Ironman Triathlon diet: Best fat choices. Many triathletes fail to recognize the importance of incorporating good fat choices into their Ironman Triathlon diet and how it can optimize their training, racing, and recovery.

Making the right dietary fat choices is just as important to triathlon diets as using the best proteins and complex carbohydrates.

The right amount of protein for strength, power, and recovery and the best carbohydrates for endurance are often talked about, but ensuring you are making quality fat choices when setting up a training diet is every bit as important and vital to get the very most out of your triathlon racing and training.

Best fat choices: ironman triathlon diet

Taking on the Ironman? Eating smart could make all the difference.


It’s also a very important consideration for the beginner triathlete who has a bit of weight to lose, as in many cases people are drawn into the sport of triathlon even though they have not exercised on a regular basis for years.

There’s a good chance that a sedentary lifestyle lacking in regular fitness has led to excessive weight gain. However, that can easily be reversed once a sound diet is balanced with regular exercise.

Becoming a triathlete is a great decision, because the training involved in order to get the most enjoyment and realize the best possible success in the sport of triathlon go hand-in-hand with making the very best food choices and very soon you will be at the perfect weight for optimum performance.

It is especially important to develop a sound diet that will enhance strength and endurance if you are considering taking on the Ironman Triathlon.

OLIVE OIL: GREAT SOURCE OF DIETARY FAT FOR TRIATHLETES

Virgin Olive Oil has long been considered one of the healthiest oils in the world and it should be a regular addition to every triathletes kitchen.

Many, many studies have been done that have confirmed that replacing saturated fats with a product like olive oil will result in lower “bad” cholesterol. At the same time it will increase the “good” cholesterol. How can you go wrong with a fat that is good for you and tastes great as well?

Olive oil benefits are more likely to be optimized if one maintains a balance of quality complex carbohydrates and proper levels of protein to go along with excellent dietary fat choices like olive oil.

fresh olives


Add a regular triathlon training regimen into the mix and you are well on your way to reaching your perfect body weight and highest possible level of athletic ability.

A major published study discovered the potent benefits that can come with regular olive oil consumption.

In a major study involving several groups, the focus was on comparing iso-caloric diets that had one slight difference from each other. That difference was the fat source. This test was conducted over a two month period and it was discovered that the group that consumed olive oil for fat had much higher level of testosterone than the other test groups.

In effect, the olive oil was allowing cells to take in higher levels of cholesterol and in turn, convert that same cholesterol into testosterone. This is good news for athletes as testosterone is essential to muscle re-growth.

Testosterone also plays a large part in boosting energy levels. So if someone is doing some serious triathlon training, then it’s really a no-brainer to add a good quality olive oil to the every-day diet.

Incorporating olive oil into a training diet makes perfect sense for triathletes. You can build muscle, recover from work-outs much quicker, and increase endurance all at the same time.

It’s important to remember that all olive oil products are not created equal. Labels that just say “olive oil” are normally inferior choices and do not provide the same benefits of the virgin olive oils that come from the “first press” in the manufacturing process.

Care should be taken when reading the labels on olive oil products.

It might be true that most types of olive oil products are great sources of monounsaturated fat, but of all olive oil health products, Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains much higher quantities of antioxidants.

At the top of the list is Vitamin E and Phenols. This is because Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the least processed of all the olive oil health products and is actually from the very “first press” of the olives.

It may be more expensive, but if you want the very best in taste and health benefits from your olive oil choice than this is the oil for you.

IS COCONUT OIL THE NEXT SUPER-FOOD?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “it’s sad to see someone train their hearts out all year and then let their poor diet choices undermine all the work they have done”.

Although I was a fan (and still continue to be) of virgin olive oil through all my years of intense training I have since learned the value of coconut oil and now use it as a companion to olive oil and together they provide me with the two best dietary fats available today.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL could well be one of the world’s best kept nutrition secrets. At least that was the case a few decades ago when it was believed coconut oil was loaded down with fat that was bad for you. It has been rumored that is was the canola oil industry that wanted people to think this so the consumer would continue to buy canola oil.

The ability of coconut oil to aid in weight loss has been suppressed for years by canola growers to protect the huge market they have for their product.

Coconut oil may be the next super food

The livestock industry has known for years that if you want to fatten livestock, you feed it corn oil or canola oil. However if you want to make livestock leaner, you feed it coconut oil.

The concept is no different for people and it’s just a matter of consumers becoming more educated about the value of coconut oil on so many levels when it replaces less healthy oils in everyday cooking and recipes.

Just think about it for a minute.

The Asian countries who have used coconut oil for hundreds of years as a staple part of their diets have recorded far fewer heart disease problems than North Americans. As a people in general they do not suffer from obesity issues.

Coconut oil is so versatile that they use it in their hair on on their skin with dramatic results. Their hair has a shiny, healthy, luster and their skin stays wrinkle-free well into their senior years.

Now athletes in particular are starting to discover the benefits of coconut oil weight loss and how it can improve athletic performance and recovery.

From my own experience, coconut oil appears to speed the metabolism process and that probably explains why I reached the lowest weight of my adult life after including five or six tablespoons into my diet on a daily basis during my normal triathlon training season.

It seemed that no matter what diet I was on or hard or long my swim, bike, or run work-outs were, I never went below 150 pounds. This is even when I went on 100-mile bike rides and often did training runs over 3 hours in duration. Sure I would lose a few pounds from the days training, but the next day I would be back to 150 pounds again.

I always thought that if I could be lighter and still maintain my strength I would have better race results.

I ended up losing about 7 extra pounds and weighing 143-145 pounds after just 6 weeks of including a high quality coconut oil in my diet.

It might not seem like all that much, but considering it was the lightest I ever was in a 30-year endurance sports career, it was pretty remarkable to me. What it meant was that I could run a marathon with 6 or 7 pounds less to carry for 26.2 miles.

To me, that’s huge.

It does not mean starving yourself. I ate huge complex-carbohydrate meals when I was training for the Ironman.

extra virgin coconut oil


It’s not about getting as skinny as you can, because that line of reasoning can often be a catalyst for eating disorders.

It’s about finding the ideal “strength-to-weight ratio” that works best for you. That could be 170 or 180 for some men depending on body-type and bone-structure or for some women it could 125 or 140 pounds. Everyone is different.

That’s why when you watch an Ironman Triathlon you will see people crossing the finish line who do not have the super “ripped” and sleek athletes body. They may not be slim, but they are fit and that’s what’s important.

The best indicator is how you feel when you are out on those longer Ironman training sessions. Do you feel sluggish much of the time and tire easily or do you feel energized most of the time?

The key to reaching your optimum performance level might be as simple as making changes to your diet and adding a quality dietary fat could be the catalyst that will provide you with that extra boost of energy that could make all the difference in the world.

You really do not have a thing to lose because coconut oil is not only versatile and easy to use, it tastes sensational.

However I would suggest that much like Virgin Olive Oil, you search out the very best Virgin Coconut Oil. It is quite expensive but it has a richer flavor than cheaper varieties and has qualities that will be more effective when it comes to finding the perfect training and racing weight for you.

I found that I could substitute coconut oil in pretty much any recipe that called for poorer dietary fat choices like butter or margarine.

It’s relatively easy to incorporate 5 or 6 tablespoons of coconut oil into your daily diet. Add it to oatmeal, pasta, pasta sauce, smoothies, and use coconut oil (and olive oil) whenever you fry anything instead of cooking with canola and vegetable oils.

You are only limited by your imagination as coconut oil adds flavor and nutrition to so many different foods and should be in every triathletes kitchen.

2 Responses to Ironman Triathlon diet: Best fat choices

  1. Ray, great post.

    I have found the same results you have with coconut and coconut oil as a result of progressing to a Paleo Lifestyle. With the focus on healthy fats, protein, and whole vegtables (carbs) I have been able to keep my weight steady at 78kg and increase my performance year on year.

    • Ray says:

      Thanks for your post Steven! Many people are not aware that there are quality fats like coconut oil products that can actually help you lose weight and improve your endurance and over-all athletic performance. I truly believe that coconut oil should be ranked as a “super-food”.

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