Athlete nutrition and triathlon diet in general are topics that are discussed at great length. What we eat has a great impact on athletic performance and how we recover from physical stress.
FOOD CHOICES ARE A PERSONAL THING
It seems that diet and weight loss plans are way to general. What works for some people might not work for others.
What might be a bad food choice for some might not be for others. For instance, a high carbohydrate diet might not be a healthy athlete nutrition choice for some, but then others might have a high tolerance to carbohydrates and thrive on them.
Some of the best athletes in the world have reached their peak of performance when they adopted high carbohydrate diets.
Martina Navratilova is a perfect example. In the later years of her pro tennis career she was beating women half her age. More and more athletes have been finding ways to prolong their careers through superior diets.
So it come as no surprise to me when I see older triathletes performing so well at sixty and seventy years old.
Her endurance level was amazing and she attributed that to the Doctor Robert Haas “Eat To Win Diet”.
On his diet the bulk of calories eaten came from carbohydrates with a minimum of fat and protein included in the diet. The doctor claimed the diet gave Martina the blood work of a teenager.
There are other examples of eating what agrees with you as opposed to what conventional wisdom dictates.
When one particular 104-year-old was asked what he ate that attributed to his long, healthy life, he replied “for the last twenty years or so I ate mostly sausages and waffles”.
Sausages and waffles! Just a minute here. I can’t seem to find the healthy heart diet book that suggests these food choices as the corner-stone to a healthy diet.
Hell! Pass the syrup!
There are many foods that have been given a bad rap.
For years I was sucked into believing that eggs were an extremely bad food choice because the yolk contained so much cholesterol.
Through years of Ironman training I deprived myself of whole eggs and used just the whites for their protein value.
Now there is more information about the benefits of eggs available to those who would love to include them in their daily diet.
I get so tired of hearing how bad coffee is for you. Finally there is evidence coming out that has shown the benefits of coffee.
Personally, I have met several high end Ironman triathletes who swore by drinking a few cups of coffee in the hours leading up to an event. They claimed it really helped their endurance.
I have devoted an entire page on my website to the benefits of coffee when it comes to athletes.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MODERATION IN THE DIET
With the exception of the 104-year-old waffle and sausage eater I mentioned earlier, moderation appears to be the smartest choice if one is tempted by what is considered a poor nutritional food choice.
It’s really no big deal if athlete nutrition includes a craving a big serving of chocolate ripple ice-cream on occasion.
It’s only when poor food choices become a corner-stone of their diet that it might effect athletic performance and recovery.
A KENYAN RUNNER’S TAKE ON ATHLETE NUTRITION
For years the I have virtually idolized the Kenyan runners and their ability to run mile after mile at a blistering pace that mere mortals might manage for a few miles.
Kenyan runners are well known for their ability to recover from daily training routines that are almost super-human.
Since it is very difficult to train hard and race well without optimal athlete nutrition, what is it that Kenyan’s eat that make them so successful? And, more importantly, would eating like they do help others run fast too?
Well, there is really no mystery to their diet. As a matter of fact the Kenyan athlete nutrition is surprisingly simple.
They prefer small amounts of meat, a variety of greens, some fruits, and milk.
The one consistent item in the diet of Kenyan athletes is “ugali”, a type of cornmeal oatmeal dish that is made from corn flour(maize).
By North American standards ugali is plain and tasteless, but the Kenyans love it. They eat if for breakfast with milk or will often use it as a meat stew base.
Considering they often train three times per day, these food choices for their athlete nutrition must really work for them.
You might enjoy this article on Cooking With Ugali