That was a question I was asked recently when I was speaking in front of the Westshore Triathlon Club. Thank you to Kirk and Steph for providing the platform for me to share my thoughts and experiences. I focused my talk on 2 topics: 1) The importance of season planning and periodization. 2) Staying mentally tough on race day.
It was a very informal talk and I encouraged people to interject with questions or comments at any time. People were very interested in nutrition. And when I was asked what I eat in a day I explained that that is a huge question, with many variables. Some of the major things that I consider during each days’ food intake are:
1) How demanding my training was the previous day
2) Training demands of the day in terms of both volume and intensity
3) How hungry I am before and after each session
4) What the following day of training looks like
So, here is what a day looks like. It includes, workout types, time of day for each workout, workout durations and my food and liquid intake all day.
NOTE: It is important to remember that I am just resuming training and therefore the load and intensities are low.
5:45am – Woke up
5:45am – Cup of black tea, 3 caps Purica Immune 7, half a banana, 1 date
6:15-6:45am – Swim workout – 30:00 – low intensity
6:55am – 2 Large swigs of Reverse Osmosis water with sea salt in it, other half of banana.
7:00-7:45am – Run workout 40:00 Moving time, does not include drills – majority of work done @ moderate aerobic zone, stopped after 10min for 6-7min worth of drills and strides, included 5 short hill repeats @ strong effort in second half of workout.
7:50am – Drive home – Munched on some home made “post workout bread”. This bread often contains a mix of banana, GF flour, whey protein isolate, chopped dates, coconut milk, eggs, and I often spread raw/unpasteurized honey on it.
8:30am – Breakfast – 3 eggs scrambled and a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries added to it (also cooked with a bit of coconut oil, peanut butter and generous amount of cinnamon).
9:30-10:00am – sipped black coffee, ~500ml
11:30am – Large Apple, 2 pieces 80% Camino Dark Chocolate
1:00pm – Was treated to Lunch at Rebar and went with the Fish Tacos. Seafood meat is some of the most nutrient dense (=most healthy) stuff out there! Drank water with it.
3:30pm – Was peckish so I had ~1 cup frozen blueberries and 1 Tbls coconut milk.
4:30-5:15 – Bike Workout – 45:00 – Long Warm Up, Drills and Very Short Sprints, Long Cool Down
5:15-5:35 – Self Massage and stretching / mobility routine
6:00pm – Dinner – carrots, celery and rice crackers dipped in guacamole (homemade, with local garlic, olive oil, dash of MCT oil and salt). Bed of 1 head local kale steamed/drained/rinsed/squeezed dry and celery leaves, Topped with ~150g grass-fed ground beef, ~1.5 Tbls shredded coconut, and more olive oil (~1 Tbls), then some and salt on top. Big fork full of Karthein’s Sauerkraut on side. Drank Reverse Osmosis water with it.
7:30pm – Small banana, 2 pieces 80% Camino Dark Chocolate and 8-10 almonds (sprouted)
Additional water consumed over day ~1.5L probably.
Having a true sense of satiety is important I think. One can become more in tune with their body’s needs if you start to listen to your hunger signals. Not only will you feel better after a meal by feeling content, but you will also know when you don’t need to finish your meal or you need to go for a second helping. I have found that hunger isn’t always directly correlated to your most recent training session. Take the advice of some of the longest lived people in the world – “hara hachi bu” or “eat until your 80% full” is the mantra of the people of Okinawa, Japan.
In the past I have tested (quite extensively) various dietary approaches. I have eaten low carb, high fat, high protein, high carb…. but one thing that has always remained constant was that I focus on eating lots of vegetables. I have evolved my diet over the years and I don’t count calories or overthink it too much. And having tested the various dietary approaches I am convinced that a diet too low in carbohydrates is not a healthy choice for endurance athletes. This topic requires a blog post all of it’s own, but the key to remember is that different carbohydrates have different effects on the body – a snickers bar is not the same as a large sweet potato.
At dinner most of the time I cook way more than is enough for one meal, and then I will have some healthy delicious food ready for the next day or maybe even carry over to the following day. Having extra on hand helps ensure there is always vegetables and high quality, nutrient dense, protein available – this is especially helpful when you just need a small snack. And there is a difference between “need” some food and “want” some food – getting in tune with that difference is important too.
Alright, hope that is helpful to a few people out there. And remember each day is different depending on your training and body’s signals.