Training for a triathlon can be a long and grueling process, and having a healthy diet can play an integral role in the preparation. For your body to function at its very best, you need to be giving it the right kind of fuel. A lot of people turn to sports drinks or protein bars when training for a big event, but these are often loaded with processed sugars and unnatural ingredients that won’t help your body to sustain energy. Instead, consider a few of the wholesome foods below to eat when training for your next triathlon.
The obsession that many athletes have with eating bananas before a big race isn’t a myth. Bananas pack in a ton of essential nutrients that can help you get through your training and contain significant amounts of Potassium, which is an essential mineral for preventing cramps, muscle movement, and the regulation of the body’s water content. Their carbohydrate and natural sugar structure also make them great energy boosters that won’t cause you to crash after. Plus, their high magnesium content can also help to relax overstressed muscles. In fact, a 2012 study found bananas to be as effective as Gatorade in providing cyclists support during prolonged exercise.
With the amount of strain placed on your muscles during training, it’s wise to up your protein intake. Salmon is one of the best sources of protein for athletes, as a 5oz serving contains a whopping 36 grams of protein. And the benefits of salmon go beyond protein, as it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Not only are these acids good for your heart, but they also contain anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce muscle soreness and pain caused by inflammation. Since you’ll most likely experience muscle pain throughout your training, adding salmon to your diet is a good idea.
Oats should be your go-to breakfast dish when training for a triathlon, and oatmeal contains soluble fibers that will help keep you full, aid your digestion, and remove cholesterol from your blood stream. It’s also full of B vitamins that provide your body with an ample source of energy, a healthy metabolism, and aid in muscle function. Oatmeal even has a decent amount of protein in it that will help keep your muscles in peak performance mode.
If you don’t have enough time to cook and eat salmon consistently, chia seeds are an excellent alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids. A small handful of these will provide your body with three times the number of antioxidants as blueberries, as well as a significant amount of protein, calcium, and iron. A study conducted by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning showed that drinking a combination of half chia seeds and half Gatorade is just as effective in performance as drinking 100% Gatorade, which is a great option for anyone watching their daily sugar intake.