Essential Sports Nutrition


Want to know what the pros eat?

Coffee....lots and lots of coffee. Only kidding.....

Well, not really.

In addition to coffee, professional athletes put a lot of focus on nutrition as they train to perform because it's their job. Unlike the age grouper who participates in triathlon as a hobby, the athlete who gets paid (when ranking high at a race or from sponsors) is likely going to explore any and all opportunities to maximize fitness in training to ensure race day excellence. And this means putting a focus on nutrition.

Although professional athletes are not immune to body image struggles, I do find that age group athletes expend an extreme amount of energy on the "look" of the body versus how the body performs during workouts. In other words, whereas a professional athlete will eat for fuel, an age grouper will train to lose weight - often restricting calories/carbs in an effort to maximize the fat-burning process.

Whereas the professional athlete will often utilize a sport dietitian to help personalize nutrition to maximize performance (or spend a lot of time on trial and error to figure out the best fueling practices to keep the body performing and functioning well), it's not uncommon for age groupers to train for a race with little attention or focus on nutrition but instead, trying to achieve a certain body image - the "look" of a fit athlete. Again, this isn't limited to only age groupers but the professional athlete who recognizes that an underfueled or undernourished body can't adapt well to training is going to make every effort to meet personal fluid, fuel and nutrient needs to feel strong, healthy and fit during training. Having said this - I know this isn't true for all professionals and only hope that those who are struggling with their relationship with food and the body (or lack a good understanding of how to eat/fuel/hydrate to adapt well to training stress) reach out to a Board Certified Sport Dietitian for help.

I was recently asked by Ironman to give my feedback on "what the pros eat." For the most part, I wasn't surprised by their answers as the ones featured in the article are top-notch athletes who appear to have put a lot of energy into nutrition before and after workouts. While I can't speak on behalf of all pros and this was just a snap shot of what the pros eat, I was pleasantly surprised to read the typical fuel choices of the pros.

To check out the article, click HERE.