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Triathlons are arguably one of the most physically demanding sports to compete in and these incredibly fit athletes know the importance of correctly prepping, fuelling and recovery.
We managed to speak with Great British Triathlete/Ironman competitor Alex Rhodes. Alex competes in various adventure sports and has run several Ironman competitions, marathons and has a globally packed schedule over the next few years with multiple Triathlons, Ironman competitions and Duathlons to compete in.
With such a high level of fitness needed, Alex understand the importance of correct nutrition and this is the advice he had for any budding Triathletes:
Q: As a triathlete because you are training 5-6 days a week do you have to manage your weight or can you just eat what you want since you will just burn it up the next day?
A: Weight and body fat are very important as a triathlete, even more so as a cyclist. Power to weight ratio plays a huge role in your running and cycling speed. If you can maintain the power or even increase your power while gradually losing weight its like taking a few bags of sugar out of your back pocket.
Q: So how does nutrition play a role in endurance sports such as Triathlon?
A: I think there is a big misconception with endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists and triathletes that it’s all about stuffing your face with pasta and high-carb food. While carbohydrates play a very important role in endurance sports there is a time and a place for them if you want to keep lean.
If you fuel correctly with carbohydrates whilst you’re training (which is where it is important) your quality of training and recovery will be much quicker and the need to replace those carbs after the session is not as high. Typically a recovery shake will replace the remaining carbs. That means you can eat less carbs throughout your daily meals and more focus on quality proteins and nutrients.
The emphasis is getting all the vital nutrients and protein in to aid recovery, muscle repair and your immune system.
Q: So what would your typical meals look like?
A: On training days, breakfast I would have porridge with honey and chia seeds just to top up the carbs and refill glycogen stores lost over night. Then probably a couple of apples, couple of oranges and a natural yogurt.
My lunch meal and evening meal will remain pretty similar. I try to fill my plate with a good protein portion. GSN steam cooked chicken fillets or Salmon are perfect for this so I know I’m getting good quality protein, then the rest of the plate with as much colour as possible and by that I mean greens, veg, beans and salad.
On strength days I will change the chicken to possibly some Gold Standard Nutriton ostrich or steak to get that extra bit of protein and iron. In between meals I may make some snacks such as some chicken/fish wraps filled with salad.
The main advantage of using Gold Standard Nutrition foods is that it is all based around convenience and the chicken is pre-cooked. I have much more time for training and other aspects of my life.
Q: How do you fuel before a race?
I would typically eat the same leading up to the race but introduce some more carbs in there just to make sure those glycogen stores are right up. GSN Sweet potato mash is great for this but also anything else I can get my hands on for those few days. The day before will be a big lunch to give it all time to digest but I always have a light evening meal so that it’s not sat in my stomach over night.
Q: How does Gold Standard Nutrition help you achieve your Goals?
As an amateur triathlete, life is very busy bouncing from one place to the next and utilizing the time you have when not spent at work or other commitments. Working with GSN and the support from the team, my food preparation has become a whole lot easier and I know I can get the quality nutrition that I need at times where I don’t have hours to cook or I need something to prepare for on the go.
Steam cooked chicken fillets are perfect for that and has made a huge difference in how I have been able to eat throughout this early part of the season and the results are really starting to show!
To keep up with Alex and his incredible journey make sure you follow him on Instagram: www.instagram.com/the_adventure_athlete