General nutritional advice for a triathlete - AthleteSportsWorld | TRIATHLON | SWIM | BIKE | RUN | TRAILRUN |

General nutritional advice for a triathlete


  • Avoid sugars such as white, brown, cane and grape sugar. These are absorbed into the blood quickly, which increases the insulin level.
  • Avoid hard fats. Cut fat and skin away from meat.
  • Use semi-skimmed or even skimmed milk products.
  • Eat more fish; fish also contains less fat.
  • Use nuts and seeds as snacks. Nuts and seeds are important food sources for trace elements and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Vitamin C promotes the absorption of most trace elements.
  • Coffee, tea and most soft drinks (especially cola) inhibit the absorption of trace elements. Therefore do not use these drinks with or shortly after meals.
  • Antioxidants prevent cell and tissue damage from the free radicals that are released during (strenuous) efforts. They speed up the recovery process after heavy exertion, reduce the susceptibility to injury and prevent aging. Therefore, put foods rich in antioxidants on the menu: carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes and cauliflower.
  • Cooked vegetables are healthier than raw ones. By boiling, the tough cell walls are softened, so that the antioxidants are better absorbed by the body.
  • Raisins contain a lot of carbohydrates and also fibers, iron and potassium.
  • Caffeine stimulates fat burning.


Nutritional advice

When should I and will I use sports nutrition? For many triathletes who regularly train and compete, this is an important question and the answer is not always clear. Everything stands and falls with a healthy and balanced basic diet. After that comes sports nutrition and then any supplements.

An important build-up of sports nutrition during a training or cyclosportive is an essential part in easily reaching the finish / finish line. In the section on physiology, the different energy systems were discussed. For example, it has been explained that humans only have a limited supply of carbohydrates.

When burning fats as an energy source, some carbohydrates will always be used. In addition, it is good to know that the body (on average) only absorbs a maximum of 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

A small case is elaborated below:

Imagine: You participate in a training / competition of 4 hours. In the first hour you burn 70 grams of carbohydrates through exercise. However, in that hour you only get 50 grams of carbohydrates through sports drinks, energy gel or an energy bar. You then have a deficit of 20 grams of carbohydrates. You cannot top this shortage the next hour (if you continue to drive). After all, your body only absorbs a maximum of 70 grams (and you have used it again in 2 hours) During the entire trip you continue to keep this deficiency. If this happens again the next hour you will get a deficit of 40 grams. With a journey longer than 4 hours you can build up a shortage of more than an hour of energy ... And so the man with the hammer comes to look around ...

If you prepare the tour well, you can prevent this energy shortage.

For the effort

In this period a distinction must be made between two different moments:

Period of months and weeks before the effort
6-day period for the main goal
In the period of months / weeks, the emphasis is on building the overall condition and speed. Preferably based on a training schedule. There must be enough room in this schedule for recovery. Also use this period to experiment with sports nutrition.

To improve the overall condition you can already make use of sport supplements. Properly recovering the training and practice tours will also ensure that you progress faster. Consider the use of recovery drinks and protein bars.

The period of 6 days for the main goal is characterized by a reduction in the intensity and duration of the training sessions in combination with the 'stacking' of carbohydrates. This is also called 'TAPEREN'. The effect is that your body has stored extra carbohydrates at the end of this period that you can use at the 'moment supreme' ...

Carboloader can be used to stack carbohydrates. This is a drink that is composed of almost pure carbohydrates. To get the same amount of carbohydrates in solid food you have to eat many plates of dry pasta ... Maybe his drink isn't that bad yet ...

TIP:Do not drink any sports drinks before the exercise on the day until you start cycling. The fast carbohydrates that you take beforehand cause an increase in your blood sugar level, after which a big dip takes place. You then get very weak legs and you feel lifeless .... Rather take a thirst quencher with only salts and minerals.

During the effort

If a workout or competition lasts longer than 60 minutes, you can improve your performance by eating carbohydrates and replenishing fluid with a sports drink during exercise.

However, carbohydrates should not be supplied in unlimited quantities, since the body cannot process on average more than 1 to 1.2 grams per minute. A maximum supply is therefore around 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per hour (rule of thumb is 1.2 grams / hour / kg body weight). Taking more does not necessarily lead to a higher combustion.

So it makes no sense to swallow a lot of sugars or drink very viscous drinks: it only increases the risk of stomach-intestinal complaints.

The period of the effort is therefore dominated by regular eating. Take a maximum of 70 grams of carbohydrates combined with a maximum of 750 ml of sports drink or water per hour.

Do you only drink water during a trip or training? Realize that you also lose minerals and salts (called electrolytes) through sweating. These are essential elements in controlling your moisture management.

After the effort

After you have fully trained, cycled a race or completed a tour, it is important that you provide your body with the right nutrients as quickly as possible to be able to recover.

Fast recovery ensures that you can quickly sit on the bike again to do the next training or tour.

Make sure that you have eaten sufficient recovery-promoting drinks or chocolate bars within 30 minutes of exertion. These are drinks and bars that contain the right combination of proteins and carbohydrates. As a result, the broken muscles will be repaired faster and new muscle mass can be created, without the body having to use other parts of the body for this. If you do not use enough proteins after your training, you will in fact get proteins (protein) from other muscles of your body to facilitate recovery. This will be restored in the longer term, but is certainly not optimal for an athlete who wants to move forward.

Repairing sports drinks and bars can alleviate this problem. The carbohydrates ensure the replenishment of the glycogen stock, while the salt helps retain the absorbed moisture.

Time is also an important factor in the recovery phase. Depending on the situation (the effort made, the muscle glycogen supply at the start of the exercise and the nutrition afterwards), the full recovery can take 10 to even 36 hours. Adequate rest is therefore essential to optimally recover from exertion. A sports massage can also speed up the recovery process.

TIP : Which brand of sports nutrition you use is very personal. So do not rely on your friends but experience it for yourself. Try different brands during training so that you know what you like or don't like and experience how your body responds to sports nutrition.

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