Triathlon Diet

Triathlon Diet: By Brandt Quick

Triathlon season is upon us. The fresh smell of a lake early in the morning, athletes getting body marked and going through each of their pre-race rituals, setting up their transition areas, preparing their areas with gear and fuel, making sure bike tires are pumped to the specific psi, warm ups, scoping out the courses, perusing at the expos, and congregating after races. Some, but not all of the things we love and adore in the triathlon world.

As all of these things gear us up and get us in the mood to compete and have tons of fun, don't lose sight of simple things that can separate you from others in your field: pre, during and post-race nutrition as well as your speedy transition times.

Triathlon nutrition and hydration are and will forever be the most important components in one's life. From daily nutrition, to nutrition around race time, our theme should always remain consistent: eat right, eat often, and stay disciplined and consistent in your approach at all times.

Preparation is paramount in any triathlon diet nutritional regime. Eating lean and clean at every meal and every snack is very important, and making sure those lean and clean calories are well balanced with all the macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and of course the proper water intake to transport those nutrients. The same goes for pre and post-race, with a slightly different approach during the race.

Pre-Race Nutrition

I'm a huge proponent of whole food bars that have an almond, peanut or cashew butter base for pre-race fuel (in addition to your normal pre-race breakfast and also depending on the length of your race as to how much you take in). These bars can become a convenient staple of your triathlon diet because they can also be eaten in triathlons with long bike portions in them as well.

Others prefer drink mix powders, gels, chews, or beans. These options are good for quick fuel and energy, especially in short triathlons or in certain portions of the bike and run in long races. I personally, have become a fan of drinking coconut water while on my bike in races.

In any case, you should try various fuel sources in training and find the one that's right for you so that there's no trial and error phase before and during a race!

Post-Race Nutrition

A post-race triathlon diet is critical to how your body recovers and adapts to the race (or training) you just completed. When a training session or race is complete, we have a crucial and pivotal 30 minute window to replenish what we've lost, and the nutrients we need to build and adapt to the physical exertion we just put our bodies through. The research is staggering, and after 30 minutes is up your body will go into a catabolic state, eating away at its own tissues for fuel.

Try to take in some nutrients as soon as you’re done training or competing to optimize your recovery and the rebuilding of your body (and mind).

Triathlon Diet Conclusion

All of these nutritional components and their individual timing are extremely important to ensure several things:

  • preventing injuries and dehydration
  • recovery
  • fueling right to optimize your performance
  • being precise with nutrient timing to not hit "the wall" and also never to allow your body to reach a catabolic state
  • Be mentally sound both each and every day throughout the day, and while racing and training

Make sure to stay disciplined and consistent in your approach, which relies heavily on preparation of nutrients and hydration daily, weekly and monthly. Making sure you have the groceries, then having them prepared to take with you on the road in the easiest most convenient way possible.

Your triathlon diet is such a delicate and important component in maximizing your potential as a triathlete. Treat it as such and optimize not only your performance, but your life!!

What are your thoughts on triathlons?

A triathlon is one of the most difficult races to train for and compete in. Your expertise and input is very important!

Do you have a great story or any thoughts about this? Share it here!

Brandt Quick is CEO/President of BQuick Athletic Development, BQuick Nutrition and BQuick Tri-Dat. He can be reached at 1-855-TRY-BQUICK (879-2784), and website at, or

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