3 Nutrition Must-Haves for Triathletes

Photo of a bike made out of vegitables
May 27, 2017

Mike Ricci



What are my protein needs as an endurance athlete?

Protein needs for athletes are 1.7-1.9 grams of first-class protein per kg bodyweight per day.

This will help build lean body mass as well as recovery in terms of muscle building and repair.  Protein is a key functional nutrient to helping your overall health and many athletes are deficient in their true needs.  The RDA in the U.S. is 56 and 46 grams for Men and Women.  This is for the average person’s diet, and even still may not be enough as each person’s protein needs are different.

How many grams of carbohydrate should I be consuming per hour when training hard or racing?
Carbohydrate needs for athletes during races and high intensity exercise for more than 60 mins should target 60 grams per hour.  

This will help fuel your body for your needs during that exercise.  There have been studies showing athletes being able to oxidize carbohydrates at higher levels, however, as a rule of thumb 60 grams per hour should be the starting point and assessing performance and tolerance as you increase your intake.  This will help understand how your body digests and tolerates different levels of carbohydrates during exercise.

How do I know how much fluid I need to stay hydrated?
Understanding your sweat rate in different environmental conditions helps you understand what your fluid needs are during exercise.  

Athletes can perform a sweat test while on the bike and/or run to help determine how much fluid they lose during exercise in those conditions.  Follow the instructions below as it will help determine what your potential fluid loss needs are once you begin going over 60 minutes or more of exercise. *CALCULATE YOUR SWEAT RATE: To begin, record your nude body weight prior to exercising.  When you are finished exercising, dry yourself off the best you can and record your nude body weight again.  Record what and how much you consumed of fluids during your exercise.  Subtract your pre-exercise weight from your post-exercise weight and add the amount of fluid you consumed to that number.   This will give you the amount of fluid you lost while exercising.  Then you need to divide that number by the amount of hours you exercised for and that will equal your sweat rate.  Be sure to record the weather conditions as well, as to see how this may fluctuate. 

1. ________ Record your nude body weight prior to exercise.
2. ________ Record your nude body weight (dry off best you can before recording weight) after exercise (convert weights to ounces; 1 lb = 16 oz).
3. ________ Record how much fluid you consumed during exercise (use ounces).
4. ________ Subtract lines1 & 2 from above for total weight loss and add line 3.  This is the amount of fluid your body lost while exercising.
5. ________ Take the number from line 4 and divide it by how many hours you exercised for.  This will give you and idea of what your sweat rate is.

Nick Suffedin is passionate about emerging science in sports nutrition as it relates to physiological and performance responses. Areas of research Nick has been involved in include muscle recovery, athletic performance, carbohydrate metabolism, rehydration and dehydration, stress testing, body composition, gastric emptying, sensory perception, along with aerobic and anaerobic performance testing.  He is available to D3 athletes for race day fueling strategies.

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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