This information proudly supplied by our sports
nutrition partner, Kinetica Sports:
how to tackle a triathlete’s nutritional plan; but this will work for anyone
involved in endurance based sports.
consumption needs to be adequate: run out of water and you’ll be
dead within 2 days. Become dehydrated and your performance will bomb.
carbohydrates to fuel intensive exercise:
probably not as many as you’ve been told to eat before. Excess carbs at the
expense of protein and good fats – will turn you into a sugar burning machine.
I want fat burning machines, who use sugars to turbo charge their workouts.
This is a key concept – become carbohydrate aware, know your carbs and know
when to eat them for maximum performance and minimum body fat.
protein – with every meal: endurance junkies almost always
neglect protein intake. The result, muscle protein breakdown, poor recovery,
low energy, immune function and lack of strength. Eat more protein to reverse
same’s true for fat: with an over emphasis on
carbohydrate foods good fats are often neglected. Our cells are 60% fat. You
need to eat more good fats, know where to find them – and incorporate these
into your meals. Eating a higher protein, fat and fibre diet will make losing
body fat more likely – and up regulate fat burning enzymes. Good fats also
nourish our immune, nervous and inflammation regulation systems – so they help
with all aspects of recovery and repair. Read on for a special fat which burns
like a carb! And can upregulate metabolism.
The Pillars of Nutrition
plenty of water throughout the day and during training sessions. Being well
hydrated improves how you feel and perform. The average adult requires at
least 2-3 litres of water a day. This requirement increases if you
exercise. Thirst is a poor measure of dehydration. You become dehydrated
long before you feel thirsty so drink water continuously throughout the day.
Alternatively, choose fruit teas and herbal blends, and water flavoured with a
little fresh fruit juice. Isotonic drinks should be consumed before - during
and after training where appropriate.
point mainly concerns preparation for competition. It’s vital that your muscles
are loaded with carbohydrate (CHO) if you want to perform to your maximum
level, as CHO is the primary fuel for high intensity exercise. If you are
training for fat loss then this is less important, as a lack of CHO will
actually promote the utilisation of fat.
also refers to your cooking; you should prepare your food yourself and be
organised about planning your meals and menus. This way you know exactly what’s
going into your body and you can stick to eating at set times, getting into a
routine to support good health!
exercise recovery is paramount. You must be meticulous with your post workout
intake - the quicker you recover the better you will perform week in week
out.CHO rich foods with a High glycemic Index (GI) will aid recovery after
exercise. If you are lean and bodyfat isn’t such a concern, you can be more
generous with carbohydrate intake. This is also a vital time to top up your
body with the protein you’ll need for repair and to support the immune system’s
response to exercise. Make sure you sleep adequately. You should wake up
feeling refreshed and will be able to achieve more physical gains, performing
better week in week out.
& Toxicity will severely interfere with your ability to perform week-in
week-out at the highest level. Organic, high grade produce is the best
way to avoid these problems, with supplementation always an option if you don’t
think you can obtain all you need from a balanced diet.
important thing is to stick to eating at set times and set portions. Be strict
with yourself. You may have been given suggested serving sizes. For dried
staples, such as rice and porridge they’re easy to stick to if you use scales
to make yourself familiar with a certain portion-weight, then use a specific
scoop/spoon for subsequent portioning. For instance, a 40g portion of porridge
oats (150Kcal) can be easily measured by filling a ½ pint beer-glass to the
“bulge” about 2/3 of the way up. Increase or decrease the portion sizes
depending on your goals.
around every 3 hours. Look at food as feeding opportunities, every time you
consume food you can either gain or damage your health. Each meal should
contain high quality protein, CHO and vegetables.
7. Next Step
you’ve mastered the basics – you need to look at fine tuning. You need to know
about acid base reactions in foods once you eat them – excess grain consumption
for instance is acid forming in the body! – More acid means more minerals and
base aminos like glutamine being used to balance acidity. Not good for athletes
to lose magnesium, calcium and glutamine if they are in intensive training.
you eat when you are competing is key to success – in part II on eating for
endurance sports we’ll be looking at acid base reactions (PRAL) – plus
supplementation in and around your event. We’ll be breaking down sprint,
Olympic and iron man distances and giving you secrets the elite pro use to
maximise their performance…..
Explanation of Macronutrients and Implications for Performance
must be your foremost priority. Each meal should consist of a portion of
protein, complex carbohydrate (CHO) and vegetables. An effective strategy for
fat loss has been revealed to be one of reducing fat in the diet by
substituting it with protein. CHO should still be the major source of energy
and, and consuming this with green vegetables, high in cellulose, has been
shown to allow this energy to be released slowly, maintaining constant
blood-sugar. This will mean your energy levels don’t fluctuate too much.
- The average adult requires
at least 2-3 litres of water a day (2). This requirement increases
if you exercise.
- Studies report performance
losses after just 2% dehydration (about 1.5L of sweat).
- Salts increase water retention
as well as thirst, encouraging rehydration. Added CHO has also shown an
ability to improve fluid balance, as well as protein.
- Not only will dehydration
affect your muscles’ ability to function, but the loss of salts may
eventually affect your nerve function, reactions and concentration.
- Thirst is a poor measure of
dehydration. You become dehydrated long before you feel thirsty so drink
water continuously throughout the day.
- The best measure of fluid
balance is urine colour, this should be clear and pale at all times.
Dark yellow urine is an indicator of dehydration, though some
multivitamins may give the urine a bright yellow appearance.
- Rehydration drinks contain
salts, and it’s also advisable to drink water when you eat food. If making
your own, use full-sugar squash for recovery, or diluted fruit juice or
low sugar-squash at other times, adding a pinch of salt.
- Start the day with a mug of
freshly boiled water and a slice of lemon. In summer add a fresh
sprig of mint and fresh lemon slices to a jug of cold water.
- Drink from a bottle of water
to measure daily intake until you are used to drinking enough.
- Weigh yourself before and
after exercise. For every kilogram lost, a litre of water is lost.
- Carbohydrate (CHO) is the
body’s primary energy source, essential for short bursts of intense
activity. It is stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles and the
- You need to ensure an
adequate supply for intense exercise and replenish afterwards.
- Replace some starchy carbs
with fibrous carbs at each meal. This will increase fibre and help
- Avoid large carbohydrate
meals, as these will make you sleepy and excess calories will be converted
into body fat.
- Always choose whole grain
options. Brown rice, whole-wheat cereal and whole grain breads are
always higher in nutrients and have a lower glycemic index.
- Starchy carbohydrates should
be limited in the evening meal where fat loss is a goal, as the need for
an energy source at night is limited.
- Insulin released in response
to CHO prevents muscle-breakdown & promotes synthesis.
- In the “recovery period”
immediately after training, we can take advantage of these properties.
- More “sugary” high GI carbs
(white rice, “hypertonic” sports drinks etc) should be eaten to help
“spike” insulin levels and to promote the uptake of sugars, protein and
nutrients for repairing muscle.
- Replace brown with white
rice. Try and eat a good portion of carb and protein within 45 min of
- Insulin acts as a signal to
your body that you are fed, and so can promote the storage of fats and
conversion of carbs to fat. Generally we don’t want too much simple/sugary
carb for this reason.
- Eating complex carbs like
brown rice and wheat free pasta when recovery isn’t the primary objective,
will encourage your body to use this carb gradually for energy, instead of
just storing it as fat
- Eating complex carbs will
also let your body burn fat more efficiently and prevent you feeling tired
once all the CHO has been stored
- Insulin also interacts with
other hormones released from training.
- Growth Hormone, released
after exercise, promotes muscle-building, and in a lower-CHO/insulin
environment also causes your body to burn fat. If there is a lot of CHO
and insulin, Growth hormone then has the opposite effect on fat
metabolism, causing fat to be stored.
for a small portion, providing around 150Kcal (adjust depending on your goals)
- Brown rice (40g serving)
- Brown pasta (40g serving)
- 1xSmall sweet-potato
- 1xSmall potato (80-100g
- Wholemeal bread- 2 medium
- Protein is the main
structural component of muscle tissue as well as providing a source of
energy as an alternative to CHO during exercise and being the primary fuel
for cells of the immune system.
- At least 20 - 25% of your
daily energy intake should come from protein.
- Protein should be included
at every meal, this will help control blood glucose levels support muscle
and improve appetite control.
- Protein is required in
higher amounts during weight loss in athlete. Replacing calories from fat
and CHO with protein is an effective strategy for fat-loss.
- Using protein as a source of
energy requires it’s degradation, followed by inter-conversion of amino
acids to glycogenic and ketogenic substrates, requiring the use of around
30% of the protein’s calories.
- Protein intakes of around 1g
per lb (2.2g per Kg) are effectively used by athletes wishing to maintain
muscle mass, considering their body composition.
- Choose lean meat and
poultry, avoiding prepared meals and processed meats (Preparation!).
Fish is a superb source of protein, it is low in fat and oily fish like
mackerel have the added advantage of being high in omega-3 fatty
- Grill, bake, steam or poach
fish in preference to frying. Try to avoid farmed fish and choose
wild and organic fish whenever possible. Avoid pork, as it is the
most fatty of red meats.
- Peas and beans (legumes) are
excellent sources of protein and fibre, especially when combined with
wholegrains. Most plant proteins do not contain all the essential
amino acids (animal protein does); combining different sources of plant
protein solves this problem.
- Legumes should be eaten with
wholegrains, e.g. brown rice and lentils, houmous with wholewheat pitta
bread. Plant proteins are very low in fat and have a very low
glycemic index (see later), this means that they cause a slow release of
glucose into the blood. Baked beans have a low glycemic index, are
cheap, convenient and easy to store. Serve as a filling for baked
potatoes or on toast.
- Nuts are also a useful
protein source but they should be eaten in moderation as they have a high
essential fat content.
- Choose a mixture of almonds,
pecans (The King of Omega-3!), walnuts, and Brazil nuts, hazelnuts,
cashews, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Add them to a salad or
stirfry, or eat them as a snack. Avoid nuts that have been roasted
in oil or are salted.
- Tofu is a bland, tasteless
food that can be prepared, flavoured and cooked in a multitude of ways so
that it can take on the flavour and texture of any ingredients it is
for a portion, providing around 30g of protein
- 1 Skinless chicken/turkey
- 4 large eggs (have one full
egg plus 3 whites in each portion)
- 1 can tuna
Fruit and Vegetables
- Aim for four to five
servings of vegetables each day and one to two portions of fruit.
- The fibre in vegetables,
when eaten with carbs, slows down the release of CHO into the body,
reducing swings in blood sugar control. Fibre has been identified as
having many beneficial effects including control of blood glucose,
decreasing blood cholesterol, improving bowel health and even controlling
of high fibre foods:
- wholewheat flour,
- fruits with edible seeds
- Getting your “5 a day” will
give you a selection of vitamins and minerals to help all of the reactions
in your body proceed.
- Enzymes are machines in your
body that are held in the correct shape by minerals like iron and
magnesium. Vitamins are often involved in these reactions…they give them a
kick-start (acting as “cofactors”).
- Dark-green veg are often
high in fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E and contain some good fatty
acids like omega-3. Eating these will put the correct fats into the
“membrane” (like a skin) that surrounds every one of your cells, as well
as protecting these fats from damage.
- Balance your vegetable
intake between the orange/red and green varieties. A good rule to
follow is simply to try and get a good amount of “colour on your plate”
for example, mixing up light green lettuce with the deep dark green of
spinach or the bright orange of carrots. They can be eaten raw and
cooking most vegetables takes only a few minutes if you steam, stir-fry or
- Choose fresh and organic
vegetables wherever possible (Quality!).
Examples of green veg side dishes
- Stir-fry Kale in spray olive
oil with garlic and ginger. Add Chinese 5-spice
- Fry Cabbage in spray-olive
oil with onion, adding finely chopped apple after 3 mins, covering with
stock and simmering till tender
- Add Spinach leaves/shredded
raw cabbage to salad leaves
- Chop celery finely into
“matchsticks” and add to finely chopped apple, carrot and lime-juice with
1 tsp honey
- Spinach can be easily cooked
in 2-4 mins and drizzled in soy-sauce