Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
On demanding endurance sports events like the Ironman Triathlon, nutrition contributes significantly to a participant’s overall performance. Short-distance triathlons might not require that much of a rigorous training and diet plan, but in the case of a race like the Ironman 70.3, a lax diet will not be the best food for triathlon results and won’t help you with your objective and more importantly, will put your body at risk.
This article will further discuss the nutritional elements and foods needed in order to pump up your triathlon training program. The aim here is to give away information that will act as a guide in order to maximize your training and diet regimen.
Triathlete’s Food Plan
A triathlete’s diet differs from the average athlete. The energy requirements of endurance athletes are intense, and each athlete’s calorie intake can differ in terms of age, body composition, gender, everyday activities and training regime.
Athletes who are smaller in size and involved in light drills require a bare minimum of 2,000 calories a day as compared with heavier athletes, who need calories ranging above the 5,000 mark. It must come from plenty of sources and as much as possible, you should have a proper nutrition plan that will meet your weight and energy objectives early on in your training.
Endurance thrives on carbs. Carbohydrates are processed and broken down easily by the body. Eating sufficient carbs can keep away initial injury and fatigue. The amount of carbs you need will rely on the kind of training you will undergo. A moderate to intense training will require you to take in 6-10 kilograms of carbs while those who undergo extreme training will keep up by taking in 8-12 kilograms.
Fat is crucial energy resource for beginner levels and moderate physical regimen. Not all fat is bad for you, you can get it from foods like avocados, nuts, olives, fatty fishes and vegetable oils. Just restrict your consumption of saturated fat from foods like butter, cheese, whole milk, animal byproducts and meat with high fat marbling.
Meat and dairy also have their benefits though. It provides a list of nutrients like calcium and protein and is a good source of energy as well so go for leaner cuts and as for dairy, go for fat-free and low-fat alternatives.
Protein is a compound that is responsible for muscle growth and replenishment. It also helps in the balance of fluid and encourages immune functioning. Protein can also help retain endurance during an intense workout or sport. You can get your protein from lean meats, chicken meat (without skin), beans and legumes. Skimmed milk and yogurt has a lot of protein as well and should be a part of your training diet. Yogurt can be made very easily at home to avoid expensive supermarkets. Set the timer of your yogurt maker and you’ll have the best fresh home-made yogurt in the morning! There is no better way to start a day!
A good diet for a triathlete has high levels of carbohydrates, sufficient amounts of protein and a moderate amount of good fat. As you advance through different sets of training, your diet requirements should also be modified in order to meet gradually changing energy and nutrient needs. Once you have that in your regimen, be consistent so that your dietary requirements will be sustained to bring about a good performance during the race.
Food Recommendations for Triathlon Participants
Triathletes are one of the most hardworking of the sports bunch. A race like Ironman 70.3 is a demanding and taxing sports event that will test out every athlete’s endurance levels. To further condition your performance and stamina, here is a list of foods that will supplement your training and provide exceptional nutrients that every endurance athlete needs.
Salmon is great omega-3 resource, and this fatty acid can amplify your heart’s wellbeing by making more pliant blood vessels. It can also enhance the performance of your body’s nervous system. Everyday intake of 2 grams of this fatty acid can help keep health risks such as heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure at bay.
Cherries are packed with antioxidants and they can help maintain strong blood vessels, which can lead to the prevention of cancerous tumors. Ingesting cherries or drinking its juice can also help decrease muscle pain and inflammation. It also contains vast amounts of potassium which aids in normalizing blood pressure and heart rate.
It contains proteins and carbohydrates, repairs muscle tissues and reloads muscle glycogen after a good workout session so this kind of milk is ideal for athletes. The protein in skim milk has 9 amino acids and this acid is responsible for creating and sustaining an athlete’s lean muscles. It is also packed with minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
Basically another food item with high doses of potassium and carbs. A big banana has carbohydrate amounts that goes way beyond 30 grams. Bananas contain generous amounts of potassium at 400 mg’s.
Kale has vast quantities of vitamins C, B6, K and A in its leaves. It also contains a good amount of calcium and iron and sufficient quantities of antioxidants. It has robust anti-inflammatory properties that are unbeatable among green leafy veggies.
Oatmeal has an excellent 27 grams of carbohydrate per half a cup and in addition, is high in fiber. It will also provide you energy that lasts and a serving of it is quite filling, to boot. It is also a good source of calcium and pretty much known to lower cholesterol levels.
Rich in catechins, a kind of antioxidant, green tea was said to increase endurance. It can significantly augment the muscles’ capability for burning fat in the course of a workout by decreasing free radical movement which prevents the metabolism of fat. In addition, it can also regulate the body’s cholesterol levels.
Whole wheat pasta is a great resource of complex carbs, and these complex carbs are broken down by the body at a moderate pace, which can in turn, provide you with energy that can last you for a longer time. A single cup of whole wheat pasta will also provide you with 6 grams of fiber, which encourages proper digestive functions.
Tomatoes are a powerhouse of antioxidants called lycopene, which can decrease the growth of certain kinds of cancer. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to athletes like vitamins C and B6. They can supplement your meals with flavor without the extra calories.
Nutritional Setbacks Athletes Face on Triathlons
Nutrition is a very important aspect of an athlete’s life. Keeping the body at its optimum means that you eat the right food at the right amount. A good and well balanced diet is an essential aspect of training that every athlete must stick to in order to prepare for the big event.
Dehydration and Electrolyte Replenishment
Use your noggin: do not drink in excess. The goal here is to scrape away excess weight (2-4 lbs is recommended) as you reach the finish line. Weight gain is an obvious sign that you have drank way more than what you were supposed to.
Around .5-.6 of your body’s overall weight is a suitable device in which you can scope the amount of water you must be ingesting regularly. In other words, if you are a 180 pound athlete, you should consume roughly 90 to 108 ounces of H2O on the regular.
If you have not been on this water regimen though, do not think of doing it right away. If you do, it will overpower your body with too much liquid and might lead to a condition called hyponatremia – quite the opposite of dehydration.
Consuming tons of sodium days before a triathlon race so you’ll have your proper fill of electrolyte replenishment is not recommended. The average person already consumes roughly 6000 mg’s of sodium a day, a quantity that rates alarmingly above the prescribed 2300-2400 mg’s per day so there is really no need to up your sodium intake.
Good electrolyte replenishment takes a steady approach that combines each and every electrolyte in quantities that won’t outweigh routine body processes. It means that you have to ingest adequately to sustain your body’s utilities and keep away certain issues such as muscle strain without overpowering the body.
There is a big percentage of 70.3 triathlon participants who experience gastrointestinal conditions. Several of these cases are marginal but some were said to be so severe that it hampered the affected athlete’s performance. Others are not hit by this problem but some are more susceptible to this condition.
It was said that these conditions are only psychosomatic, what with the so-called “day of the race” jitters and performance anxiety taking its effect on triathlon participants hours before a race. However, research have also shown that aspects like fat and fiber intake can also affect the stomach and improper intake of it can lead to stomach problems.
To help curb this problem, you must first organize and have an estimate of how much liquid you are going to consume, the sustenance you are going to take in and where you are going to acquire all these (if you are going to carry them with you or get them from feed stations). Think of all this prior to the race and jot them down in your training log.
In addition, avoid foods with fructose and sports drinks and gels with sugar in them, most particularly if you will be spending plenty of time under the sun. It can lead to gastric emptying issues, nausea and various stomach conditions.
Triathlonomatic.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and other international Amazon websites.