

It gets a lot of recognition on this forum but I do believe that this is a mantra to live by.


This book is available on Amazon Kindle for free if you prefer that format:

SOF Nutrition Guide Amazon