404 Triathlon Training: Diet and Nutrition Tips for the Warrior Athlete! | Dr. Adam Fogelman

Triathlon Training: Diet and Nutrition Tips for the Warrior Athlete!

18 Nov 2010

Triathalon's Are Demanding on the Body... Is Yours Prepared?

Imagine you have an identical twin that is training for a triathlon with you. Everything about your training is the same but the difference between the two of you is that your dietary and nutritional habits are reckless and not based on sound health principles.

The benefits to eating a good and healthy diet when training for a triathlon are as follows…

  • You will perform better in workouts
  • Recover faster from workouts
  • Gain fitness faster
  • Develop a leaner body composition
  • Be able to handle a heavier training load
  • Get sick less often
  • Suffer fewer injuries
  • Kick butt in your race!

When it comes to daily eating habits, people should be eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. Every 2 to 3 hours, your meals should consist of anything from a handful of almonds and a power/protein bar, to a palm-sized portion of a grain, a vegetable and a protein.  The benefits of eating this way…

  1. Will keep energy levels up and stable
  2. Will reduce cravings
  3. Will reduce the need to over-eat
  4. In turn, this will keep you leaner and your calories down

Everyone has heard about insulin. It has been linked to diabetes and people don’t know whether or not it is good or bad for you. What is Insulin?

  • A hormone made by the pancreas
  • Helps to bring sugar to the muscles for them to perform
  • Helps to keep blood sugar in check
  • Made as a result to the of carbohydrates and sugar being consumed

Too much carbohydrate and sugar consumption leads to an increase in the production of insulin. The body never knows how much insulin to make as a result, so it overproduces it to make sure there is enough. The amount of insulin made,  will combat the sugars coming into your body, which will give you that energy spike. The left over amount of insulin not used, will make you crash shortly after.

A Healthy Diet Can Help Propel You to Success as a Triathlete

Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates:


  • Digested quickly and enter the blood stream fast
  • Increase blood glucose and insulin levels fast
  • Consist of refined sugars and very few vitamins and minerals


  • Certain fruits (Mangos, bananas, pineapple, pears, peaches, etc.) Apples and berries are lower on the glycemic index and better to consume.
  • Fruit juices and sodas
  • Refined/processed sugars (such as cakes/cookies/sweets)
  • Alcohol (It turns into sugar)


  • Takes  longer to digest and enter the blood stream
  • Gives you sustained energy
  • Usually packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals
  • Better to consume


  • Vegetables
  • Breads, cereals and pasta (the grain variety  is much healthier and easier to absorb, especially since many have sensitivities/allergies to wheat and gluten)
  • Rice (Brown and wild)
  • Legumes (beans)

The best protein to consume is lean and natural/organic. If talking about red meat, it should be lean as well as grass-fed. The benefits are…

  • Helps to build and repair muscle tissue
  • Used as a minor fuel source
  • Should be about 15% of your daily calories
  • .55 grams per pound of body weight
  • Try to stay away from red meat (unless lean and grass-fed)
  • Try to eat grass fed, organic , natural and wild whenever possible


  • Lean meats (chicken, fish and turkey)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Some beans and vegetables have protein in them as well
  • Buffalo
  • Venison
  • Lamb

You should eat a balance and variety of foods throughout the day. Contrary to popular belief and opinion, one doesn’t need to consume massive quantities of protein to live a healthy life. We want to keep our bodies as less acidic as possible. This helps to keep our body’s environment from diseases invading it.

Food Category: Recommended Servings Per Day:
Vegetables 4-5
Fruits 3-5
Whole Grains 6-8
Legumes, beans, nuts, seeds 4-5
Lean meats/eggs 1-2
Fish 3-6 per week

Fish is a very good source of protein. It is lean and healthier for you in many aspects. You want to stay away from consuming fish that are high in mercury. Mercury is the most toxic, non-radiated element on the planet and can help cause many neurological and degenerative diseases.

Example of fish with high levels of mercury:

  • Bottom dwellers (shrimp, lobster, crabs)
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna

Examples of fish with moderate levels of mercury:

  • Sea Bass
  • Halibut

Examples of fish with low levels of mercury:

  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Tilapia
  • Sardines

Hydration tips:

  • Drink half you body weight in ounces (1 liter = 32 ounces = 4 cups/8 ounces each)
    Example: 120 lb. person = 60 ounces of water/day = 7 cups/day
  • For every 1% of body weight lost from fluid loss (you will lose 2% speed in the workout)
  • Should be consuming 17-20 ounces/water during workouts (keeps core temperature down)
  • When doing triathlons, it is important to keep not only hydrated, but cool (head and chest)
    Example: Ice and splashing water

Nutrition tips:

Supplement with…

  • Multi mineral
  • Calcium and Magnesium (mainly a 2:1 ratio. 2 calcium to 1 magnesium)
    (This helps to replenish minerals to the body and muscles)
  • Fish oils (reduces cramping and increases blood flow)
  • Multi vitamins or functional powder (for faster recovery)
  • Protein powder

Preparing for a race:

  • You want to start with your dietary and nutritional changes a week ahead of race date.
  • Eat early and often (the earlier you eat, the more calories your body will burn as fuel)
  • Eat smaller meals and more frequently to increase energy and this will result in less fat storage.


  • Nutrition is the foundation of the post-exercise recovery
  • It replenishes the raw materials burned off during exercise
  • Timing is essential! Your body is primed to sponge-up needed nutrients within the 1st hour or 2!
  • The most important nutrients to take in after a race…
    • Water and electrolytes for hydration
    • Carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores
    • Protein to repair and build muscle tissue

Thank you for taking the time to read through what I feel is important when working out at home or in the gym, or training for a specific sport. As a relatively new triathlete myself, I have studied, listened, learned and grown in the triathlon atmosphere and I am utilizing these tips and tools myself.

Whether you are a pro athlete, weekend warrior, just getting started into a sport or wanting to just remain healthy, these dietary and nutritional tips can help you along the way and help to increase your overall performance and health.

If you have any further questions or would like to make an appointment for consultation, please feel free to email me at doc@drfogelman.com or call me at 858-523-8281.


Dr. Adam Fogelman

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