Eating right is essential to get your body in top condition for triathlon events. The building blocks provided by decent nutrition will enable your muscles to repair themselves faster, boost your immune system and help to deliver the best possible care to every inch of your body from the inside out. In this article, we take a look at some top nutrition tips for triathletes to follow in the run-up to their next Freebird triathlon event.
Proper hydration is absolutely vital for maximising the benefits of a workout and ensuring your body is in tip-top condition. Dehydration causes fatigue, so you won’t be able to push yourself in training sessions. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day by sipping water-based drinks, and have a drink about half an hour before you go out on a run or ride. Sip water throughout training sessions, but be sure not to take in too much liquid at any one time – otherwise you’ll risk cramps and runner’s belly. Sports drinks can help to replace lost minerals and electrolytes during heavier training sessions, too.
Everyone loves a good carb-based meal, but be sure your meals provide the maximum benefit by avoiding white refined flour. Pasta is a triathlete’s friend, but switching to wholewheat pasta will provide you with a lower glycaemic index meal, providing you with slow burn energy and preventing the sugar spikes associated with white refined flour. The same goes for rice – brown basmati rice is particularly tasty, full of fibre and more filling in a smaller portion than white rice. Switching to wholegrain foods will steady your blood sugars throughout the day, meaning you won’t be reaching for the unhealthy sugary snacks when you get the post-carb crash.
Eating protein with every meal will help your muscles with speedy repair, enabling you to get back out on your next training session sooner, with less muscle soreness. A good way to fit protein into your diet is by having eggs at breakfast or sprinkling some nuts on your porridge, while cottage cheese on a sweet potato at lunchtime will provide the right combination of protein and a low GI carbohydrate. Evening meals with grilled chicken or fish are another way to boost your protein intake, and adding a small portion of cheese can help. Vegetarian triathletes will benefit from a diet high in pulses such as lentils and chickpeas, which are brilliant sources of both protein and fibre.
Your body needs iron to function, and athletes are often at risk of anaemia as they push themselves to the limits. Make sure you are getting enough iron by including leafy green vegetables in your daily diet, with red meat a couple of times a week. Eggs are also a brilliant source of iron, but be sure to eat them with a source of vitamin C (such as a small glass of orange juice with your meal) to maximise the iron intake your body can process.
Of course we don’t mean actual rainbows – make your plates as colourful as possible with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to ensure that your vitamin and nutrient intake is as varied and full as possible. The more varied your diet, the more prepared your body will be for hard training sessions.
Following these basic diet tips will help triathletes in training to feed their body with the right nutrients and stay in the best condition possible. Even those who are training to lose weight need to make sure their calories are balanced, as a starvation diet is damaging to muscles and will not be beneficial to training. Once you’ve got on top of these tips, it’s time to book your next Freebird triathlon event to make the most of your good behaviour.
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