Fuelling the festive season – don't count calories, count watts or km’s
“How can we stay on top of our nutrition during the silly season?” is a question I get asked every year. And, it’s a fair enough question, particularly for us triathletes when the silly season can often be secret for “hell week” or “training camp”.
While many of you may be planning on ramping up the training over the Christmas break, many will be taking a much-needed break. Either way, the key to fuelling well over this time is to keep it simple and fuel for the work you’re doing. Increased training means more food to fuel the work you’re doing. Less training naturally means less fuelling for some, as you don’t have as many sessions you need to fuel for. If you’re having more rest days or dropping some sessions, it doesn't mean you need to restrict your food.
Here's some of my food tips I share with my athletes each silly season.
Tips for increasing your training:
- Eat before and after sessions – with carbohydrates, proteins and fluids (such as toast with spread or sandwiches, banana, yoghurt and muesli, oats, smoothie or a rice/pasta based meal. For recovery – go for eggs and toast/ beans, a meal with meat or beans, tofu or eggs, milk drink, yoghurt and nuts)
- Fuel during sessions over 2 hours with regular carbohydrates (such as bananas, gels, bars, sandwiches) and fluids (water, electrolyte drinks and sports drinks). Hydrate in shorter sessions
- Sip on water and electrolyte drinks across the day when it’s hot to recover well
- Hydrate and eat before drinking alcohol (as alcohol can impair recovery, so make sure you do your best beforehand)
- If you’re trying to manage body composition goals, eat more around your training and in the morning, and less when you’re not as active
Tips for taking a break:
- Enjoy a range of foods. As simple as it is, balance is key
- Fill at least a third or half your plate at mealtimes with veggies and salads
- Fuel before and after your training sessions (like above)
- Again, if wanting to manage body composition, at more around your training and in the morning, and less when you’re not as active
- Protein is key! Start your day with at least 20-30g protein (that’s foods like: 2-3 eggs on toast; a smoothie with milk and protein powder; protein yoghurt single serve tub with a handful of nuts, fruit and muesli). This will keep you fuller for longer and reduce cravings later in the day
- Stay hydrated!
Whatever you’re planning on doing over the festive break, focus on habit building to look after yourself, improve your performance and get ready for 2022. Don’t count calories, count watts or km’s instead.
With our work at SportsDietitian.com, we focus on micro-education and habit building. We know that if you can effectively build towards your goals with learning key strategies and building habits that suit you and your lifestyle, you will be more likely to achieve and improve your performance while staying healthy – for sport and life.
If you’re interested in support over the season, you can sign up to our free 12-week sports nutrition programs. Through our app, we deliver 12-week self-guided triathlon and goal specific programs to support your training, health, and performance. Perfect timing for Mooloolaba Triathlon, finishing off the QTS races or preparing for Tweed Enduro. Find out more and sign up at www.sportsdietitian.com/register-your-interest
Happy training and eating,
(Accredited Sports Dietitian) firstname.lastname@example.org