Introduction to sports nutrition for triathlon
Triathlon is considered a typical endurance sport and comprises three disciplines and competitions of short-, middle. and long-distance. In consequence, the performance and metabolic requirements will vary and require different nutrition strategies, particularly among long-distance athletes.
An optimal carbohydrate supply, in order to maximise performance, is of key importance during competitions. In contrast, individual training sessions deliberately exhaust carbohydrate reserves in order to target fat metabolism. Dietary requirements change depending on the situation. An appropriate diet is especially important to support the desired training effect as well as recovery.
Portable snacks such as bars, gels and sports drinks are ideal for recreational triathletes. L-CARNIPURE, RED BEET VINITROX or NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE are so-called PERFORMANCE OPTIMZERS specifically designed for professional triathletes. Low-carb sports drinks are also recommended as they support basic endurance training by boosting fat metabolism.
Ideal well-tolerated sports drinks for triathletes are the hypotonic COMPETITION® and LONG ENERGY drinks which are nonacidic and mild-tasting. Solid foods such as the HIGH ENERGY BAR are recommended for exercise lasting longer than 3-4 hours. For shorter high-intensity runs, LIQUID ENERGY gels are an ideal source of energy, as they don’t disrupt breathing nor do they require chewing. Triathletes that experience excessive sweating especially during hot weather or have a tendency to develop cramps can benefit from SALT CAPS or MUSCLE RELAX shots. During the starting and acceleration phases of triathlons in which athletes dramatically increase their intensity, a shift to anaerobic metabolism typically occurs which can result in lactic acid build-up. An increased lactic acid tolerance is thus one of the key factors to success. Products such as LACTAT BUFFER and BETA ALANINE may maximize performance during competitions. Soda loading with LACTAT BUFFER is advantageous for longer runs in hot weather as the high sodium content prevents dehydration. SPONSER® also offers highly specialized products, so-called PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZERS. The NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2 or RED BEET VINITROX contain nutrients that support nitric oxide (NO) metabolism by dilating blood vessels. As a result, microcirculation is enhanced which positively influences performance but also recovery.
Apart from physical performance, cognitive and mental factors such as quick reflexes and concentration also contribute to a successful triathlon. ACTIVATOR is a caffeine-based product that targets these factors. Caffeine has been shown to enhance cognitive and mental performance and is taken about 30-60 minutes before the desired time of effect. As sensitivity to caffeine varies from person to person, ACTIVATOR should be tested in different doses at first. SPONSER® also offers MENTAL FOCUS, a caffeine-free alternative specifically designed for cognitive and mental performance.
To promote recovery, SPONSER® recommends shakes with protein and carbohydrates such as RECOVERY DRINK or PRO RECOVERY. They are based on milk or water and are available in single portion sachets or bigger tubs depending on the preference and use. Athletes that travel often, go to training camps, bigger events or competitions are at higher risk of getting an infection. It is thus particularly important to strengthen the immune system and to take precautions against infections. Multinutrient supplements with immunoactive substances such as IMMUNOGUARD along with a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet will strengthen your immune system.