In the previous article we explored what foods an athlete may eat in a typical training day and will now look a little more closely at what meals are made up of. Once you have a rough idea of how many carbs, proteins and fats are in everyday foods it becomes easier to build a healthy diet which suits you as an individual and not just for the ‘average’ person.
The meal plan below works out at approximately 1700 kcals. If an athlete weighed 50kg and was on a moderate intensity activity day this would be enough calories to train and maintain a healthy weight. On a light activity day this athlete would need to adjust their food intake down.
The day’s meals total 176g carbs/122g protein/50g fat.
The composition is approx 43% carbs, 30% proteins, 27% fats.
And remember for any activity where you need to be fuelling during exercise you would need to add this to the overall intake numbers.
Poached Eggs on Toast
2 eggs & 2 wholemeal seeded bread
Poached eggs on toast is a great way to start the day and you can reduce or increase the portion size according to your level of activity during the day.
Skyr Black Cherry Yogurt
This light, but satiating snack will keep you going until lunchtime and if timed well could be used as pre or post exercise fuel.
Wholemeal Pitta x2 with Cottage Cheese & salad
Piece of fruit
This healthy lunch could be easily adjusted depending on the athlete’s activity levels. 1 pitta bread would be sufficient on a rest day and maybe add in more fruit or salad.
Wholemeal toast & peanut butter
This will take away any mid afternoon sugar cravings and may serve you well as a pre early evening exercise snack.
Chicken Curry & Brown Basmati Rice
A homemade curry and rice allows you to reduce or increase the energy intake depending on your activity levels. You can add a variety of colourful vegetables to ensure a good mix of micro-nutrients.
How to work out your specific requirements?
How you go about working out what you should be eating depends on you. By keeping a food diary for a couple of weeks you will be able to see what you are eating. You could use an app such as MyFitnessPal to help you.
I’m not suggesting you have to count calories or macros forever, but if you do it for a couple of weeks or so you’ll soon get a good idea of what you are eating and then choosing what to eat and when to eat will become more natural to you.
You invest a lot of time into your training sessions and so it only makes sense to make a bit of time to research what foods you are actually eating and look at which foods you should be eating to help optimise your performance and for daily life.
You wouldn’t get into your car and drive it without fuel or without the correct fuel and the same is true for your body. Your sessions need to be well fuelled so you can start them fully energised, perform them at your best and minimise your the risk of injury. Also choosing the right foods and when to eat them will minimise muscle breakdown and aid training adaptation, making you stronger and ready to go again for the next session.
Be smart and eat well!
About the Author
Tina Peck holds a VTCT Level 3 Award in Nutrition for Physical Activity, plus Nutrition & Weight Management (Accredited by AFN)
Tina is an Ironman Certified Triathlon Coach, Training Peaks Certified Coach and British Triathlon Federation Diploma Qualified Coach
Photo by Egidijus Bielskis on Unsplash
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