March 14th, 2011
07:05 PM ET
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.
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