Intense Sport Activity and Nutrition

The Carbohydrate requirement and Protein requirements of a triathlete varies depending on the type of activity planned intensity and duration. Unlike a short run or walkathon, just electrolytes and water or biscuits and banana won’t do.

Performance is based on how the body is fueled. Race day food should be familiar and tolerated well by the individual. Carbs in solid and liquid form would be needed along with electrolytes. In the buildup to the triathlon, adequate protein in the diet fuels the muscle.  The whole day, proper nutrition is a must.

As the participants go from one race to another without long breaks, nutrition must be handy. This is where Nutrition bars and drinks come in handy. They are the meals of the day. Bars, being solid, keep you going for longer releases energy over a period of time. Protein in the bars holds the key to success for training, racing ,and recovering.

During endurance training—especially those efforts incurring large energy deficits common in IRONMAN training—certain amino acids, are extracted from muscle tissue as a means to provide energy for muscle contraction and prevent low blood sugars, aka "bonking." Some research has shown upwards of 15 percent of the total energy output during an endurance bout need to be from protein. The repetitive nature of endurance training leads to the breakdown of muscle fibers, a process known as catabolism.

 If adequate energy from protein is not provided, the free pool of amino acids becomes dehydrated hurting performance (due to elevated levels of fatigue-causing ammonia) and slowing recovery (due to muscle tissue [ Ironman Triathlon News].The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for endurance athletes.

In general, the longer and harder you train, the more protein you should consume:

On rest days, target 0.8-1.0 grams/kg/day

If you train <1 hour, target 1.0-1.2 grams/kg/day

If you train 1-2 hours, target 1.2-1.4 grams/kg/day

If you train 2-4 hours, target 1.4-1.7 grams/kg/day

If you train 4+ hours, target 1.7-2.0 grams/kg/day

<p>Deepa Kamath</p>
<p>Chief Dietician</p>
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