Training twice a day, six days a week while balancing work and family commitments can be exhausting. To ensure you have the necessary energy levels to give each area of your busy life optimum attention, you need to have a nutrition strategy. Firstly, you need to understand what foods are going to provide you with adequate energy, then you need to plan your meals around these foods. Planning your nutrition like you would plan your work and family life will prevent you from reaching out for energy stealer foods such as sugary treats, caffeine or fizzy drinks.
Complex carbohydrates – these provide you with B Vitamins that are essential for energy production. Eating a variety of good complex carbohydrates at meals will provide you with the necessary energy to meet the demands of your busy day. Great sources of complex carbohydrates are brown rice, oats, buckwheat, rye and quinoa.
Vegetables – these provide you with important vitamins and minerals for energy production and for boosting your immune system. The top vegetables to include daily are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, raw carrots, fennel, celery and spinach.
Fruit – like vegetables, these provide important vitamins and minerals for energy production and for boosting your immune system. The top fruits to include daily are avocados, apples, pears, all berries, bananas, oranges and pineapple.
Protein – protein helps your body recovery from training by repairing muscle damage that you have incurred through exercise. It also helps to balance your energy levels throughout the day. Enjoying a variety of protein sources with meals and snacks will help to maintain energy balance and promote muscle recovery between training sessions. Great sources are eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, chickpeas and lentils.
The amount of each food group needed for daily consumption can be confusing for some, particularly when training. The rule of thumb for carbohydrate (CHO) is 5 g CHO per kg per day. For example, a 70 kg male would require 350 g CHO per day. If training increases in intensity and duration, as when training for Ironman 70.3 or Ironman, these requirements may need to increase to 7-8 g CHO per kg per day (Jeukendrup, 2012). Protein intake is normally 0.8 g per kg per day, however if your training is more than 2-3 hrs per day, this may need to increase to 1.2 g per kg per day. For example, the 70 kg male training for an Ironman will need 84 g protein daily. The remainder of your daily intake should then come from good sources of fat such as oily fish, nuts, avocados.
70 kg male triathlete training for an Ironman expends 3500 Kcals per day
500 g CHO = 2000 Kcal’s
84 g Protein = 336 Kcal’s
130 g Fat = 1164 Kcal’s
Breakfast – Warm oats cooked in nut milk or water with mixed fruits and nuts
Snack – Celery, apple, fennel and ginger juice
Lunch – Rice flour and buckwheat crepes with organic chicken, cottage cheese and mixed salad
Snack – Banana and soya or nut milk shake with a handful of almonds
Dinner – Grilled salmon fillet with brown rice and broccoli
Bed-time Snack – A small portion of low-fat natural yogurt
It must be noted that every individual has different energy needs, food likes, dislikes, intolerances and allergies and it would be an idea to speak with a nutritionist about your energy needs if you are unsure about this area of your training.