Most triathletes and runners are very determined people, and sometimes that determination brings with it an ‘all or nothing’ attitude.
“If I can’t devote 100% of my energy to something, then I’m not going to devote any. I don’t do anything with half an effort.”
Does this sound like anyone you know?
While this can be very rewarding when training for a race, it should not be the way you approach nutrition. You don’t have to go from one side of the spectrum to the other in 2 days. If you are just starting to get more serious about your nutrition and health, you don’t have to be extreme to start. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started having more balance in your food in a realistic and sustainable way.
1. Add two different colored vegetables to each meal.
Eating the different colors of the rainbow will ensure you are getting all of the nutrients you need. Vegetables have a high nutrient density so you should be eating more of them than less.
2. Increase your daily water intake.
Whatever you are doing right now (if you don’t know you should start tracking), add 8 more ounces to your daily amount and see how that feels. Continue to gradually increase until you are drinking 20 more ounces a day. We are mostly water, so it’s necessary for optimal function and race performance to be in a hydrated state.
3. Eat a food rich in healthy fats each day.
Making sure you get enough healthy fats into your diet is essential as an athlete. Amongst other things, these fats control the inflammatory process in your body, including knowing when to shut inflammation off. This means your body recover faster from workouts, allowing you to have higher quality training. Include foods like avocados, grass fed butter, olive oil, and salmon.
I hope you noticed that these tips didn’t say “don’t eat this”, “this food is bad”, or “avoid that at all costs”. Making certain small changes like this does make a big difference in your health, but you need be consistent with these habits.
Nutrition habits are just like the physical training you do as an athlete, you need to do it regularly enough for your body to adapt. When it does, everything feels much easier and you are faster, stronger, and healthier because of it.
Feel good, do what you love,