What should you drink daily to support your triathlon training?
A question was recently posed in the Facebook group: ‘What should I be drinking day to day?’ I thought it a timely question as we move between seasons. It’s a question that I get asked regularly, as people get sick of drinking water.
So, what’s on the menu? And more importantly, what’s off the menu?
As much as I know some of you don’t want to hear it, soft drink really plays no part in your daily healthy diet.
Where can it fit in? I am a fan of recommending caffeinated soft drink, with sugar (such as coke or pepsi) for the carb and caffeine hit during longer training sessions and events, due to the performance benefits it can provide.
Who doesn’t love a good coffee? I know (particularly for my Australian clients), coffee is a huge part of the culture and social part of our day to day lives. Is there room for coffee? Yes. There is plenty of research that indicates coffee can improve sports performance for your training, and improve mental clarity in your day to day work. If you are adding anything to your coffee, keep portion size in mind (I’m looking at you Starbucks Venti in the US!), as the milk/cream/syrup/sugar that is added does add up. Timing is important as well, with your last cup of the day being done at least 10 hours before bed to ensure zero impact on sleep.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming article on caffeine for sports performance.
Fruit juice can be an easy way to get some extra carbs in when requirements are really high. However it isn’t recommended as part of daily usual intake, due to the sugar hit it provides. A piece of fruit and a glass of water is much healthier.
Vegetable-based juices or smoothies are a tad different though. Whilst the fibre is still destroyed in the process of making them, the extra polyphenols and antioxidants you’ll get from the veggie juice mean you’re more likely to be hitting your veggie requirements for the day.
I know there’s (at least) a few MaccaX members who don’t mind a beer or martini or two! If you don’t want to know the following, skip this paragraph before reading on!
Performance-wise, alcohol negatively affects your body’s ability to recover from exercise*, and particularly from injury. Alcohol itself is calorie-dense as well, making it harder to manage body weight. Aim to consume in moderation, and be mindful of anything you might mix with it (see regarding soft drink and fruit juice).
*There was an Australian (of course) study looking at beer for recovery, where a low alcohol beer had some sodium added to it. It did show positive recovery benefits.
We all know that we need to drink enough water on a daily basis to ensure adequate hydration. Not consuming enough water negatively impacts your sports performance, work performance, and how you feel on a daily basis as well.
Drinking only water can get a little monotonous for some though. How to make it more interesting? Try a sparkling water (for the bubbles), or flavour the water with sliced fruit and herbs, for example blueberries, lime, orange, ginger or mint.
Herbal teas also count towards water intake as well, so can be an interesting alternate option.
Habituating water intake can help as well; if it is simply part of your lifestyle, and what you do, drinking enough becomes easy.