So – you have been doing all of this training and everything is going awesome – right? But then you start to think … what the heck am I supposed to put in my body? And at first you think – whatever I want! Right? I mean – I am spending all of this time training it shouldn’t matter if I have an extra cookie or 5!
Well …. That might be a little more true if you were training for an ironman – but despite the fact that you are training for a triathlon – you still need to pay attention to putting good things in. You want your body to perform and recover well during training and on race day.
Here are 10 things to think about before putting the good stuff in!
- Plan ahead
Make sure that you match your nutrition for the day with the amount of effort you will put out during your training. Days that you have harder workouts mean that you need more calories to support that effort. Don’t forget to pack a healthy snack or add a little more protein to dinner.
- Up the carbs
For all high-intensity sessions – the ones where you are working at 70% of your Max HR or above or at a level 7 (out of 10) you’ll need carbohydrate in your system prior to training to ensure you can rock your workout. An easy choice is a ½ banana – it is super easy to digest and gives you the right amount of carbs.
- Time your recovery fuel
We all know recovery nutrition is important but timing is key and depends on training for that day – make sure that you get a good mix of carbs and protein ensure you recover. And – you already have a ½ banana left over – just smear that with some almond butter and you are good to go!
- Don’t forget to hydrate
In order to get the most out of your training session, aim to be hydrated before you start. Plus – why would you ever want to be dehydrated? One way to monitor this is to check the color of your urine, aiming for pale straw. During exercise aim to take on about 6 oz every 30 minutes. You can do just plain water – or find a good electrolyte.
- Muscle repair
Endurance athletes often think that they don’t need as much protein as power athletes – but we all need protein. After each training session your muscles will have thousands of micro-tears that will need repairing – sounds scary – but no worries! Just make sure that you get a regular intake of protein – and that will maximize this muscle protein synthesis and adaptation.
I usually recommend about 15 – 25g 4x per day of protein depending on body weight. So – what does this look like? You could have a ½ cup of black beans (or most other kids of beans), ½ cup of tofu, ¾ cup of tempeh or you could supplement with a plant based protein shake. Mixed it up – but put it in!
- Good fats
Don’t forget to include fat in your diet too – you need a certain amount of fat in your diet to absorb important vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Fat helps with satiety and also adds taste and texture to food. Studies have also demonstrated that fats can help with weight maintenance and reduce inflammation. Good plant based fat sources such as avocados, nuts/nut butters, seeds, and oils such as olive and flaxseed are a must for everyone.
- Keep it simple
Remember sports nutrition mean that you need a bunch of fancy gadgets or special ingredients. Just because you’ve read that coconut oil is the next best thing since sliced bread – it doesn’t mean you need to include it in your weekly shopping basket. (Well …. I take that back – buy the coconut oil – it is FANTASTIC and you can use it for everything!) Fresh simple ingredients such as scrambled tofu with veggies and toast or a hearty bean chili are awesome choices. Or what about a bowl of oatmeal with some honey and walnuts. The possibilities are endless and yummy and currently making me hungry!
Ok – while I go off to make myself a yummy smoothie pack with bananas, spinach and some Vega One in my new favorite Coconut Almond flavor …. think about how awesome it is to be a triathlete in training. You rock!
Move your body, put good things in and ENJOY every day!