Can a change in diet improve your triathlon performance?
It could be said that there are two types of triathletes, the ones who have blown up and the ones who are going too. If you don’t have a personal war story of hitting the wall or run/walking down the red carpet like a cat on wet grass then we all know people who have.
It’s a sad reality that for many athletes the hard work, endless hours, and early morning sessions will end in a DNF because of nutrition issues causing gastric issues. It is great to see more athletes putting more fat back and protein back into their diets, with great results in training and racing.
Some of the world’s best triathletes Kyle Buckingham, Jan Van Berkel, and Dan Plews to name a few have turned to Keto improve their training, recovery and racing. Shifting day to day nutrition can make profound changes to your ability to utilise fat as a primary fuel, reduce chronic inflammation, leading to reduced injuries and decreasing the reliance on carbohydrate calories in high volume during training and racing. It is well documented that the high consumption of carbohydrates and sugar is at the root cause of GI distress for athletes, effecting as much as 50% of the field at any given race.
What about carbs
The use of carbohydrates should remain part of any athletes’ race nutritional strategy, and used effectively should add an explosive energy boost when needed most. The ability to be metabolically flexible, the ability to transition easily from fat burning to carb-burning gives athletes a distinct advantage. To achieve this a day to day approach of reduced carb intake and fasted training sessions upregulate fat burning to produce ketones. With time and consistency, this fat oxidisation rate is improved to a point that ketones produced from fat can play a major role in fueling performance. The effect of which is to preserve glucose for high-intensity efforts or as fatigue sets in a heart rate starts to climb.
Improved mental focus, sustained energy, and reduction in the reliance on external energy supply are just some of the reasons many triathletes are asking questions about going Keto.