You are a smart triathlete: You wake up at 5 a.m., routinely decline a second round of drinks, watch what you eat and are aware of the latest trends in sports nutrition and bike technology. But even the most well-meaning, self-sacrificing, smart triathletes can make nutrition mistakes that prevent them from reaching their body composition and performance goals. Avoid the following nutrition traps and your 2012 season will be better than you imagined.
Mistake #1: Not knowing your sweat rate. You know you should be conducting periodic “sweat tests” in training, right? Studies consistently show that even small (less than 2 percent) decreases in body weight due to fluid loss adversely affect performance. Don’t let dehydration slow you down!
At least 2–3 times per training climate change (winter, spring, summer, fall), weigh yourself nude before and after a one-hour training session. Drink as usual and note intake. Multiply fluid weight loss by 16 (ounces/pound), and aim to drink that total number of fluid ounces/hour during future training sessions.
Sweat rate example: If you weigh 160 pounds pre-workout and 158.5 pounds post-workout, you lost 1.5 pounds from sweat. Multiply 1.5 by 16 to get 24 ounces lost. Add, say, 10 ounces for fluid intake during your training session and you get 34 ounces/hour sweat rate.