Food for fitness training

Professional triathlete Bek Keat shares how she eats to stay in fighting form

1. Never skip breakfast. My breakfast always depends on what training I have that day. If it’s just a single session no more than two hours, I have a couple of pieces of grainy toast with peanut butter and a large coffee. A three or four-hour session would call for something more substantial such as a bowl of porridge. Low GI carbohydrates are ideal for long training sessions as they will keep you fuller for longer.

2. Load up on fruit and veggies. Always try to include lots of fruit and vegetables to ensure you are getting all your essential nutrients. The most common concerns in female athletes are deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B, iron, zinc and magnesium. I always try to eat a balanced diet that contains all the nutrition I need to perform at a high level.

3. Fuel up while you exercise. During long training days it’s important to drink and eat during the session. For example, if I have a six-hour brick I try to eat around 1g carbohydrate/1kg body weight per hour to keep my glycogen stores fueled. For example, if you weigh 60kg you would try to take in 60g of carbohydrates per hour. At least a litre of fluid per hour is also essential, even more on hotter days. Hydration is also really important for recovery.

4. Eat for recovery. Post workout or training is my favourite time to eat! This is also extremely important for recovery and backing up sessions. Always try to include a little of everything – fat, carbs and protein are essential for recovery. A protein shake is great if you don’t feel like real food or don’t have a lot of preparation time.

5. Give yourself a treat. Don’t feel guilty for treating yourself every now and then! You need balance and having a treat each day is my way of rewarding myself after training hard.

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