Nutrition for Triathletes by Ironman Champion Andy Potts
Without a doubt, the most common questions I get asked revolve around nutrition. I think there needs to be a distinction between nutrition and fueling when talking about these topics, as both deserve a ton of attention. At the end of a day, as an athlete, you are fueling your body for optimal performance, but on race day, your fueling is very specific. For every day fueling, I will call that nutrition. While I am not a nutritionist, I know what works for me and I can share that with you.
3 Nutrition Tips for Triathletes
There are a few axioms I would like to pass on to you:
1. Everything in moderation
Too much of anything, even something good turns into something bad. So, if we eat in moderation and eat different types of foods in moderation, we can maintain the elusive balanced approach to eating.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper
Simply put, taper your eating throughout the day. You eat to fuel in the AM, you eat to replenish but not ‘fill’ in the afternoon and evening. When you think about your meals, think about breakfast as a way to top off carbohydrate stores while also getting in some protein to satiate yourself. Lunch is to replenish protein stores to aid in recovery after your morning training sessions and prepare you for your evening sessions. Eat dinner to simply give your body enough protein and nutrients to repair itself throughout the night. A ‘go-to’ for me is Infinit Nocturne in the evenings. I use it as a way to make sure my body is repairing itself and it also helps me sleep. If you want to try it out, use my code for a friendly discount at checkout: APRACING
3. What works for me might not work for you
We are all an experiment of 1 and we all have different training and fueling needs. An athlete that trains 35+ hours a week has different fueling and nutrition requirements than an athlete who trains 5-10. One thing I have found is that so many amateur athletes over-eat in the spirit of fueling. It is important to take a really close look at the ‘energy in-energy out’ equation and what the composition of those foods are.
With all of that said, if we fuel with a balanced approach, are mindful of our eating and fueling habits, and aim for timing your eating based on your energy expenditure during the day, you will be well on your way to better fueling and nutrition.
Bonus: If you are looking for one of my favorite pre-workout or pre-race meals, check out my wife’s famous pumpkin muffins.
Recovery is another important component of triathlon training. See how Andy Potts recovers from his training and racing.