The Top 3 Supplements for Triathlon
A triathlon is a demanding multi-disciplinary sport that requires a lot of dedication and effort. Great skill in swimming, cycling and pacing the run need to be combined to make one beast of an athlete to compete in this sport. Considering the varied demands placed upon your body it just makes sense to get on top of your supplement game and ensure that your body has the correct fuel to bring out the best performance possible.
Let me give you the best bang for your buck supplements that you should consume for the best results:
High-Quality Whey Protein
Contrary to popular belief, endurance athletes still require an ample supply of amino acids to recover from their grueling workouts and fuel growth processes that will make them perform better over time. Although it is a vital part of your overall performance, endurance training does not purely rely on your cardiovascular capacity but a good level of muscular development will help you perform much better too.
When considering the sheer amount of training you have to do to train for an event like a triathlon, relying on a high-quality protein intake just makes sense. Protein can be quite satiating and relying on steaks to hit your protein target might just be too difficult and inconvenient. A liquid form of protein is much more manageable, does not fill you up, and takes no time to prepare.
Whey protein is a great pick for individuals that otherwise have their nutrition on lock but just can’t seem to meet those pesky protein targets. You can just throw a scoop in your shake; sip it slowly as you warm-up or during a light run. You can drink a shake with your meals to bump up their protein content. Heck, whey is so versatile that if you'd like it to digest more slowly and have it act like a casein shake, all that you have to do is mix it with virtually anything, some milk, a banana, extra sugar, or even an additional scoop of whey—yeah—and it will stay in your system longer.
The specific protein requirements you should hit will vary depending on your size and the actual level of competition you deal with. After all, running a 5k or even a 10k is a completely different beast than a marathon. That being said, most will find that 2 grams of protein per kilogram of total body weight will be more than enough to help fuel all the recovery processes.
One caveat, if you are a smaller female, as long as you hit 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight you do not have to worry about protein-related recovery issues. Why? Well, women can get away with lower protein intakes for a variety of reasons—mostly hormonal. For instance, a higher body fat percentage, higher estrogen levels, lower testosterone levels, etc.
Unlike strength sports where you can get away with minimal carbohydrate consumption, endurance athletes burn through a tremendous amount of calories and you need to get that energy replenished as conveniently and as fast as possible. When it comes to speed, nothing beats a good carbohydrate supplement.
Although you should still try to get most of your carbohydrate requirements from whole foods, there is only so much bread, potato and pasta one can eat. I mean, if you have to eat upwards of 1500 calories from complex carbohydrates, I certainly pray that you have a ravenous appetite.
When you know you have some hard training ahead of you, relying on a high-quality carbohydrate supplement is just a good idea. Dextrose is a great pick for most people. Its affordable and mixes well with Whey; so combining it with a Whey shake is just a sensible choice. On top of that, researchers have found that it is more effective than plain sugar at replenishing your glycogen stores, so Dextrose is usually a better pick than juices or other sports drinks.
An alternative would be to use mass gainers. I realize that they have a bad rep, but that is mainly due to dubious company practices. If you can find a great company that produces a quality product, then mass gainers can be a great tool in your toolkit. They contain a tremendous amount of calories from carbohydrates while still providing you with enough amino acids to stimulate MPS. Overall, mass gainers are pretty useful when you’re pressed for time but still need your fuel.
Among its many effects, caffeine is particularly useful to a triathlete by increasing your levels of endorphins and blocking adenosine. The former leads to a decreased sensitivity to pain and effort, which leads to an improved performance since you can exert yourself for longer without feeling fatigued. The latter helps with fat mobilization and oxidation, which is either quite useful for you or a minor benefit. For athletes that prefer to use fat as a primary source of fuel, this improved mobilization helps your performance. However, for carb-fueled athletes, the improved fat mobilization simply leads to slightly improved fat loss. By releasing fat from your cells and into your bloodstream, you can burn more fat.
The performance-promoting effects of caffeine have sturdy scientific backing. Studies have found that it can postpone exhaustion by 2%, ultimately leading to faster times. Practically speaking, it can take several minutes off your total time.
Whether you choose to use all the previous supplements or just one of them, you have to make sure that you pick a high-quality source. The supplement industry is much less regulated than the food industry, and you ought to rely on trusted companies. At Icon Nutrition, we follow the highest standards, our supplements are GMO-free and locally made. Whether you pick the 100% grass-fed Whey Protein or our Ignite caffeine-fueled pre-workout, our products are the best available for athletes of your caliber.