How to eat for better performance.

Coach Mel: The Athlete Gourmet

In my last article I highlighted the importance of addressing your diet early in the training cycle.  The reason for this is diet plays such an important role in getting the maximum benefit from your training.  In setting goals, we always want to be sure that what we are doing is going to get us what we want.  If we feel that our efforts are bringing us no closer to our desired outcome, motivation is very likely to decrease.  For many, their motivation to train for triathlon is to feel good and look good as a result.  Diet is the key to any weight related goals.  However, I believe addressing your diet will be the key to lifelong health and wellness, so this isn’t just about getting to race weight.  To that end, training yourself to eat better is as important as training yourself to ride or run faster.  It is a key component in your overall race program and it is one thing that will benefit you well after your competitive career is complete. 

Just as increasing volume or intensity should be gradual, so too should dietary changes be made over time.  Better to find healthful habits that will have longevity than short term strict regimes.  The following are some foods that I believe should be included in your training diet.  I have outlined the benefits of including these in your diet as well as some ideas of how to enjoy them.  So often we are asked to try new things that we really have no experience preparing.  Millet, for example, is a fabulous grain for athletes and yet we would associate it more with the birdfeed outside than a breakfast staple (this grain was not included today – baby steps!).  Below is a guide to six foods that you may or may not be familiar with and some ideas on how to start to enjoy them on a more regular basis.  To your good health!

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An apple a day keeps the naturopath away….

This season, I finally decided to consult a nutrition expert to see if my diet was really as fabulous as I believed it was. I did this for two reasons. The first was to see if I was squeezing every food-related training advantage I could out of my diet. The second was the desire to lose some weight, and not just for vanity’s sake, I would benefit from an improved power to weight ratio. It is much easier to alter this ratio by reducing weight than busting ass to try and increase power, which at my level can take years to alter by a miniscule amount. Everyone knows that food affects not only our weight, but also our body’s ability to grow and repair muscle, and our immunity. The highest quality diet should be on all of our to-do lists, but somehow this to-do list is completely eclipsed by our want-to-do list, and the former list is often not as fun or desirable as the latter. I was concerned with improving my health, but was a naturopathic doctor going to be the answer? Read more