Mar 02

What Do Triathletes Eat Before Competitions?

Running, cycling and swimming aggressively, several weeks before a triathlon (and right up until race day!) will be one of the components of ensuring peak performance during this type of athletic event…

However, there is more to preparing for a triathlon than that! One other vital factor is nutrition. Triathletes burn so many calories as they prepare for competitions and they need to eat very carefully in order to ensure that they have enough energy to complete their activities during races.

As well, they need to ensure that their muscles get the proper fuel for growth. Muscle development is one of the keys to endurance during triathlons.

To help you get the inside scoop on what triathletes eat before competitions, we’ve created a comprehensive guide. Once you discover how these athletes eat in order to boost performance and recover from training, you’ll be ready to use their tips in order to prepare for your own novice or full-length triathlon.

Nutritionists know that nutrition is one of the keys to pushing athletes past plateaus and helping them to access good race times (or outright victories!) during Triathlons. For this reason, choosing a healthy diet as you prepare for this sporting event will help you to make more of an impact during a race. Nutrition should be a focus as you begin to train – usually, people train four to six weeks before an event – and it should remain a focus throughout triathlon preparation. It may be wise to improve your diet before training begins, so consider this if you have time.

Without further ado, let’s look at the smartest ways to fuel the body for optimal performance during a triathlon.

Clean Up Your Diet

You need to focus on getting the processed junk out of your diet. This should happen about three months before the event and your clean diet should continue during the entire preparation phase. This means giving frozen pizza and sugary Red Bull a miss!

Unhealthy ingredients in junk food have a tendency to trigger inflammatory problems and these types of problems are the last thing that any triathlete needs. Inflammation from poor diet will inhibit recovery after training and make the immune system weaker.

While it may not be possible to get a diet completely clean, small changes which support a cleaner diet will typically pay big dividends. You can facilitate the process by being more mindful. This means paying attention to food labels.

According to psychologists who study the way that people eat, adding a new eating behaviour is simpler than removing one. So, if you’re having trouble getting the processed food out of your diet, try to add more whole foods to the mix. Once you get in the habit of adding pure and healthy foods to your plate, you may find it easier to give the bad stuff a pass.

In terms of fighting inflammation, it is important to avoid processed food. Try to focus on how much eating clean will assist you with getting a great result in your upcoming triathlon. The best triathletes understand that nutrition is a part of training and they eat accordingly. This discipline is all about the motivation to win or to place highly in a triathlon competition.

Foods to Focus On

Eating fruits and veggies in an array of colors will help to ensure that you’re getting all of the vitamins that you need and they’ll also give you access to plenty of natural fibre. Many fruits and vegetables also contain anti-oxidants – this means that they help to slow down cell damage. This is great, as it also means that they’ll inhibit oxidative damage, as well as inflammation, which will be triggered by your intense workouts.

You’ll also need to pay attention to carbs. The stored energy that athletes use in order to train is known as glycogen and it is made from carbs. For this reason, you should make a point of consuming 2.7 to 4.5 grams of carbs for every pound that you weigh. It’s best to avoid bad carbs, such as white bread and stick with the good stuff, such as whole grain bread, sweet potatoes and brown rice.

Then, you’ll get nutrition and carbs in one, without the bad carb downside, which includes insulin issues and mood swings. Bad carbs don’t offer much to anyone, much less triathlon athletes who really need superior nutritional support.

Lastly, protein needs to be a focus. However, you may not need to eat as much of it as you think you do. Protein is loaded with amino acids which allow muscles to repair themselves after training, but this doesn’t mean scarfing whole chickens daily. A good guideline is to eat 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein for every pound that you weigh.

Four weeks before the race, you should start taking in more carbs in order to make sure that your glycogen stores are high and that your energy level is good. If you’re going to exercise for more than two hours, you’ll need energy gels or other quick caloric boosts. You’ll need the simple carbs found in these gels and one month prior to competition is the time to start using them.

Create a Nutrition Plan Today

Now that you know the best way to eat before a triathlon, you’ll be ready to create an eating plan which is perfect for your needs. It’s all about learning what’s important in a “training diet” and then focusing on eating the right amount of clean foods. So, why not put together a cohesive nutrition plan today?