Episode 58 - The BIGGEST nutrition mistake triathletes are making (and how to avoid it)

The BIGGEST nutrition mistake triathletes are making (and how to avoid it)

Let’s be honest. There are many mistakes triathletes make with their nutrition.

You need to understand how to recover properly for YOU - most triathletes suck at recovery nutrition (no offence). 

You ​​also need to fuel properly DURING training. You need a different strategy for different types of sessions, where you are in your race season, what your goals are etc etc etc. I see a lot of triathletes underfuel because they think this will assist with weight loss. A recipe for disaster and still not getting to the ideal body composition you’re chasing. 

But the BIGGEST mistake triathletes make with their nutrition….is…..

You’ll have to listen to find out 😜

Stay to the end for my solution to avoiding this big mistake!




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Episode Transcription

Episode 58: The BIGGEST nutrition mistake triathletes are making (and how to avoid it)


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 58. I'm going to give you some insider secrets around the biggest nutrition mistakes triathletes make and how to avoid them. You're going to want to listen to this episode right to the end. But before we get started, this is just your gentle reminder to register for the online Triathlon Nutrition Training Camp if you haven't yet. You need to go to dietitianapproved.com/camp if you want to check it out. It runs next week from the 13th to the 15th of September. It's 3 x 30 minute live sessions with me there at 9am Australian Eastern Standard Time or Brisbane time, which is the night before in the US. But on that page at dietitianapproved.com/camp, I've actually linked a little time zone checker for you. So you can see what on earth time it is in your timezone. But it's all online, and it's all recorded. So if you can't make it live, it doesn't really matter. You can catch up the recording at a time that suits you.

Taryn Richardson  01:46

And then you're going to get me live later on in the day to pick my brain ask questions, make sure you're not stuck on anything. So there's plenty of opportunity to catch me through Camp if you want to. And it's AUD$47 bucks - Aussie dollars, not USD. It's 47 bucks - super cheap. It's way cheaper than a greens subscription powder that you definitely don't need. It's also cheaper than a new cycling kit. It's cheaper than a new pair of running shoes. And I would argue that the things that you're going to learn at camp are going to outperform all those things anyway. So definitely go and check it out. Check out the schedule over the three days.  I'm going to fast track you when it comes to triathlon nutrition - give you a bit of a leg up so that you've got yourself sorted and you've got your shit together and you're organised - because eating properly is not difficult but it does take a little bit of knowledge and skills in this space. So I'm going to help you through that.

Taryn Richardson  02:42

Other exciting thing that's happening - oh my God ... doors to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program open tomorrow morning - for the last time this year. This is a last chance you can get help from me for 2022. So you need to go and check out all the details on the Academy page, dietitianapproved.com/academy. It is the best triathlon nutrition program in the world. But hey, don't take my word for it. Here's one of our awesome members Jason and what he thinks about the program inside:

Jason Currie  03:18

My name is Jason Currie. I'm 41 years old and I've been doing triathlon for about eight years. I joined the triathlon Nutrition Academy because I realised how little I knew about nutrition. And I was surprised, as I've learned more through the program, just how even completed the races that I've done, let alone finished in a decent spot. The biggest lesson I've learned from the program would be how little I really knew about nutrition. I'd learnt to be afraid of carbs and avoid carbohydrates. I hadn't really done race fueling, I hadn't done recovery. And these are all things I've learned through the program - how to be better fueled for triathlon, how to be better fueled during triathlon, but most importantly, how to recover from training so I'm ready to go again. So my big goals over the next 12 months I really want to try for Kona selection. So trying to make Kona in the Ironman Triathlon distance. So I'm looking at Cairns in June for that, and so I really need to work on my nutrition and how I can better fuel on the bike particularly.  I've just completed 14 Ultra events in 12 months. And I'm surprised (at) just completing them really! The more I learned from the program and the Triathlon Nutrition Academy, just how little I knew about race fueling and race preparation.  I'd highly recommend the program to any triathlete who's invested heavily in running and cycling and swimming and realises that they need to work on that fourth leg of triathlon nutrition. Without nutrition, there's no point having a great bike or fast shoes-  you just won't get to the finish line!

Taryn Richardson  04:43

What a legend! Okay, the biggest mistake triathletes make when it comes to their nutrition.... All right, there's many. I'm not going to lie. You definitely need to understand how to recover properly for you. Most triathletes, no offence, suck at your recovery nutrition. You might think you're doing alright. But then when you actually understand what you need to do for you, chances are it's not dialled in properly. And we can really quickly and easily do that when you know what you need to do. You also need to understand how to fuel properly during your training sessions. You need a different strategy for different types of sessions - the season, your body composition goals, your goals of that session, where you are in your race prep - there's loads of things. But what I find with triathletes is that they under fuel typically, and maybe it's because you think if you don't fuel properly or fuel enough, or you think you don't need it, because you think you'll drop body fat, if that's the case. And let me just tell you quietly and gently, you're wrong!

Taryn Richardson  05:50

Sometimes when we fuel better, and optimally, for what we're doing, we can train harder. And if we can train harder and push ourselves into more of a hurt hole, we burn more calories overall, during that session, and after because we're getting fitter, we're getting faster, we're adapting from our training sessions better because we've got the building blocks there to be able to do that. So under fuelling is not the answer if weight loss or fat loss is your goal.

Taryn Richardson  06:19

Triathletes also generally suck at having a plan. They're not organised -  I find that they wing it, and don't respect their body or the distance that they're doing and the training that you have to do when you train for three sports in a week. If you haven't listened to it yet, go back two episodes and listen to my little bit of a rant on why long term health is so important for your performance as a triathlete. It's definitely a good one and, I guess, some of the foundations around my thoughts when it comes to nutrition because we tend to overlook our long term health. And we tend to not respect our body to the way that needs to be respected. So definitely worth listening if you haven't done that yet.

Taryn Richardson  07:00

But the biggest mistake that you need to fix, if this is you, is eating the same thing each day. Now, I totally get how this happens - you might have that structure of your work week and your routine Monday to Friday (unless you're a shift worker), but you have some sort of rhythm when it comes to your food for generally your work week. And so those five days, you tend to eat the similar sorts of things, because you just do, it's just the pattern that you fall into. So your energy intake kind of flatlines across those days. But your training load is highly variable - you have lighter days, you have bigger days, you have longer session days. So your energy intake needs to better match your energy expenditure. And I commonly see people under eating on those big days - under fuel because you think you're going to drop fat that way! And then playing major catch up later on on those lighter or rest days where you're not doing much training - so your energy expenditure is low. But your hunger hormones are just wreaking havoc from those days that you've put yourself into a hole. And so it's sending out all your hunger hormones to make you catch up, because you're so depleted. And you end up overeating for your energy expenditure on that day to try and catch up. So that is not the way that we need to think about fueling and nutrition when it comes to training for three sports in a week.

Taryn Richardson  08:30

If you're doing that, there's some pretty key indicators that will tell you and give you signs if that's you. You might feel wrecked by the end of the week, like, come Friday, you're like "Argh, I'm done"! You might really struggle to drop body fat - and that's because your nutrition is not right. You might be absolutely starving all the time. Of course you are -  you're a triathlete but, you know, there's starving and there's like proper starving. You're not performing in your training sessions or in your races or not to the ability that you're capable of. And you're not really reaching your goals, whatever they might be.

Taryn Richardson  09:06

Eating for triathlon is so different to any other sport! If you've come from a gym program, or just running, or a completely different sport altogether, you need to respect the training and the nutrition that intersects together to feel Supercharged. When you have that dialled in, you'll have more energy, you'll get to your ideal body composition and it'll be easy. It's not going to be a struggle and pushing shit up hill. You'll recover faster. You'll perform better in your second, maybe third, maybe fourth session for that day. And not be stuck on the couch after long rides. I always get my athletes to know and understand and learn to eat differently on a rest day, a double or a triple sort of session day, a long ride and a long run day. When you have this right, you know how to scale up on big training days and scale back on lighter and rest days - but not feel like you're starving and depriving yourself to do that.

Taryn Richardson  10:10

There's some strategy around periodisation that I can teach you to make that whole process easy. So you don't have to count calories, you don't have to track your expenditure on your watch, and all those sorts of things. You don't have to dial it in to the nth degree! I can teach you how to do that the easy way! And you'll feel so much better for it. You'll also decrease your risk of injury and illness, if you get this right. And making some tweaks here, you'll feel less tired, you'll feel less fatigued, and you're going to get better bang for your buck out of your training sessions - no more junk miles. We don't have any more time in our days. So let's make the most out of our training sessions by layering in nutrition to maximally support that! I call that the Supercharged Zone where nutrition and training intersect - one of those Venn diagrams - when those two things are layered on top of each other perfectly - that little sweet spot in the middle - is where you want to be. That's where you're going to feel amazing. And it's not until you feel that, that you think, "How did I survive, without that, before"?

Taryn Richardson  11:18

I'm a huge believer that you can't out train a bad diet!  I'm sorry, but you can't. You might be doing 10 to 20 hours of exercise in a week, but you're still not a lean, mean fighting machine. You might be training really hard, but not getting any faster. The body is really smart, we have hunger hormones that are going to work against you. The body likes to maintain itself in this sweet spot or this equilibrium, this homeostatic state of balance. And you throw it out by training hard and not eating -  it's going to work its way back to that homeostatic level. But if you can understand how to scale your intake up on those hard days and down on lighter days, without being starving, you will lean up, have so much more energy and perform to the ability that you're capable of.

Taryn Richardson  12:07

But nothing changes, if nothing changes, right? So if you keep doing what you're doing right now, what does that look like in a year's time? or three years time? or five years time? You don't need to fumble around on Dr. Google, researching stuff, asking your training buddies, getting nutrition advice from the wrong places. It really is a quick and easy fix but you need the right information from the right people. If you want to know how to periodise your nutrition properly, and make sure you aren't failing at this mistake, we do that in the first four weeks of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program. Week 1, we tick off your recovery nutrition and make sure you get that right from day one. Then we do your pre training nutrition, so you can understand what types of strategies you need to do for different types of sessions. That's really important as well. And then Week 3 and Week 4, we're building your meal plan for what you're doing on a day to day basis to support training, including diving into periodisation the easy way.

Taryn Richardson  13:11

And then we tackle iron and calcium- two really important nutrients you need as an endurance athlete. And then we tackle what you're doing on the bike and what you're doing on the run. So those first eight weeks are the foundations of everything you need to know if you want to do triathlon for a while. And we'll hit all of that stuff before Christmas so that you can spend the Christmas break, practicing fine tuning, tweaking and finessing so that next year in January, we can hit the ground running with our race nutrition in Phase 2 and 3 of the Program.

Taryn Richardson  13:45

Understanding what to eat in sessions is so important. Here's what Nic found when she learned how to do that properly:

Nicole Hipkin  13:53

Hi, I'm Nicole Hipkin. I'm 45 and I've been doing triathlons for the last seven years. The biggest thing I've struggled when I started my triathlon is just hitting the wall after a massive long ride or a long run. And the biggest thing I've got out of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy is literally just the nutrition of eating more and having more fuel on the ride and on the run. I think probably one of the biggest misconception is that to do triathlons, you need to be tall and skinny and just not eat very much. In fact, it has to be the other! and it doesn't matter what size or shape you are, anyone can do triathlons!  The biggest thing/part of being in the Triathlon Nutrition Academy is having the Sports Dietitian and the community around you to support you through all your goals of triathlon.

Taryn Richardson  14:42

I know I'm a little biased but the Triathlon Nutrition Academy is the best value program in the world. I know because I've looked and nothing else like this even exists. My job is to bring you massive value each and every month. And we do that with a nutrition expert masterclass that drops every week. And we go deep on an element of nutrition that's key for your success as a triathlete. You get me live every week in Power Hour to get unstuck, pick my brain and help you nail your nutrition. Our Phase 3 guys have all just developed their very own 70.3 race nutrition plan! Everyone has a plan for their race coming up over the next few weeks. So it's not that you don't get my time, you don't get my brain - I will help troubleshoot any issue you've got going on. You also join a powerful community of like minded triathletes that you can High Five along your journey. One of the key things that people love about the program is that they get to meet people from all walks of life. And different types of people have different types of questions that you maybe didn't think about. So everyone's learning from each other, as well as me!

Taryn Richardson  15:52

To make your life easy, you also get access to my ever growing Dietitian Approved Recipe Database, which is heaving with over 130 athlete friendly recipes now. And I'm also giving you weekly menu plans so that if you suck at meal planning, menu planning, shopping, writing a list, finding recipes, all those sorts of things, I've done that for you! That's my jam. I love doing that. So every week, you get a plan for what to eat for dinners, the recipe that goes with that, and the shopping list to get everything that you need - if that's something that's useful for you. One of the athletes inside the program, Renee, found this really useful when she was traveling, away for work a lot and really busy, they didn't get time to go to the shops. And on the way home, she quickly did an online grocery shop order for everything on that list, had it delivered and that was her dinner meals done for the week! She didn't have to think about it. So use that to your advantage.

Taryn Richardson  16:45

You also get discounts for products and services that we believe in - not because we get paid to promote them. I will never be sponsored by a supplement company. So that you know that if I'm recommending something, it's because it's good, it's evidence based - not because I'm getting kickbacks to do that. Plus so much more. It is the best value program in the world. Nutrition can be complicated. But that doesn't mean you need to struggle trying to figure it out for yourself. Every week, you can pick my brain. I will answer your questions and help you reach your goals faster. My superpower is translating deep science into information that's practical for you so that you can actually have a plan and know what to do.

Taryn Richardson  17:24

Doors open tomorrow. And we start next Saturday the 17th of September. This is the last opportunity to work with me for 2022. Doors won't open again until January 2023. And I'm no longer doing one on one consulting (wahoo!!). It's been a big year and I've two tiny little people that need a bit more of my attention for a little while. So you make sure you go and check it out dietitianapproved.com/academy. And if you're not registered for Camp yet, make sure you go and do that to dietitianapproved.com/camp. A year from now you will wish you had started.

Taryn Richardson  18:08

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 www.dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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