Training diets come in dozens of shapes and sizes. It will just make you crazy! Trying to figure out what to eat and what not to eat. Especially when you start doing some serious training and you are HUNGRY when you get home. Well the good news is that I've tried pretty well all of the major diets over the years(and some not so major)and can cut out much of the guesswork for you.
And no, I don't have a degree in nutrition. I earned my credentials in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
In the early years most of us Ironman beginners had no clue about diets. Most of us used the world famous, much loved seafood diet. You see food and you eat it.
Seriously though, after a few years it started to dawn on me how important diet was when training for an event as physically demanding as the Ironman.
I think I can honestly say that I took something good out of every diet I ever tried. Well almost.
A few years ago, I tried one diet for 4 months that maintained all you needed was lots of protein and not much carbo. Against my better judgement but just to see what would happen, I gave it at try.
After 4 months on this diet, I entered a 10km race and shortly after the gun went off(oh, about 5-6 seconds)I knew I was in trouble. I had zero energy and of the over 100-- 10km races I have entered over the years this was my worst time(by far).
I think I can say with much certainty that an endurance athlete should never go on a high protein, high fat, low carb diet! It may work for a segment of the population, but is certainly not meant for everyone.
From all the reading I've done, and all the diets I've tried I'm 100% certain that carbohydrates are the key to the ideal Ironman Triathlon diet.
I'm not talking simple carbs here. Really try and avoid sugar.stay away from those cakes and cookies--that ice cream and chocolate. For the year or so you dedicate to accomplishing your Ironman dream, stay focused on your diet. Trust me, it will be all that much more fun to indulge when its all over.
If anything, I went overboard on the carbohydrate scale.
It was a major part of my diet. It isn't for everyone. Just make sure that on a percentage basis that your carbohydrates are always higher then your protein and fat intake. Try and keep your protein and fat at about the same percentages. Some of the best carbohydrate sources are pasta, brown rice, whole wheat bread, pretty well all vegetables and a controlled amount of fruit because they have lots of sugar.
I found I was making one major mistake though. I always used white pasta and ate tons of potatoes because I knew they were one of the purest forms of carbohydrate. Much to my surprise a few years ago my doctor said my bad cholesterol was too high. After talking about my diet we narrowed it down to too many high-glycemic carbohydrates.
The white pasta I ate every day and all the potatoes. So now I ALWAYS use whole wheat pasta and I cut out potatoes and substitute with sweet potatoes. Problem solved.
For protein you have several preferable choices. Egg whites are awesome.
Give the yolks to your neighbor who is on that OTHER diet. Or have scambled eggs with 3 egg whites and one entire egg. Limit yourself to 3 or 4 whole eggs per week. From the Dairy aisle your best bets are lowfat cottage cheese, plain yogurt( not those fruity ones)and skim milk.
From the meat aisle(if you eat meat)chicken and turkey white meat(yes, and take that skin off-that's where most of the fat is stored), and a small amount of lean beef maybe once, but not more than twice a week. Fish of course is just a great choice. There is nothing wrong with canned tuna or salmon. Don't foget about legumes, and also soya products are a staple now of many Iroman Triathletes.
The fat part of your diet will often be found in the protein you eat. There will be fat in the cottage cheese and the chicken or turkey or beef you might eat. There will be fat in the 3 or 4 whole eggs you eat every week if you choose to. There will be a small amount of fat in the skim milk.
Fish will also provide some fat, and I know its expensive, but salmon is awesome for protein and fat(Omega oil). The oil I prefered and used for years is vigin olive oil. That is until I came across coconut oil. Now I use both. A less expensive option is canola oil.
Try having vinega olive oil and coconut oil tossed in your salad and top it with cottage cheese. A great example of complex carbs, good fat and protein.
Some notes:condiments(ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, salad dressings etc)should be used sparingly. Cheddar cheese is fine, but try and stick to 6-8 ounces per week. Your best cheeses are hard cheeses. Number one choice is parmesean(grated)for your pasta.
Don't use jam.too much sugar.I just really, really like peanut butter and it is o.k.
in controlled amounts if you buy the real thing that has a half inch of oil on the top and is a pain to mix(but hey! that means its the right one). DON'T use the peanut butter that has icing sugar mixed in it and no oil on the top. They add the icing sugar so they can make it smooth for you and you don't have to mix it at home.
As far as your beverage choices, use skim milk as I mentioned above. Don't be afraid of aspartame. It is a far better choice than sugar and allows you to use sweetners in your coffee etc.
So that means you can drink diet pop on occasion(with aspartame)Another really good choice is crystal lite(they also use aspartame) if you prefer a sweeter option to water(like I do). And whoever said drink 6 0r 8 glasses of water a day, has got to be kidding. I would have to GAG down that much water every day.
I've discovered that what you eat really goes a long way to determining how thirsty you are and how much water you drink. I believe if you eat an extraordinary amount of carbohydrates like I do, you require less water. Don't forget, fresh vegetables for instance are up around 75-80% water. And I have a huge salad every day. Beer or wine is o.
k. in extreme moderation. Maybe three drinks a week and drink light beer.
Getting drunk is not a great idea when you are on an Ironman Triathlon training Diet. It causes dehydration and will pretty well ruin your next few days training.
A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES: Don't get me wrong. When you are out on long rides and runs 2 hours duration and more, be very sure you have lots of water or some type of fluid replacement.
Don't go nuts on drinking water while training however. More and more information is coming out about athletes taking too much water and flushing out too many nutrients and causing physical problems as a result.(hyponatremia)
Also: As far as the amount you eat.
You are training for an Ironman Triathlon. When I mention diet, I'm not talking the amounts you eat. I'm talking about the food you choose to eat.
Trust me. One day if you go for a training swim followed closely by a 50 or 60 mile bike ride, you are going to be hungry. Don't worry yourself about HOW MUCH you eat. When you are really training, your body will tell you how much you need to eat.
I like to call it my "appestat."
I have "never" measured, or worried about the amount I eat when I'm in training. I am 145-150 pounds and eat tons!! I know everyone has a different metabolism, but just the same, you will know darn well when you have had a hard training day. Eat accordingly.
In many sports, not just triathlon, athletes will train religiously for months and not realize their full potential because of an improper diet.
Don't let this happen to you.
Article Source: http://www.articledashboard.com.
My name is Ray and after a 20 year career in Ironman triathlons, I decided to create a site called "Ironstruck" that has training and racing tips for the beginner triathlete/novice ironman. Come for a visit. triathlon-ironman-myfirstironman-ironstruck.com. .
By: Ray Fauteux -