Ten tips for triathlon nutrition
March 14th, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Ten tips for triathlon nutrition

Throughout the 2011 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, we will be posting weekly workout and meal plans so you can follow along at home.  Today's posting is the first four weeks of meal plans, including links to recipes.

Congrats! You’re embarking on an amazing physical and mental challenge. In the months to come you’ll be pushing your body harder than ever, and that means you need to be taking in the right nutrients to fuel your workouts and help repair muscle breakdown. Good luck!

1. This meal plan is approximately 1,500 calories a day. If you’re a man, plan to add an additional 500 calories per day, either by increasing your portions of meals, or by adding extra snacks. Just add a snack from another day in the plan.

2. You don’t need to make every recipe! This is just a guide. If you don’t like fish, just make a different dinner recipe. And if you have leftovers, bring them for lunch the next day or have the same thing for dinner two nights in a row. I’ve designed this meal plan with recipes that take 30 minutes or less because I know your time is precious.

3. Don’t feel like cooking? There are great, healthy frozen options on the market these days. Just look for meals with less than 500mg of sodium per serving.

4. I realize that many people buy their lunch instead of making it. Most of the lunch options can be approximated at a deli or sandwich shop. Just make sure to always go for whole grain bread options and skip the extra mayo and salty sauces.

5. Feel free to mix and match. If you find a breakfast that you just love, feel free to have it several times a week. Or if you find a dinner in Week one that you adore, it’s fine to make that in Week Three.

6. I’ve indicated that the snack should be eaten Post Workout on days when you’re exercising for more than 30 minutes. Try to eat your Post Workout snack within 30 minutes of exercising.

7. Still hungry? Add an extra 150-200 calorie snack. And always feel free to eat as much fruit and vegetables as you’d like. They are packed full of antioxidants that help fight the free-radical damage that intense training causes.

8. Sports drinks, gels, bars, and blocks are all helpful training aids. Try several early on in your training to see what works for your system. Remember that while caffeine can help improve athletic performance, too much of it can cause digestive issues and leave you running for the bathroom. Once you find the combo that works for you—stick with it. Do not try anything new on race day!

9. Hydrate! In addition to drinking about eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, you’ll also want to take in 4-8 ounces per every 15 minutes of intense exercise. Use sports drinks as needed.

10. Good luck!

Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., is the senior food & nutrition editor at Health magazine, and the author of Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom’s Healthy Eating Guide and the New York Times bestselling The CarbLovers Diet.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. heidi


    March 14, 2011 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Julia

    This "article" offers no original, new, or specific information at all. "Hydrate" and "eat vegetables." "Do not try anything new on race day." Seriously? I would have never guessed these things. I like you, CNN, but please give us something worthwhile to really chew on (pun intended).

    March 14, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. besseysturgis

    Very true that major brands do give out samples on their products, search online for "Get Samples 123" we just got ours today. You wont need CC.

    March 15, 2011 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Melissa G.

    1500 calories a day? That's it? I'm at 2000 and sometimes that's not enough. My RMR is 1350.

    March 15, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. kate

    ummm 1,500 calories a day for someone training for a triathlon? Man or woman that is going to be way too low. So they recommend frozen meals and 1,500 calories? how about no?


    March 15, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Terry

    The links to the recipes in the meal plan are all screwed up. Most of them take you to the recipe for the previous day but some don't exist at all.

    March 15, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sudipta Sarkar

    Nice Blog! Hope to see more such post soon. Take Care

    June 28, 2011 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Silvie

    Oh man, the picture above the article is my dream food!

    July 29, 2011 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. buy-recipes

    I really enjoy preparing these wonderful and delicious recipes dishes family and friends just can't believe the great tasting flavors, but this makes it all worth while, marvelous!

    August 20, 2011 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Raw Food Diets

    after reading your post, i understand the value of a diet plan and will try to apply it. thanks for posting.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.