Guide to Triathlon Nutrition for Endurance Athletes
Triathlon is a demanding endurance event comprising three distinct disciplines, swimming, cycling and running… in that order. It is now considered by many to be one of the most demanding sports in the world.
The multi-event nature of triathlon places extreme physical pressure on the human body, which few other athletes have to deal with. There are many aspects of triathlon that create some of the most athletic people in the world. It demands endurance, strength, speed and the ability to keep going through pain.
Nutrition for triathletes
Triathlon also requires incredible feats of endurance in the water, on the bike and in the running phase. In order to maintain a consistently strong pace and ensure that the race is completed, triathletes need to take extra care of their bodies and the energy intake required to fuel their exertions.
Focusing on good triathlon nutrition is an important aid to performance improvement and as such triathletes should not neglect the nutritional aspects of their sport. The calorie requirement is also one of the highest in all of sports, and triathletes need to keep their body replenished with the correct nutrients.
Triathlon nutrition and a balanced diet
Competitive triathletes should always try to eat whole foods whenever they can, as they often don’t have much spare time when training for triathlons. This is one of the reasons that sports supplements can be so useful for triathletes, however you should never just rely on supplements alone. When eating whole foods; focus on the healthy food groups. Look for good sources of protein such as lean meats, fish, nuts and diary products.
You also need to consume the right kind of carbohydrates in order to ensure long lasting energy. Some of the best carbohydrates to eat are unprocessed brown rice, fruits, small potatoes, vegetables and whole meal bread.
A balanced diet should consist of around 15-20% protein, 30% fat and 50-55% carbohydrates. If you have a diet that fits into this range, you should have the energy you need to compete. However, it is also likely that you will need to take some form of sports supplement, as the nutritional demands of the triathlon are so intense.
Recovery drinks for triathletes
Following an intense training session, you should ideally look to consume a recovery drink of some kind. If you have real food available, then try to eat as much as possible, however, supplements are often much more convenient. You can get a box of sports supplements that act as meal replacements. These can come in the form of drinks or bars, and they will give you a good combination of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins that you need.
If you fail to take consume the right types of recovery nutrition, you may well suffer and could possibly become ill (because of a weakened immune system). The most important nutritional aspects of the recovery process are the protein and amino acids that your body needs. These are essential in order to build and repair muscle.
Besides recovery drinks and meal replacements, triathletes need to ensure that they consume enough protein each day. If you fail to consume the right amount of protein then your recovery times could extended and consequently your performances could suffer. Between each workout, your body needs to adapt to the physiological stresses placed on it, and protein will help with this and will certainly speed up any recovery processes.
There are many other supplements that you can use as a triathlete to boost your competitive performances. Creatine and glutamine are two of the most popular sports supplements and may assist in reaching your performance goals.
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