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How Do I Train For My First Triathlon?

  • By Matt Fitzgerald
  • Published May 8, 2013
  • Updated Mar 25, 2014 at 3:44 PM UTC
Photo: John Segesta


What should I eat and drink?

Your everyday diet should be the same as any other health-conscious person’s diet: high in slow-burning, low-glycemic carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains), fresh fruits and vegetables, and water, and low in processed foods, refined carbohydrates (e.g. cookies), and saturated fats. Your proteins should come from quality sources such as fish. Eat enough calories to maintain a consistent bodyweight once you’ve shed any excess fat through your training. You may find that you need to eat more to maintain your weight than you did when you were less active.

Carbohydrate is the primary fuel source for cardiovascular exercise. Eating plenty of low-glycemic carbohydrates is the best way to keep your muscles stocked with glycogen, which your body relies on during long workouts. During workouts, drink a quality sports drink containing water, 6 to 8 percent carbohydrate, electrolytes, and possibly some protein. After your workout, immediately ingest a recovery sports drink with the same ingredients. Getting the proper amounts of carbohydrate and protein into your body within the first 30 minutes of completing exercise will dramatically increase your performance the following day.

RELATED: How To Fuel For Your First Race

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