Nutritional Tips to Improve Performance at a Triathlon

It's not enough to train hard in order to improve your performance at a triathlon. You must also follow a diet that meets your specific nutritional needs and one that will help you to reach your goal.
Nutritional Tips to Improve Performance at a Triathlon

Last update: 14 January, 2019

Participating in a triathlon is one of the most demanding experiences that athletes can submit themselves to. Anyone in good physical shape doesn’t have the ability to automatically compete in a triathlon. In it, an athlete must swim, ride a bike and run to the finish line. Discover these nutritional tips that will help you prepare for your triathlon!

So much more than just a healthy diet

It’s impossible to stay in good health if you don’t carefully choose the quality of the foods you eat. Eventually, you may ignore certain rules and consume junk food. However, this is something that triathlon competitors can’t do; or at least not as frequently. 

The same strict regime that goes into planning and performing workouts, must be applied to healthy eating. The list of ingredients, as well as each meal, must be planned out with care. 

Importance of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates form the main part of the menu for triathlon competitors. They’re the fuel that the body needs. Without them, the body won’t have enough energy to perform optimally.

Preparing for competitions with the aim of losing weight, makes no sense. Most diet programmes that aim to lower the number on the scale, restrict some foods, carbohydrates being the first.

Man does not live from pasta alone

For a long time, people believed that the most important nutritional tip for triathlon participants was following a diet with pasta as the main ingredient.

Some alleged specialists recommend eating pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the thirty days before the competition. But, there are other carbohydrate sources that actually provide more nutritional value. 

The list of these foods includes rice, cooked potatoes, and natural corn. Also, some legumes such as soy, lentils, and chickpeas all provide fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Proteins and minerals

Although carbohydrates are the main macronutrient on the menu, a triathlon competitor’s diet cannot lack certain essential nutrients. Quality proteins are fundamental. 

In order to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, meats must be on the menu. They too provide minerals such as iron, which is necessary to avoid deficiency that may lead to anemia

Foods rich in vitamin B such as sardines and salmon should be considered, as well as legumes, egg yolks, and organic meats. This is the proper way to enhance the metabolism using carbohydrates and proteins; also to encourage the formation of blood cells and folic acid.

Natural snacks

With such a demanding training routine, it’s normal that you may feel hungrier. In order to avoid cravings, always have nuts at hand. They’re rich in healthy fats, calcium and B vitamins. They also provide vitamins A, C and, E, which are necessary to compensate for oxidation.

Water, lots of water

When it comes to making a list of nutritional tips to improve performance at a triathlon, hydration is one of the most important factors. 

The loss of fluids through sweat during these competitions and the training prior to them reaches really high levels. It’s absolutely essential to remain well-hydrated before, during and after training. 

In order to stay properly hydrated, it’s also important to consume foods that are high in water. The list includes cucumber, oranges and tomatoes, as well as watermelon and melon, which are fruits that you can eat as snacks between meals.

Nutritional tips for before and after a triathlon

On the day of the competition, you must eat your breakfast two hours before you start the race. This meal must be rich in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fiber. 

Breakfast is not the time to experiment; you must eat foods you’re familiar with to avoid digestion issues that could eliminate all of your previous hard work.

On the other hand, competing without eating breakfast is not a good idea. The body could be lacking “fuel” which would lead to catastrophic results.

Post-competition meal is also key. For those who can’t process solid foods right after a workout, coconut water is a great ally. Once the body recovers from the triathlon, it’s a great moment to treat yourself to some snacks, preferably natural, of course!



This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.