Nutrition Guidelines for Training

by Sandra Burke-Weatherilt, RD


You are now well into the training season with the DanSkin race around the corner. While you are working on perfecting your swim, bike and run, have you been working on your NUTRITION FORM? Perhaps you’ve made some healthy diet changes already as most people do once they start an intense fitness regimen, but are your choices improving or hindering your performance? Although triathlon is an individual sport, nutrition and training are said to be team players. Below are some nutrition and fluid guidelines for training. Pre-exercise, during exercise and (the often forgotten) post-exercise/recovery nutrition. Remember, nutrition needs are very individual. Use your training to experiment and find out what works best for you. NEVER try new foods on race day. Happy training and of course HAPPY EATING!!

FUEL:Eat a small meal or snack (200-400 calories) consisting of high carbohydrate, low fat, moderate protein, about 1 _ to 2 hours before a long training session (>1 hour). A larger carbohydrate rich meal of 600 – 1,000 calories may be eaten up to 4 hours before, but this depends on individual tolerance and time factors. It is recommended to eat before exercise, but if you are extra sensitive to pre-exercise meals, be sure to eat a hearty late night meal or even wake up early to eat a snack before an early swim, bike or run.
FLUID: Hydrate well daily. For most people that translates to 8 cups (64 ounces+) per day. Strive to drink 1 to 2 cups (8-16 ounces) of water/fluid within fifteen minutes of working out.

FUEL:Carbohydrate is the fuel of choice. Strive for 100-250 calories or more of carbohydrate rich food/drink per hour. Sports drinks provide both carbohydrate and fluid and therefore are favored. Experiment with different sports drinks and hopefully you will find one that you actually like to drink. Same thing holds true for sports bars and snacks. If you don’t like the popular brands, don’t be embarrassed to pack a bag of gummy bears or peanut butter crackers. It’s all about you DIVAS and what works for YOU!
FLUID:Drink about 6 to 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes for exercise that lasts less than one hour. For exercise over one hour, your fluid needs should be met by a combination of water and sports drinks.

POST EXERCISE *Don’t forget about RECOVERY!!
FUEL:Refuel your muscles with high carbohydrate foods as soon as you can tolerate eating.
FLUID: Choose carbohydrate-rich fluids such as juices or sports drinks that replace both water losses and muscle glycogen and in turn enhance recovery. And drink water beyond levels to quench thirst for the hours after long training sessions or races.

Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains.
Choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat.
Choose lean protein sources.