Episode 129 - Where Stamina Meets Science: Peek Inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy

Where Stamina Meets Science: Peek Inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy

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Episode Transcription

Episode 129: Where Stamina Meets Science: Peek Inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:41

Welcome to Episode 129 of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. We are right in the middle of our Triathlon Nutrition Academy open week this week. And unless you've been living under a rock, I'm hoping that you've seen it all over the socials and the emails and all the places. Doors close on Monday morning the 22nd of January and they won't open again until July. We do open doors in a big way twice a year. Sometimes there's little openings in between there in April and October but you do need to be on our email list to hear about when they're happening. And I've been fielding lots of great questions this week and having awesome conversations with triathletes all over the world. So what I wanted to do was just record a bit of an episode explaining how the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program works and answer some of those frequently asked questions that I've been getting all week. So if you've been wondering what the TNA is all about and how it came about, then this episode is for you.

Taryn Richardson  01:42

So I wanted to take a little bit of a trip down memory lane and dive into how it all started. I started the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program back in September 2021 because I knew that I really wanted to help more triathletes with their nutrition. And I was completely tapped out with one on one private consulting in private practice with my business Dietitian Approved. And honestly, I felt like I was repeating myself over and over and over. Because a lot of the key foundations when it comes to triathlon and training for three sports are the same across people and then we just individualise nutrition to you and your training program and your specific needs. And I'm on a mission to get evidence based sports nutrition advice into as many triathletes hands as possible but I was completely at my capacity. And I know that one on one consulting is actually quite cost prohibitive for some. So what I wanted to do was create something that was online that anyone anywhere in the world could do it and it wasn't restricted to just little old Brisbane, Australia.

Taryn Richardson  02:45

And the program actually started with just what is now, Phase 1. And Phase 1 is all of our foundations of our day to day nutrition so pre-training nutrition, recovery, periodisation, building out your meal plan, making sure you ticking off the big macronutrients and some of the key micronutrients that we need as an endurance athlete, as well as laying some foundations for what you do on the bike and what you do on the run. Because honestly, this is where the biggest bang for your buck comes from. It's those tiny, small, consistent things that you do every single day that are going to have the biggest impact. And so I started with just Phase 1 because I knew that that is going to help any triathlete level up their performance if they just did that. But of course, we want more than that, like what do we do on race day? What do we do heading into a race? What do we do heading out of a race? All those things, supplements, one percenters.

Taryn Richardson  03:39

And so now it's actually a 3 phase program. We have Phase 1, 2, and 3 and each phase goes for 12 weeks. We have 8 weeks of on time and then 4 weeks of kind of rest and adaptation at the end. And on those on weeks, we have a nutrition masterclass with me. It's pre recorded, it drops into your library on the weekend at a time where you've probably got more time to watch and listen and do the work. And then later on in that week, you get me live for what we call Power Hour. It is an hour of power, you can ask me anything, no holds barred. We talk about the content for that week and make sure you've got a specific plan for you set up for say, recovery nutrition, and you know exactly what you're doing there and I can help you tweak and finesse it if you need to. And then honestly, we go on lots of random weird tangents. So you could ask me about CGMs, you could ask me about this weird supplement that's being marketed to you in your Instagram feed, you can ask me whatever. And I will give you my advanced sports dietitian evidence based response. And if I don't know, we'll look it up and figure it out and we'll talk about it the week after.

Taryn Richardson  04:47

So Phase 1 is our fundamentals. Then once you've done those 12 weeks of Phase 1, we move straight on to Phase 2, which is kind of taking our nutrition knowledge to a bit more of an advanced level. I say this is where PBs are made because this is where we start to layer in all of our race nutrition strategies for all of the distances and then we build on that further in Phase 3. So in Phase 2, we cover things like carbohydrate loading and making sure you have a clear and specific plan for you and you know exactly what you're trying to hit, your targets that are very individual in the easiest way possible, because carb loading is not just eating a bowl of spaghetti the night before your race and hoping for the best. That is nowhere near what we need to effectively super compensate our muscle glycogen stores when we're doing endurance exercise. We also tackle hydration, your pre-race breakfast, we talk about some of the performance boosters that we can layer in here, as well as write out your specific sprint and Olympic distance race nutrition plans and everything that goes with that. So race week, the day before, the night before, on the day as well as recovery because we tend to drop the ball with nutrition once we cross the finish line. But we know that our recovery nutrition extends way beyond what you do just on that day.

Taryn Richardson  06:07

We also talk about hot racing and how you need to adapt your strategy in the heat because you can't do the same thing in a cold temperate environment versus a hot and humid environment. And a lot of people struggle in the heat. But there's some specific strategies we can implement to make sure you have success in those races. Particularly living in Australia, it is bloody hot here in summer and all of our race season is in pretty hot and humid conditions, particularly the further north and Queensland you go. So your race nutrition plan for something like Cairns needs to look different to a race in Melbourne or Tasmania as an example. We also talk about sports nutrition products and what is in them and what we're looking for. There are so many sports nutrition products on the market. I can barely keep up and this is my job to keep up. But you need to understand how to read a label and what you're looking for based on what it is you're doing. Because not all gels are created equal and not all sports drink is created equal. So we want to be using products that are serving us, not the ones that are being marketed to us so heavily or the most expensive ones or whatever is on course. We actually need to be a little bit more strategic around our choices in this space and I'm going to show you how to do that in Phase 2.

Taryn Richardson  07:25

And then in Phase 3, we take things to the next level. So we actually come back and recover your day to day nutrition because nutrition is not set and forget. It's not something that you can, like I can write your meal plan for and you have that forevermore or you can write your own or you can download an app and it's going to tell you what to eat. It needs to evolve as you evolve. And you need to understand how to manipulate it based on what's going on. You would eat differently if you're training for shorter course versus longer course event as an example. You would eat differently in your in season versus your offseason. And you would eat differently depending on how long you've been in the sport for. A grassroot beginner needs to eat and support training very differently to somebody that's been training for 5,10,20 years. 

Taryn Richardson  08:11

We also talk in Phase 3 about fuelling long rides and fuelling long runs again. So again, we're layering in our knowledge rather than me throwing it all at you at once because I know how overwhelming nutrition is. And my whole job is to make it easy for you. We talk about gut training and what that is and what that looks like and what that means and you have a specific protocol to gut train for you. We talk about sodium and hydration and what these mean and how to do our own testing and understanding how much electrolytes and sodium we need to replace and all those sorts of things. It is a huge area that you really need some deeper understanding of before you can get the benefit out of that. Because just taking salt tablets blindly or whatever, again, is not serving you. You might think like you need to do it or you should be doing it but without good knowledge and understanding about why, then it's kind of a waste. We talk about getting to ideal race weight in this phase as well and what that looks like and what that means and how to do it even though body composition is not a huge focus of the program. The focus of the program is really setting you up with eating well and fuelling for performance. It's not about starving yourself going on some crazy, calorie restricted diet to get sick abs because that's honestly not the goal.

Taryn Richardson  09:36

And then finally, at the end of Phase 3, we are working on your 70.3 and 140.6 race nutrition plans and everything that goes with that. So once you're through the program, you literally have a race nutrition plan for every single distance. Doesn't matter if you're doing that event in a few months or in a few years, you'll have that ready to go for whenever you racing that distance next because failing to plan is planning to fail. The longer ahead you have a race nutrition plan, the better because you can practice all of it and tweak it and finesse it over time. Because what's the golden rule of racing? - Never try anything new on race day, right? You want everything to be very well practised, very well rehearsed, the more time you have with it, the better. And hey, if you've got a race coming up really soon and we're not going to get to your race nutrition plan before that, as an Academy athlete, you do have the ability to book a one on one session with me if you need it. Honestly, you don't generally need it but some people do use it if they've got something really finicky they want to finesse or they've got, say an Ironman in a couple of months but we're not going to get all the way through Phase 3 in a couple of months. 

Taryn Richardson  10:50

But the idea is that I set you up for life. I'm going to give you the knowledge and understanding and the practical application of all that science that I've built working as a sports dietitian for 15 years. You can read a whole heap of crap on the internet but unless you know how to translate that to what you put in your mouth, then it just gets confusing and it's overwhelming. And you get to pick my brain. This is my area of expertise. Like as a retired age group triathlete, and somebody that worked for Triathlon Australia for 6 years, triathlon is honestly my jam. I don't work with other athletes from other sports, it is on triathletes only. Unless you swim, bike and run, then you're probably best with someone else. I don't have boxers or rugby union players or soccer players come and work with me. I only work with triathletes because I basically live and breathe the sport. So those are our 3 phases and what we dive into in each of them. You can check out all the details at dietitianapproved.com/academy if you want to go through all of those topics. But it is a 3 phase program now so if you start now, you'll be finished in 9 months time.

Taryn Richardson  12:01

Now, because I know how time poor you are and that nutrition is often the missing link, you get other tools and resources that I've developed to save you time and money to help you apply all of that research into the practice of then what you put into your bodies. So as well as your weekly nutrition expert masterclass and our live Power Hour sessions, you get access to the entire Dietitian Approved Recipe Database which has now got over 200 sports dietitian developed recipes in there just to make it super easy. You don't have to flick through cookbooks looking for things to eat or Google recipes off the internet. Log into our database, we've got categories for all of your main meal so breakfast, mains, snacks, condiments and dressings because I really think it's so easy to make those things yourself even as a time poor triathlete. There's a fussy kid section in there as well which is evergrowing. And importantly, there's a carbohydrate loading database. So again, you don't have to figure out how to do those things. I'm giving you all of the tools and resources to make that super easy.

Taryn Richardson  13:08

As well as the Recipe Database, you get access to my weekly menu plans and shopping lists for an entire year. So you have 52 weeks of a dietitian crafted menu for the week for dinners, the shopping list to get everything you need to cook that, as well as this specific recipe to follow. And this honestly, is gold. Some people just hate cooking, don't have the time, it's a chore and so, I've saved you at least two hours a week of trying to plan out your meals and figure out what to eat. I've done it for you and it's all perfectly balanced. And because I know that you're a triathlete, there is always leftovers at least two times a week for those nights where maybe you're training late at night or you've got kids run around or something and you don't have the time to cook. But you still need to eat well, you can't drop the ball. So I'm going to set you up for success and make sure that your nutrition is as automated as possible. Because a dream without a plan is just a wish. But if you follow my step by step instructions, it's going to actually happen. So instead of wasting all that time trying to figure it out for yourself and then still second guessing yourself, let me just do it for you. Because you can read all this stuff on the internet, it is honestly a minefield. But the magic happens when you know how to then apply that to you and your situation.

Taryn Richardson  14:39

And finally, what is arguably the best part about the program is you get access to our private Academy group. We have legends inside the program from all over the world, the UK, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. We're all on different time zones but it is an instant group of training buddies and a safe place to ask questions, fail forwards, share what you're up to. People value seeing what other triathletes are up to, as well as having my input if needed to. So it is honestly the best part about the program and we have total legends inside. And I love seeing them meet up for races all around the world. We're actually going to do a TNA Sunny Coast 70.3 event in September this year and we have athletes from the program flying in from all over the world to do it with us. And you're going to have major FOMO if you don't come and join us for that. 

Taryn Richardson  15:39

So who is the program for? The program is obviously for triathletes. I do get asked all the time if a swimmer can join or just a runner a can join. And hey, you are more than welcome but it is very much triathlon focused - swim, bike, and run. Because I understand the intricacies of a training program for a triathlete. I know what it's like to race. And we do cover race nutrition plans for all of our triathlon distances. It doesn't matter what level of triathlete you are, whether you are just getting started in the sport, or like Leanne, you've been doing it for 30 years. I promise you that unless you've worked one on one with a sports dietitian for multiple years, you will get so much value out of the program. The best time to work on your nutrition was yesterday, the second best time is now. But honestly, if I can get more people that are new to the sport working on their nutrition earlier, then that is going to set you up for success longer term. But if you've been doing a sport for a while, say someone like Erin who's been a triathlete for 11 years now, she's only just worked on her nutrition and she regrets not doing it earlier.

Taryn Richardson  16:50

It doesn't matter what distance you race either. So if you're a sprint or Olympic distance athlete, that's totally fine. If you're preparing for longer course, 70.3 or Ironman, that's totally fine as well. We will cover race nutrition for every distance so that no matter what you do when, I've got you covered. Don't feel like you have to do an Ironman event to do the program. And wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to join us. Like I said, we have athletes all across the globe in every different time zone and I've designed the program to be accessible no matter where you are. 

Taryn Richardson  17:24

Everything is online, you can literally carry me around as an advanced sports dietitian in your pocket if you like. People listen to the master classes on the wind trainer, out for long rides, out for long runs, wherever. It's accessible wherever you are. And everything does get recorded. So if you can't say, for instance, make it live of Power Hours, that is totally fine. We have people in the program from the UK and Power Hours on it like 11pm or midnight for those guys. But there is a place that you could submit your questions for me and I will always answer it for you live so that you're not stuck deliberating over something. And then all of the recordings get loaded up into your portal so you can watch it back at a more friendly timezone when you're awake. So you can check out all those details at dietitianapproved.com/academy.

Taryn Richardson  18:13

So some of the more frequently asked questions that I get and have been getting a lot this week are how much time is it going to take. And honestly the world is your oyster but I would allocate two hours a week to work on your nutrition. That's it. That's all you need. Now if you can show me your screen time, I hazard a guess that you could probably find two hours in a week by getting out of the death scroll. Our masterclasses go for 30 to 60 minutes depending on what they are. Plus, you might need to do a little bit of thinking about what you're going to do or some calculations so we can calculate something, say like your carb loading plan or your recovery nutrition plan. And then Power Hour is an hour so that's another hour in your week. Now you can dive so much deeper if you wanted to.Say if you're retired like Kelly or you're not working like some of our athletes, you could spend as much time as you wanted on your nutrition. But I would allow two hours a week to get the most out of your program which I would suggest you could probably find quite easily. 

Taryn Richardson  19:20

The other question I get is about how payments work. So we have two different currencies that you can choose. You can either choose to pay in Aussie dollars or US dollars, depending on what the exchange rate is at the time and what's going to benefit you the most. And then for each currency, we have three payment options because like I said, I wanted to get evidence based sports nutrition advice into as many hands as possible and I wanted to make it as accessible as possible. So the best value investment is upfront. You can save more than 20% by paying upfront. Or if you want to spread that cost out, you have the option to spread it out over either 6 monthly payments or 12 monthly payments. So choose your currency and then choose your own adventure for how frequently you wanted to pay - pay up front and get the discount or spread it out over time to make it way more cost effective for you. If you're in Australia, you may be able to claim the program on private health insurance if you have dietitian cover that includes group. So the item number you need to check with your private health fund is 700. Because every health fund varies and the rebate varies so you can ask them specifically. That could be a way to save even further.

Taryn Richardson  20:32

The other question I get is what if I get behind, like what if I don't finish? And, you know, don't stress. I understand how time for you are. Ialso understand that life sometimes throws you lemons. So what I've done is for our 9 month program, I've given you 12 months access. You have a whole extra three months at the end to catch up if you need to or what people often do is go back to the start and start again because there's so much jam packed value in there. And once you have good nutrition knowledge, going back to the beginning, you kind of take things in differently, you absorb information differently once you've got a good baseline. And it can really just help you level up if you wanted to do that. If you get stuck, I'm always here for you. We have our private group, we have our Power Hour almost weekly, and then if you really need it, you have the ability to book as an Academy athlete, a one on one session with me. And now, I don't offer that to the public. The only way to work with me one on one is if you are inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program.

Taryn Richardson  21:41

So go and check it out - dietitianapproved.com/academy. Like I said, doors are open right now. They close Monday morning, the 22nd of January which is the 21st on a Sunday if you're in the US or Canada and they won't open officially until July which is six months away. So if you're sick of fumbling around in the dark, you're frustrated that you can't seem to hit the goals that you want to achieve, and you're starting to think that nutrition is the missing link for you, then 2024 is the year that you should get a sports dietitian in your corner to tell you exactly what to eat and when so you can finally train harder, you can recover faster, and you can perform to the best of your ability. And oh my God, stop wasting time trying to navigate the internet. I can just do this for you all for less than the cost of a new bike. You know you've invested in a bike, you've invested in a coach, maybe a training program or a training platform. 

Taryn Richardson  22:41

And if you know how to swim, bike and run, now is the perfect time to level up your nutrition. Because so many triathletes smash themselves at training with no regard for how they're fuelling or recovering. But remember, we only adapt or get fitter and faster from those sessions that we recover from. So you can't put the cheap economy fuel in your high performance engine and expect it to perform to its peak performance. I always talk about the supercharged zone, which if you want to find that sweet spot, it's where training and nutrition intersect. Those two circles, that Venn diagram when they cross over, that my friend is a supercharged zone. And if you don't have those two things laid in together, then you probably need to up your game, just saying.

Taryn Richardson  23:31

So if you can imagine, it's September 2024 and you have a clear plan for what you're eating on a day to day basis, quantities, timings, amounts for everything. You're recovering quickly, you are full of energy, you have confidence in your race nutrition plan that you can go out there on course, and leave it all out there, cross the finish line with a smile on your face without running to the portaloos or vomiting your guts up or worrying about gut issues no matter what distance that you're doing, then the Academy program is for you. It is the best online education program for triathletes in the world. Yes, I'm biased but I've checked. Nothing like this exists. There are lots of things that you can do and dabble with but nobody out there is teaching you how to do this for yourself which is so much more valuable. Because when you understand why we do the things, then you can tweak and evolve your plan instantly without having to wait for an appointment for someone to write you a new plan or having to invest a lot of time and money in getting plans done constantly. You are going to know how to do that for yourself which is so powerful.

Taryn Richardson  24:48

dietitianapproved.com/academy if you're ready to become supercharged. But be quick because time is ticking. You've only got a couple of days left. And hey, if you are listening to this after we've closed doors, then make sure you still head to dietitianapproved.com/academy and get your name on the waitlist for our next opening. It won't be till July in a big way but if you're on the waitlist, then there may be an opportunity in April. Any questions send me a DM on Instagram, @dietitian.approved, or send us an email, [email protected]. We're all over the internet this week because I just get so excited. But I'm ready to help you feel like a supercharged triathlete. I'll see you on the inside.

Taryn Richardson  24:07

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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