Your health, weight and abil­ity to train ef­fec­tively dur­ing the win­ter are all af­fected by what you eat… and don’t eat. Here’s the low­down on the key nu­tri­ents, sup­ple­ments and carbs you need

220 Triathlon Magazine - - EXPERT ADVICE -

Putting on a few pounds dur­ing the off-sea­son is no big deal. In fact, be­ing a lit­tle above rac­ing weight can be ben­e­fi­cial as it’ll keep you warmer dur­ing cold runs and rides, and help to sup­port your im­mune sys­tem.

Yet you should avoid tak­ing this as a free pass to eat badly, as try­ing to lose sig­nif­i­cant weight in the spring can be dif­fi­cult. It’ll also com­pro­mise the higher-in­ten­sity train­ing ses­sions you’ll be tran­si­tion­ing to in pre-sea­son.

En­sure that you keep a reg­u­lar check on your weight and body com­po­si­tion dur­ing the off-sea­son – it can be a good idea to use a calo­rie tracker app. The sim­ple act of record­ing what you eat and drink will make you far less likely to have that ex­tra slice of cake.

Al­though the temp­ta­tion can be to opt for stodgy high-car­bo­hy­drate meals in the win­ter, the typ­i­cally lower-in­ten­sity train­ing doesn’t re­ally re­quire them. You can split food into ‘go nu­tri­ents’ that are your carbs, fats and pro­tein, and ‘glow nu­tri­ents’ that are your vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and an­tiox­i­dants. For ‘go nu­tri­ents’ you should be look­ing to up your in­take of qual­ity pro­tein (meat, fish, eggs and dairy), es­pe­cially if you’re do­ing some fo­cussed strength work dur­ing the off-sea­son.

For those ‘glow nu­tri­ents’, which will help to boost your im­mune sys­tem, plenty of fresh fruit and veg is the way for­ward. A sim­ple goal should be to make your plate as colour­ful as pos­si­ble, as that’s usu­ally a good in­di­ca­tor of ‘glowrich foods’.

When fu­elling steady long runs and rides as op­posed to race-paced workouts, you can rely more on real food over gels and sports drinks. You can even ex­per­i­ment with some car­bo­hy­drate-fasted train­ing, but this has to be done at a low in­ten­sity and isn’t, as many peo­ple mis­tak­enly think, for weight loss. In­stead it de­vel­ops your body’s abil­ity to use fat as a fuel and, there­fore, im­proves run­ning or rid­ing ef­fi­ciency. If you’re in­clud­ing some high-in­ten­sity efforts, though, pop­ping a gel in an­tic­i­pa­tion of these is a good idea.

From a sup­ple­ments per­spec­tive, con­sider a high-qual­ity omega-3 oil to help your body cope with your train­ing load. Also, in line with cur­rent health ad­vice, you should be tak­ing a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment dur­ing the win­ter months. Low lev­els of vi­ta­min D due to lack of day­light can in­hibit re­cov­ery from train­ing and lead to fa­tigue.

“Putting on a few pounds is no big deal, but don’t take this as a free pass to eat badly this off-sea­son”

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