Triathlon Vitamin Tricks to Optimize Efficiency – Kelly Jones Vitamin


Between swimming, working, biking, power coaching, stretching, and brick exercises, there’s so much that goes right into a triathlon coaching plan. Sadly, with a lot time and power invested into staying in peak form as a multi-sport athlete, it may be simple to miss diet and the necessary position it performs in reaching your objectives as a triathlete. On prime of that, diet misinformation can lead even the triathletes who are prioritizing diet down a path that really harms their efficiency. On this publish we’ll cowl the fundamentals of triathlon diet, together with frequent diet points triathletes face, what to eat earlier than, throughout, and after a exercise, and easy methods to optimize diet for efficiency on race day.

Widespread Triathlon Vitamin Points

As a result of triathlon coaching and competitors is so taxing on the physique, correct diet is important not solely to gas your efficiency but in addition to facilitate restoration. A couple of diet points that generally come up for triathletes embrace underfueling, dehydration, and GI misery.


Not consuming sufficient to help your exercise stage (also called low power availability) can result in not solely the dreaded bonk, but in addition to a variety of long-term penalties for psychological well being, bodily well being, and efficiency together with:

  • Elevated harm danger
  • Decreased glycogen (the carbs saved in your physique that gas your exercises)
  • Irritability, anxiousness, and melancholy
  • Poor bone well being
  • Gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and menstrual dysfunction
  • Decreased muscle power and endurance efficiency

triathlon nutrition underfueling

Due to the excessive power output related to triathlon coaching, underfueling can simply happen unintentionally, which is why prioritizing sufficient consumption on a day-to-day foundation is important. Moreover, a heightened concentrate on “race weight” can set off disordered consuming and/or persistent underfueling. To be taught extra about how restrictive diets can hurt efficiency and well being, try this publish on Ditching The Weight-reduction plan Mentality for Efficiency.


With any type of endurance coaching comes an elevated danger of dehydration, and should you’re coaching in a sizzling surroundings, that danger is even larger. Sustaining sufficient hydration standing is vital not solely to your common well being and nicely being, but in addition for maximizing bodily efficiency. 

When occupied with the position of hydration in your triathlon diet plan, counting on thirst alone isn’t going to chop it. Thirst is much less delicate whenever you train and gained’t kick in till you’ve misplaced 1-2% of your physique weight in fluid, at which level, you’ll already be experiencing a decline in cardio efficiency potential, a lower in blood quantity, and issue releasing warmth by sweat (because you don’t have as a lot fluid to lose). On prime of that, consuming simply sufficient water to quench your thirst isn’t sufficient to utterly rehydrate you. In mild of this, it’s important for athletes to anticipate their thirst by staying hydrated all through the day, conserving loads of fluids readily available throughout a exercise, and replenishing post-workout. A straightforward technique to assess your hydration standing is to make it possible for the shade of your pee stays comparatively mild or pale yellow.

hydration for triathlon

To make sure optimum hydration, make sure you substitute not solely water, but in addition the electrolytes misplaced by sweat. Sodium is misplaced within the biggest quantity, however different electrolytes together with potassium, magnesium, and calcium are misplaced in sweat in smaller quantities, too. Consuming sufficient carbohydrate can also be necessary for correct hydration, since every gram of carbohydrate saved within the physique holds on to three ml of fluid. Sports activities drink powders from manufacturers like Skratch and Clif present each carbs and electrolytes that may enable you to keep away from dehydration and its signs. Nuun and Now make hydration dietary supplements that present solely electrolytes, which is usually a good possibility in case you are ingesting simply digestible carbs together with it, like on this Electrolyte Restoration Smoothie recipe. Some extra ideas for hydration are included within the graphic above – and should you’re coaching with lengthy length and/or excessive depth, these apply year-round, not simply in the summertime!

GI misery

There’s nothing worse than setting out for a tough coaching session or race and discovering your self crippled by gastrointestinal (GI) signs like stomach ache and cramping, nausea, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. GI misery is a standard subject for triathletes, however thankfully, enjoying round with what and whenever you eat earlier than your exercises might be extraordinarily useful in managing and stopping GI signs. Within the subsequent part, we’ll cowl easy methods to construct pre- and intra-workout fueling into your triathlon diet plan in addition to easy methods to practice your intestine to keep away from abdomen discomfort.

What to Eat Earlier than, Throughout, and After Triathlon Coaching

Now that you just’re conscious of a number of the most typical triathlon diet points, let’s dive into some particular issues and examples for pre-, intra-, and post-workout gas. We’ll concentrate on meals right here, however fluids and electrolytes are additionally necessary in any respect three of those levels to keep up hydration standing.

Pre-workout triathlon diet

Since carbohydrates are essentially the most environment friendly supply of power to your muscle tissues throughout a coaching session, you’ll need to devour loads of simply digestible carbs pre-workout. Meals excessive in fats, fiber, and protein, alternatively, are an necessary a part of your day by day weight-reduction plan however take longer to digest and will trigger some GI misery if consumed in massive quantities too near a exercise. 

Along with your macronutrient steadiness, the timing of your pre-workout gas can also be vital with regards to optimizing power ranges and avoiding GI signs. In the event you’re planning on consuming a full meal pre-workout, achieve this not less than 3 hours earlier than you head out to provide your physique time to digest. About an hour earlier than you practice, think about topping off your power shops with a carbohydrate-rich snack that’s decrease in fats, fiber, and protein. In the event you’re lower than half-hour away out of your exercise time, you’ll need to choose for easy carbs solely.

energy balls pre-workout snack

Listed below are some pre-workout meal and snack concepts that put the following tips into observe. Remember that power wants and digestion time range from individual to individual, so there might be a point of trial and error to find out what works finest to your particular person triathlon diet plan. Moreover, the optimum timing for pre-workout gas might differ relying on the game. For instance, you could discover {that a} snack consumed an hour prematurely sits nice with you on the bike however that you just require extra digestion time earlier than a swim exercise.

  • 3-4 hours earlier than a exercise: Eat a meal that features carbohydrate-rich meals paired with average quantities of fats, fiber, and protein. Some examples embrace eggs with toast, a pesto grain bowl, or a tuna sandwich. Serve this stuff with carbohydrate-rich sides like fruit, crackers, or a glass of soy or dairy milk.
  • 60-90 minutes earlier than a exercise: Select a carbohydrate-rich snack with a little bit of protein or fats, like a banana with nut butter, pita with hummus, or do-it-yourself snack bites.
  • <30 minutes earlier than a exercise: Persist with easy carbs like 100% fruit juice, a honey packet, or a sports activities gel for simple digestion.

Intra-workout triathlon diet

A long time of sports activities diet analysis exhibits that consumption of carbohydrates throughout endurance train is linked with enhanced efficiency. Based mostly on the accessible proof, the Academy of Vitamin & Dietetics place paper on diet for athletic efficiency recommends 30-60g carbohydrate per hour of endurance train and as much as 90g per hour throughout ultra-endurance actions lasting greater than 2.5-3 hours. That is along with consuming a carbohydrate-rich snack pre-workout.

Some merchandise that may enable you to meet your intra-fueling wants embrace: 

In the event you’re not used to fueling throughout your exercises, construct up slowly to fulfill the suggestions. In the event you go from consuming nothing in any respect throughout exercises to consuming 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise, you could expertise GI discomfort — this doesn’t imply which you can’t tolerate intra-workout gas, however quite that your physique wants time to regulate. Carbs are important for optimum triathlon diet, so should you’re struggling to include them throughout your exercise, try our publish on Coaching Your Intestine for Athletic Efficiency and the graphic beneath for some sensible methods.

training your gut for endurance exercise

Put up-workout triathlon diet

The macronutrients to prioritize post-workout are protein for muscle restore and carbohydrates to refuel you. The advice for post-workout protein consumption varies in accordance with physique measurement and composition, however round 20 grams is an efficient body of reference. In order for you a extra exact estimate, use the vary 0.25-0.3 grams per kilogram of physique weight. 

Pairing carbohydrates with protein will assist your physique correctly recuperate and refuel to your subsequent exercise. Carbs additionally serve a protein-sparing operate, which means that by offering your cells with the power they want, they allow protein for use for muscle synthesis and restore quite than for power.

Ideally, you’ll begin refueling inside 1 hour of ending your exercise. Listed below are some post-workout snack concepts that may enable you to get protein and carbs in rapidly and tide you over to your subsequent meal: 

In the event you discover that your urge for food is suppressed after exercises, attempt a smoothie — it’s a good way to devour the vitamins you want post-workout in a format that could be simpler to get down. The graphic beneath from our sister website Pupil Athlete Vitamin exhibits the parts of a balanced post-workout smoothie.

post-workout smoothie

In the event you’re hungry for a meal post-workout and have time to make one instantly, you possibly can all the time soar straight to that, too! Listed below are some recipes that present loads of protein and carbs:

Race Day Vitamin for Triathletes


All the triathlon diet issues mentioned above apply on race day, too, however crucial factor is to stay to acquainted meals that you recognize you tolerate nicely. In the event you often have oatmeal earlier than morning coaching periods, stick with oatmeal —  race day is NOT the time to attempt one thing new. 

In the event you don’t often practice early within the morning, you could discover it useful to observe doing a high-intensity morning exercise a few occasions within the weeks main as much as the race. You should utilize these coaching periods to see how your physique responds to completely different fueling methods very first thing within the morning and see what works finest for you. Some concepts for pre-competition breakfasts that are typically nicely tolerated are proven within the graphic beneath. 

race day breakfast triathlon

Intra-race fueling & hydration

The identical recommendation goes for fueling throughout your race — stick with sports activities fueling merchandise you recognize you tolerate nicely, and observe utilizing them in your coaching periods. See the part above on intra-workout fueling for steerage on how a lot carbohydrate you need to be taking in primarily based on the anticipated length of your race. 

intra-race fueling triathlon

Be sure you have a plan for each hydration and fueling. Place water bottles in your bike prematurely and resolve how you’ll retailer any sports activities gels, chews, or bars in the course of the race. Many athletes tape their gas to the body of their bike or use the pockets of their triathlon package. You may additionally think about getting a fueling/hydration belt for longer races should you don’t need to rely solely on assist stations for water in the course of the run. If the race is in a warmer local weather than you might be used to, you have to additional fluids and electrolytes to compensate for elevated sweat losses.

Carb loading

What in regards to the evening earlier than the race? Is carb loading needed? Must you eat pasta and nothing else the evening earlier than? Sure and no. You’ll need to eat a carbohydrate-rich meal the evening earlier than a race, however it’s not essential to eat completely carbs. Stability out your plate with a little bit of protein and fats, too. 

carbohydrate loading

Moreover, think about upping your carb consumption for 2-3 days earlier than your race, not simply the evening earlier than. Analysis signifies that consuming 10-12 g/kg/day carbohydrate for the 48 hours main as much as a race might enhance efficiency, significantly for longer distance races that final 90 minutes or extra (assume Olympic distance triathlons, Half Ironmans, and Ironmans). This might equate to roughly 750 grams of carbohydrate per day for an athlete who weighs 150 lbs and roughly 1,250 grams of carbohydrate for an athlete who weighs 250 lbs. For reference, an apple or banana accommodates round 25 grams of carbohydrate, two slices of bread accommodates round 30 grams of carbohydrate, and a cup of cooked grain accommodates round 50 grams of carbohydrate. By incorporating additional carbohydrate into your triathlon diet plan within the days main as much as the race, you might be maximizing the quantity of carbohydrate saved in your muscle tissues as glycogen, which is able to profit your power ranges in the course of the race. Moreover, carbohydrate loading enhances hydration, since glycogen holds water within the physique.

Remember that the kind of carbs issues, too. The cliche of consuming pasta is heading in the right direction since pasta offers easy carbohydrates which are simply digestible. Rice, bread, tortillas, fruit, oats, and potatoes are additionally nice choices for carb loading. Keep away from very excessive fiber sources of carbohydrate like beans, lentils, and cruciferous greens that will put extra stress in your GI tract main as much as the race. Pairing carbs with wealthy meals like cream sauces or deep fried objects may be taxing on the GI system the day earlier than a race, so stick with easy sides and sauces.

Triathlon Vitamin: Key Takeaways

Triathlon is an intense sport each bodily and mentally, and consuming sufficient power by balanced meals and snacks is important to optimize efficiency. Vitamin wants are nuanced and extremely individualized, however listed below are some key takeaways:

  • Underfueling, dehydration, and GI misery are a number of the most typical diet points triathletes face, however might be averted with cautious planning.
  • Give attention to carbs for gas instantly earlier than and through a exercise and carbs + protein for restoration after a exercise. In any respect different meals and snacks, devour a steadiness of protein, carbs, fats, and fiber.
  • Persist with acquainted meals on race day, and think about growing carb consumption for 2-3 days beforehand to prime off power shops.

Want help creating an individualized triathlon diet plan? We’d love to assist! Be taught extra about our 1-1 diet teaching providers right here.

Previous articleHigher Physique and Core Sculpting Supersets
Next articlePumpkin Pie In a single day Oats with Chia

Leave a Reply