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What Fuels An Ironman Champ?

  • By Pip Taylor
  • Published Mar 6, 2012
  • Updated 14 hours ago
Photo: Kurt Hoy


Pro Leanda Cave dishes on her nutrition habits with Pip Taylor.

Nutrition is often described as the fourth discipline of Ironman racing. Is getting nutrition right as much of a challenge as getting your training right? I consider nutrition like putting gas in the car. The higher quality of gas, the better the car will run. Eating the right foods at the right time enhances performance in and out of racing as well as recovery.

People often assume that while training for Ironman you must get to eat whatever you want. Is this the case? I have found that Ironman training does make the body more efficient at metabolizing foods. But unfortunately, I can’t eat whatever I like—too many calories here or there end up on my backside sooner or later. But I stick to general rules: low fat, high protein, lots of fresh produce and small portions.

What’s your go-to quick, easy dinner? A potato salad and some boiled eggs. Or, a rice noodle soup bowl (from Trader Joe’s) with added tofu, broccoli, coconut milk, curry powder, honey and ginger. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare but has a lot in it nutritionally.

Favorite indulgences or guilty pleasure? Chocolate and potato chips, which I never keep in the house. So if I want them, I have to make an effort to get them, which makes them much more enjoyable. I would have also said pizza, but I make my own and it’s pretty healthy!

PHOTOS: Leanda Cave trains on IM 70.3 Panamá bike course

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