Many of us triathletes follow a strict diet. Some do the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) approach, some do the High Carb Low Fat diet (HCLF). What is typical with both of the diets: you need to eat a good amount of Protein. But how much is enough and what type of diet is right for you? The answer is: it depends. Even so your workout fueling depends.
Workout fueling is highly individual, as you are. So we need to clarify a few things in the first place. You will finde information about when to use workout fueling and when it is better not to. In the next article I will provide some basic recipes for your race and workout fueling that will not break your bank account.
As I’m not a certified nutritionist, I will only talk to you about my thoughts and my personal experiences. Everybody is different and you need to take your time and think about, what is doable for you, what fits your live and what is okay for you. For me, I don’t eat eat any meat. I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t eat meat. I try to limit my carbs, and take a good amount of protein. Additionally I try to time my carb intake.
So what are those numbers?
I tried a lot, but nothing fitted my lifestyle and my way to eat. But I have been relative consistent over the past 6 month. Around 35 to 40 percent of my daily caloric intake comes from carbs. 30 to 35 percent from fat and 25 to 35 percent from protein. That puts my somewhere in the area of 1-2 gram of protein per kg bodyweight. It works for me.
You may ask yourself what daily nutrition has to do with your workout nutrition. We get to that in a minute. Just one more thing to clarify.
I stated above that I do time my carbohidrate intake. In my eyes, that is the single one important thing to do, when it comes to higher performances. Let me explain:
Every session has a purpose. Some are to boost your aerobic system, some should help your body to learn to quickly move your feed, some should work on your VO2max and other ones should teach your body to metabolize more fat as fuel.
Let me break down how our body provides energy. Just very simple, to make sure we are talking about the same issue.
we need energy to swim, bike and run. In fact we need energy for everything we are doing, even sleeping. Our body provides energy by burning carbs and fats.
Commonly speaking, the lower the intensity of the workout, the more percentage of the energy comes from fat, in relation to carbs.
What do I mean by timing the carb intake?
Let me explain. If I want you to do a session to boost your fat metabolism, it is usually a run or a bike in the morning while you are in kind of a fasted state. Many of us age group triathletes have a family and a job and are not able or willing to do a 90 minute bike ride before they need to go to work. That’s totally fine, but we need to find other ways to work on this. One way is to restricting the carbs in the last 3-4 hours before the workout. That is the way I use in my training. With that method I do get quite good results. If I d a 90 minute or even 2 hours fasted ride on the weekend. I mean kind of overnight fasted, like eating dinner the night before around 6.30 pm and hop on the bike the morning around 6.30 to 7 am. I’m not really hungry. Most of the times I don’t even take a “emergency gel” or something like that with me.
When to use workout fueling?
Personally I fuel workouts if they have quite a bit of intensity. Those typical VO2max session I fuel by eating before. Those longer sessions like 3 to 4 times 20 to 40 minutes near the aerobic threshold I fuel by taking my race nutrition with me and have a sip every 15-20 minutes. The rest of all my workouts I just fuel with plain water.
But in every case I do use a recovery drink or shake after the workout.
How do you fuel your workouts? Are you a heavily carb reliant athlete?