CANA­DIAN RACE

THE TRAV­EL­LING ATH­LETE

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - DEPARTMENTS - BY RACHEL HAN­NAH

Subaru Epic Dart­mouth Triathlon, N.S.

PLAN­NING AHEAD IS a crit­i­cal com­po­nent be­hind any suc­cess­ful ath­letic train­ing pro­gram. The same process and thought­ful­ness that goes into an ath­lete’s train­ing plan should be ap­plied when con­sid­er­ing nutri­tion and hy­dra­tion while trav­el­ling. This ex­tra step and care will help to min­i­mize the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal stress as­so­ci­ated with trav­el­ling long dis­tances for com­pe­ti­tion.

Res­tau­rant and fast food meals are no­to­ri­ously high in fat. Fat pro­vides flavour and helps fill the stom­ach, which could lead to a lower in­take of car­bo­hy­drates at the meal. Car­bo­hy­drates are the best foods to fuel our mus­cles and pro­vide us with ad­e­quate glyco­gen stores. The fol­low­ing tips will help en­sure a high car­bo­hy­drate diet is con­sumed while re­duc­ing added fats and min­i­miz­ing any stom­ach dis­com­fort as­so­ci­ated with eat­ing un­fa­mil­iar foods.

1. BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS

Fresh fruit, dried or freeze-dried fruits, whole-grain crack­ers and ce­real, in­stant oat­meal, pro­tein bars, pro­tein pow­ders, low-fat energy bars, elec­trolyte pow­ders, nuts and seeds, along with trail mix are all healthy and con­ve­nient op­tions. If faced with ir­reg­u­lar meal times and in­ad­e­quate meals, pack an “emer­gency meal” t hat doesn’t re qui re re­frig­er­a­tion such as a peanut but ter a nd honey sa nd­wich or wrap.

2. ASK FOR MOD­I­FI­CA­TIONS

Ask ques­tions about how your meal was pre­pared and the in­gre­di­ents used. Ask for dress­ing and sauce on the side to limit the added fats. Limit foods that are fried, au gratin or pre­pared with cream sauces and gravies. In­stead choose foods that are steamed, baked, grilled, roasted or poached. Limit high-fat items on sand­wiches and sal­ads and stick to healthy sources of fat such as av­o­cado and nuts in­stead of but­ter, ba­con or cheese. For ex­am­ple: when or­der­ing a baked potato, ask for it plain and mash the potato with milk for moist­ness.

3. LIMIT GAS­TROIN­TESTI­NAL DIS­TRESS

If you have any di­etary re­stric­tions, have a card made in the lan­guage of the coun­try where you are trav­el­ling that clearly states the foods you can­not eat. Present this to your server when you sit down to eat. If there are no healthy op­tions avail­able at the meal, con­sider hav­ing your “emer­gency meal” or us­ing a meal re­place­ment bar af­ter­wards if your com­pe­ti­tion is fast ap­proach­ing. It is much bet­ter to be pa­tient in these in­stances than re­gret your food choices a cou­ple of hours af­ter­wards.

4. DO YOUR HOME­WORK

5. STICK TO YOUR ROU­TINE

If you know where you will be din­ing, re­view the menu ahead of time and plan out your se­lec­tions. See if nutri­tion or calo­rie in­for­ma­tion is avail­able to stick to lower fat and higher car­bo­hy­drate op­tions. If you al­ready have a game plan be­fore you ar­rive you are more likely to stick to your plan when pre­sented with the vast se­lec­tion of palat­able foods (i.e. sugar, fat and salt in the per­fect com­bi­na­tion to cause you to want more). Avoid long gaps in be­tween meals and try to have a snack two to two and a half hours be­fore eat­ing out. This will help you slow down at your meal and avoid feel­ing overly full af­ter­wards from eat­ing too quickly. It is crit­i­cal to never get hun­gry or thirsty when train­ing and pre­par­ing for com­pe­ti­tion.

The ex­tra time and con­sid­er­a­tion spent when plan­ning ahead to make healthy choices will pay off when com­pe­ti­tion day ar­rives and you feel well fu­elled and ready to per­form at your best. Noth­ing is worse than your fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion be­ing di­verted away from your ath­letic event due to stom­ach dis­com­fort or feel­ings of low energy as a re­sult of in­ad­e­quate nutri­tion or hy­dra­tion. Con­sider al­low­ing your­self a treat af­ter the com­pe­ti­tion for mo­ti­va­tion to stay on track. Af­ter all, the 80/20 (eat­ing well 80 per cent of the time while al­low­ing in­dul­gences 20 per cent of the time) should still be ap­plied when trav­el­ling.

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