How to improve nutrition for triathletes with 5 simple tips

nutrition for triathletes
Circle with lots of food items

Are you worried about preparing a plan for getting nutrition for triathletes? Follow us for the useful guidelines.

There are some principles of healthy eating, such as having small meals during the day or drinking plenty of fluids. These factors are still the same whatever type of sports you are playing. The only difference is that calories tend to be ingested differently depending on the intensity of your exercise.

What do people think about getting nutrition for triathletes? In fact, they possibly imagine of the kitchen counters filled with high-protein foods and measuring cups. Indeed, these items are easy to find. However, improving your triathlon nutrition is more than that.

If your goal is a regular 5-day gym or a professional triathlete, the following guidelines will help you achieve the best results.

The meal plan

Planning meals for triathletes 

When you want to take full advantage of your daily meals, making plans for each of them is significant.

Therefore, the nutritionists advise you to follow these rules when you are on training days. To fulfill such goal, you can apply them in advance to well prepare for your match day.

On the training days

You should eat enough with four food groups at least 2 hours before practice. Try to eat foods which are easy to digest and avoid those having more fat and protein at noon. Then, after the workout, you should drink enough water, sugar and mineral supplement, especially the ones made for triathletes.

As you may know, dinner is an important meal for you to offset the lost energy, and to be ready for the next day. Particularly, it is essential for you to eat enough carbohydrates such as bread, rice, and fruit in the stressful workout sessions. You can also use fast sugar like pastries, candies, chocolate, jam and fruit juices.

Prepare during seven days before the competition

For athletes who need intense physical activities which include football, baseball, marathon, and so on:

  • Two first days: Have a standard diet and exercise 3 hours per day.
  • Two days later: Eat more fat and protein (50% fat, 50% protein) and practice 0.5-1 hours per day.
  • Three days before the competition: Eat more sugar powder (rice, noodles, noodles, rice noodle) with the volume of approximately 75% of your meal. The amount of protein in one dish should be about 17%. Then have a rest.
  • Competition day: Eat three hours before the early morning game. If you play at 3 pm, you need to eat a full meal at 10, or 11 am in the morning. In case the competition starts in the evening, you can get snacks with cakes and fruit in the afternoon.

Below is an example of a seven-day plan which offers enough nutrition for triathletes. However, you can customize the number of triathlete eating. The portions might change from one to one, but it is calculated for a triathlete who is about 130-170 pounds.

Day 1


– 1 cup of quinoa breakfast cereal

– Half cup of Greek yogurt

– Two spoons of pomegranate seeds


– One chicken burger

– 1 cup of sautéing chard

– 2/3 cup brown rice


– Hot beef tacos

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Breakfast is the most important meal

Breakfast is the important meal of a day

This rule is not only for the triathletes but also for all of us. In fact, the proper meal brings full energy for a working day.  It can also help you avoid the unexpected symptoms due to the lack of blood circulation.

Indeed, breakfast is the first main meal of the day, which you must not get overlooked. After sleeping, your body has spent most of the energy loaded the day before. Therefore, the combination of complex carbs and protein, fiber will be perfect for recharging your body.

Before exercising in the morning, you will want to eat a little nutrition for triathletes to keep the body energized. But still, do not make the stomach uncomfortable during the training time. It is best to eat 30 minutes before exercising to avoid gastrointestinal disturbances.

In these meals, you should focus on the carb and nutrition for triathletes. Because the energy that helps you get through the workout without being exhausted. Especially, a fruit smoothie, a banana or peanut butter is probably the ideal choices before exercising. The healthy fats contained in these rations will help keep your stomach full. And it also limits the feeling of hunger while you are exercising.

Balance your diet

Balance your diet properly

According to recent research, nutritional rates in a healthy meal for triathletes are 55% of energy from starch, 25% protein and 20% fat. However, you do not need to count and apply it accurately. In each meal, you only need half a plate of carbs, one-quarter of protein to improve the nutrition for triathletes. The rest of the food may contain healthy fats along with fiber from green vegetables.

Especially after exercise, the muscle groups need to receive protein immediately. Because the ability to absorb and nourish of muscles achieve the high level at that time. Within 30 minutes at the end of your session, you should drink a glass of protein milk.

Also, eating a high protein diet such as grilled chicken breast with vegetables helps restore muscle. In fact, the right amount of starch will compensate for the energy you have consumed. However, it will not be the “main character” in these meals.

Focus on the primary and helpful ingredients

An example of plant-based protein


Protein is probably a great origin of energy. Furthermore, it is even more essential to ingest than other supplements after a hard workout. We usually use protein to repair muscle tissue as well as to construct new tissue. Besides, it can help to grow your muscles and lean out during your triathlon training.

We often assume that the kind of meat like chicken breast is a chief source of protein. However, the nutritionists suggest that plant-based protein such as soy or whey is as good as meat.


The carbohydrates are the excellent fuel for triathletes as they digest fast and knock the blood streams like sugar. So, the traditional nutritionists always advise us to supplement them in our meals.

Have you ever heard about the concept “carb loading”? You should pay attention to the fact that triathlon planners usually hold a pasta dinner the night before the competition. As a matter of fact, carbs are surely a big part of triathlon training meals. However, you should notice that too many carbs can make your stomach overloaded.

So, what should we do? Certainly, supplementing more carbs into your before-workout meals. And let’s do it carefully. If you feel like you are already full enough, you can take in sugars under the shape of sweetened drink or gel packet.


For triathletes who are trying out long distance, refilling sodium is not frequently considered. Particularly, when discussing the improvement of nutrition for triathletes, people often get overlooked. Nevertheless, the sodium is essential in boosting performance.

The keys to losing sodium during a training day or a race change from one to one. In short words, sufficient sodium can be a substitute for the triathlete’s regular diet.

For the triathletes who are training in hot weather, they might want to consume extra salt in the dinner or add a bit of salt to their sports drinks. For this reason, you should keep testing and recording the results. Because the amount of sodium loss alters so widely between triathletes of various body types.

Drink a lot more water

Drink more water during training

Keeping enough water in the body is essential because the dehydration can directly affect your training. For triathletes, an average of 1kg of body weight will require 60ml of extra water per day. So, a person weighing 50kg should drink 3 liters of water during his training day. Even the days of no exercise, do not forget to drink often. Because drinking today will increase the strength of your body tomorrow.

In addition to water, electrolytes, salt in the body is also crucial to support the water retention. It also helps you to regulate your body temperature. Drinking enough water not only provides for you during training and competition but also keeps it throughout your body. Therefore, sports drinks are the great source of electrolytes that was lost after sweating. They also provide energy to the muscles during the movement session.

In fact, water absorption is indeed necessary for training. Water regulates and purifies excess substances for the triathletes’ body as well. In addition to eating properly, drinking enough water is a principle that you cannot ignore. Besides, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Because they provide water, vitamins, and healthy antioxidants to your body.

Final word

In conclusion, getting nutrition for triathletes is a simple, yet complicated concept. But don’t worry. You just need to follow our five above rules. I hope you will get the most of the useful ideas from this article. Good luck in your triathlon competition!

I’m Vicky, and I’m absolutely in love with triathlon blogs. I’m a sporty person at heart but being the mother of two small boys, it’s not always easy to keep up with training activities… so I rely on the support of other bloggers like me to help along the way.


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