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Why focusing on long-term health is so important for performance as a triathlete

Aug 25, 2022

Why focusing on long-term health is so important for performance as a triathlete

I'm a big advocate for nutrition. Your body is the number 1 thing that will get you to the finish line.

 

Yet most triathletes see a dietitian LAST, after they've:

  • Tried and failed to get their ideal body composition
  • Tried every random fad or quick fix diet
  • Struggled with fuelling and vomited their guts up on the run, had to race to the loo multiple times, or planned their training runs around the toilets on their route!
  • Bonked, hit the wall, repeatedly fallen into a hole or peeled themselves off the pavement
  • Suffered from a stress injury/fracture or chronic fatigue. 

 

As an Advanced Sports Dietitian, I can help you with your training and a meal/race plan and I've worked with many triathletes, both 1:1 and in the Triathlon Nutrition Academy. What I, and they, can tell you, is the long term benefits kick in when you engage further - take ownership, prioritise your overall health and...

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Triathlon Training Nutrition 101

Aug 18, 2022

Triathlon Training Nutrition 101

When it comes to Triathlon Nutrition there's A LOT you can do to maximise your performance.

 

Once you’ve figured out the basics of the sport – what you put in your mouth is the next thing you need to turn your attention to (BEFORE you drop $20K on a new bike) because nutrition really is the fourth leg! Your body is what’s going to get you to the finish line faster.

Success in triathlon comes from being minimally affected by the swim and the ride. It's about getting to the run in the best possible shape that you can so that you can continuously run without stopping or bonking or hitting the wall or vomiting your guts up and trying to keep a nice even pace on the run.

I explain the 'what, why and how to' of triathlon training nutrition 101 - the foundations including:

 

Pre training nutrition

  •  Do you have a plan for different types of training sessions?
  •  Do you know how much you need to have before a session?
  • ...
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3 nutrition habits every triathlete should be doing daily

Aug 11, 2022

3 nutrition habits every triathlete should be doing daily

It's so hard to pick just 3! There are so many things you should be doing to improve performance.

My advice - get the fundamentals sorted first. Instead of chasing shiny objects and doing the 1%ers – here's where we need to be. 

 

My 3 nutrition habits you should be doing every day to help improve your performance as a triathlete:

 

1. RECOVERY NUTRITION

  • 95% of athletes I’ve seen do a crap job of their recovery nutrition.
  • If delayed, it doesn’t contain the right building blocks and isn’t doing your training justice.
  • We need to master the art of recovery nutrition, not only so we have the energy to get up and go again but to ensure we're not doing long-term damage to our overall growth, our bone health, and our hormones. 

 

2. EAT A VARIETY OF PLANT BASED FOODS

    FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES, NUTS, SEEDS, LEGUMES

  • Food option first – not a pill or...
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Why aiming for 120g of carbs per hour is a mistake

Aug 05, 2022

Why aiming for 120g of carbs per hour is a mistake

This statement may be seen as controversial - but if I don't say it, then who will!??

Putting my Advanced Sports Dietitian's hat on, I can tell you that aiming for 120g of carbs an hour is a mistake!

 

And let me tell you why...

For the majority of you, it is a mistake, because you're not going to be able to tolerate that level of fueling.

  • The research (a paper in 2020* that came out of Spain by Aitor Viribay and his colleagues) was done with elite athletes, under very specific testing conditions. It's great research but not necessarily applicable to the average age grouper.
  • Intestinal absorption is the rate limiter - you can consume it, but it's of no value if your body can't absorb it and the longer you're out there for, the more things will back up in your gut.
  • If you are going to aim for 120g of carbohydrates an hour you need to build up to it, systematically and strategically, to avoid gut issues - nausea, fullness,...
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What's the best protein powder for triathletes?

Jul 21, 2022

What's the best protein powder for triathletes?

A number of people have mentioned protein powders to me lately – as if it was the best thing in the world.   I’m going to dive a little deeper into protein powders (and try not to offend supplement companies in the process!!)

 

FIRSTLY – I have a food first philosophy. It is extremely easy to get enough protein from food without the need to supplement.

As a supplement, that’s exactly what they should be used as: an addition to a balanced diet when you can’t get enough protein through real food for whatever reason.

 

Reasons we might advise using a protein powder:

  • For convenience – if you have a busy lifestyle and seem to be always on the run!
  • To meet protein needs directly after a heavy strength-specific session – where we are trying to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (building new muscle). 
  • To make sure your recovery meals still...
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How to lose weight the easy way with TNA athlete Renee Ingram

Jul 15, 2022

How to lose weight the easy way with TNA athlete Renee Ingram

Despite not being a focus of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, weight loss, or body fat loss is a surprising side bonus for many of our athletes. 

 

Academy member, Renee, is a great example of how eating more strategically, instead of constantly trying to eat less and cutting carbohydrates, can lead to body fat loss, without really trying.  

In our recent podcast episode, Renee shared her nutrition journey prior to seeking support from an endurance sports dietitian specialist. She’s been on a big ride (pun intended) and has seen many nutritionists, dietitians, naturopaths etc.

 

Some of the key light bulb moments she’s realised about eating for triathlon…

  • You don’t have to count calories to lose weight
  • Eating more carbohydrates hasn’t led to weight gain 
  • By eating more strategically around training, it’s easy to achieve your body composition...
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How to keep your relationship alive through ironman training build

Jul 08, 2022

How to keep your relationship alive through ironman training build

I like to take a holistic approach to triathlon. I’ve got the nutrition side covered but feel it’s of value to bring in experts to help you in other areas.

 

Triathlon is a crazy sport. Training for three sports means you’re up early, home late, you may have a full-time job you need to work around too.

Then the weekend can be taken up by 6 hours rides, long runs. Or race weekends away for races, training camps etc.   All this means there aren’t many hours left in the day or days in the week to be at home spending time with your partner.

I see couples and families break down because of triathlon. One partner does the sport and the other doesn’t and it can put a strain on relationships. Or, even if they are there as your no. 1 crew, everything usually gets put on hold until after the event. This is where relationships can also break down.

When you don’t have the...

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Signs you might not be eating enough to support triathlon training

Jul 01, 2022

Signs you might not be eating enough to support triathlon training

How do you know if you’re eating enough to support training for three sports? 

 

The body is smart. It will give you some warning signs if you’re not fuelling properly. Some warning signs will be a light touch like a feather, others will be harder like a brick being thrown at you or, louder still, like being hit by a truck!!

Did you know that your body fuels training first, before spending energy to support our daily bodily functions – like breathing, digesting, growing, and living!!??

Here are a few signs you’re not eating enough:

  • You’re not training well and/or your motivation to train is low
  • You’re not recovering very well or quickly enough
  • You keep getting annoying niggly injuries 
  • You continuously get sick or can’t seem to shake things
  • You have weird or exacerbated gastrointestinal issues
  • Your menstrual function is light, irregular or completely absent...
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What is a Hydrogel? Does it improve endurance performance?

Jun 24, 2022

What is a Hydrogel? Does it improve endurance performance?

Hydrogel technology is making a wave in the sports nutrition scene with products like Maurten hitting the market.

But what is a hydrogel? And is it beneficial to endurance performance?

 

I asked Andy King, exercise physiologist at the Australian Catholic University, to join me on a recent podcast episode. Andy co-authored the review paper on all of the research to date on hydrogels and their effect on endurance exercise performance. So there was no one better suited to answer these questions for us! 

 

What is a hydrogel?

  • Basically an amped-up carbohydrate drink

How does a hydrogel work?

  • Delivers sugar through the stomach and intestine into your bloodstream to your muscles
  • In gel form, it moves the carbohydrate mixture through to your intestine quicker - approx. 40% faster

Are there any negative effects of using a hydrogel compared to regular sports drinks and gels?

  • May negatively impact some athletes...
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Real food ideas for on the bike

Jun 17, 2022

Real food ideas for on the bike

Are you sick of sucking back gels and sports drinks all the time?

Are you looking for more real food options to use during exercise?

 

Over the years, I’ve definitely seen a movement away from commercial sports nutrition products to more real foods on the bike. But what types of foods are going to help your performance?

 

When is the best time to use real foods in training?

  • During the off-season is a good time to try new options – tweaking your strategies as your fitness, training and racing evolves

 

What types of real foods are good for on the bike?

  • Carbohydrate foods should be your focus
  • Try adding some savoury options to avoid flavour fatigue
  • Something easy to prepare pre-race or the night before
  • Something the right consistency and texture (so it’s easy to get out of the container, but doesn’t crumble or fall apart)
  • A good balance of energy/ nutrients - carbohydrates with some healthy fats and a little bit...
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