There have recently been a few articles about what pro triathletes eat on daily basis. I like many of you enjoy reading such articles and/or blogs and I for one reason or another felt the need to share what “I” as an elite level age grouper consume on daily basis.
For one, I want people to know that I that the reason I am thin, is NOT because I do not eat or deprive myself of food but rather the level at which I train, and also because of my genetics! I actually love food, and I love to eat – just ask any of my friends.
I am fit and strong, and I do NOT starve myself. I eat to fuel my body to perform its best day in and day out, and just because you won’t find me eating McDonalds every day or drinking beer or wine every night, it doesn’t mean I don’t eat. (Confession - I am not a beer/wine drinker, and never was. The reason I don’t drink is not because I am afraid it will slow me down, but because I just don’t enjoy the taste! You may however see me consuming way more bread than you ever thought was possible. Why? Because I love it! )
For seconds, I actually really dislike the word “diet”. I am firmly behind the “Everything in moderation” approach. Not giving body what it’s asking for over and over again, will only make you miserable and such approach is simply not sustainable most likely resulting in severe weight fluctuations.
Yes – I am skinny; Yes – I have low body fat; Yes – People still talk about me behind my back (See it doesn’ t matter what shape you are, people will always talk), but I am OK with it. I am comfortable in my own skin, and that is KEY! Yes – I am careful about what I put in my body but I love food, and Yes – I EAT (a lot)! Food/nutrition is a big part of my training and racing!
I adjust my calorie intake up and down slightly depending on how many hours per week I train, but here is a peak into what I end up consuming on most days during my typical training week of roughly around 16 hours. I picked a random Tuesday which is representative of every other day during the week even when the training may vary slightly.
6:00 am: Banana (8oz of water)
6:30 am: 2500-3500y swim (20 oz Water)
8:45 am: Bowl of oatmeal with a scoop of Chocolate protein powder mixed in to aid in muscle recovery and, cup of fresh fruit (I prefer fresh strawberries/blueberries or blackberries) as berries tend to be lower in sugar vs. other fruits, and most importantly I love berries! I also add a scoop of Coarsely Ground Flaxseed that are rich in Omega 3s and also help with decreasing cortisol levels as well as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. (I may sometimes add an egg white or two for more protein too) Thank you InsideTracker for helping me figure out what is right for ME! (Blood don't lie)
11:00 am: Snack. I want this snack to fill me up, but also be light enough so that I can either have a quality short run around lunch time or good SMART session to loosen up the body. I usually go for Brown Rice Rice cakes (Lightly Salted) with Skippy Natural Peanut butter and sometimes I also add a banana. (There may also be just an extra spoon of peanut butter because I am just a little addicted ;) )
You may have to tilt your head but I just cant' get this photo to rotate!
12:45 pm: 30 min super ez run to loosen up the legs, after the long weekend of training OR SMART session/SS also knows as some quality time spent with foam roller, lacrosse balls, theracane and bands for a good stretch.
1:45 pm: Lunch. My go to is a sandwich consisting of bread of course (I absolutely LOVE bread and could live of just bread and butter if I had to), Applegate’s all organic natural turkey or chicken breast, mozzarella or provolone cheese, little bit of hummus (my favorite is the Sabra roasted pine nut), ¼ to ½ of fresh avocado, and I also add a boiled egg white for little extra protein. I then either have a baked potato (regular or sweet) cut up and fried in a little bit of olive oil, or when lazy, I reach for the “Original Green Pea Baked Crisps” my new favorite for a little added crunch pictured here! And finally I always have an apple and can’t forget to hydrate so another 20oz of water.
4:30pm: Afternoon snack. My afternoon snack usually consists of a cup of white greek yogurt with cup of fruit and cup of Nature’s Path Organic Coconut Chia Granola! Another great combination of protein, carbs, and fat to fuel the body for the evening workout.
I usually get home around 6 or 6:30 and on my way home (I spend way too much time in my car) I may snack on hand full of almonds.
9 times out of 10 take a quick power nap. By 7:00 I am on the bike for the hardest session of the day so it is really important I fuel well all day!
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Bike Interval Workout. Although only 1 hour workout, this one packs a punch and works up the appetite. It’s usually something fun like 6 x 4 min intervals with 45 sec rest at 105% of your critical power with the last one hopefully higher and pretty much all out at that point. Depending on how I feel I may either eat a PowerBar Gel right before the workout, and I always have 2 bottles of fluids – 1 with water only, and the other with 2 scoops of Perform to keep the energy high and the legs moving.
8:30pm: Dinner. Since this is a late dinner night, I try to keep the dinner on the lighter side but still packed with calories.
Not your average salad
Mix of sweet/regular potatoes
There is always bread on the side (I prefer fresh baguette if available) and I also like to have a piece or two of three or 4 of dark chocolate.
I try not to eat the whole thing, but I can ;)
Mmmmm dark chocolate - especially when it's from your homeland!
10:30 pm – 11:00 – Protein Shot – 8oz of Chocolate or Regular Coconut Milk with a scoop of chocolate protein powder (20g of protein) to aid in muscle recovery so that I can do it all over again the next day. Unfortunately I usually can't wait to guzzle it down, and always forget to take a photo!
At the end of the day, I am looking at anywhere around 3300 – 3500 calories coming from real food and that number goes up as my training hours go up as well.
I end up eating very similar on most days during the week. When I am a bit more on the go, I tend to reach for easier to carry snacks, and my new favorite pre-training snack are the Bobo bars! If I have to drive to a workout and then have a drive home, a protein packed snack I tend to reach for are the Betty Lou’s protein balls! You can get both at a great price through one of my sponsors RacePak! If you haven’t checked them out, give them a try!
I don't leave the house without snacks (EVER!)
I hope this showed you that food is very important part of any endurance athlete, and is not bad for you! We all have our guilty pleasures, and there is no need to go crazy to go fast. Eat up folks because skinny doesn’t mean fast! Fit, strong AND healthy means fast!
Next up Part 2 – which will give you an insight into what I eat during the weekend when the training hours are longer, and there may not be as much time for real food, and Part 3 – how I fuel my body on and around race day.