Triathletes tend to seek out training tips for that extra performance edge. They endlessly debate race-day nutrition that will somehow provide more energy. But without a healthy body, even the most well-meaning advice might throw you off course. It's simple: Being healthy reduces injuries, speeds recovery, helps muscles work better and leads to a more balanced body. By removing the roadblocks that prevent natural progress, you can quickly improve training and racing. Here is an effective 30-day plan.
1. Vitamin D helps muscles, hormones, immunity and the brain work better, but a surprising number of triathletes don't have enough. It's worth performing a simple blood test, especially in the spring when levels tend to be lowest. A good tan often indicates better vitamin D levels. But don't burn.
2. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. No, you can't get by with less if you want a healthy brain and a body that's well recovered.
3. Rid your diet of all refined carbohydrates. Even small amounts can adversely affect your next workout or race. This means virtually all foods made with flour and sugar. (The exception is during long workouts or races.)
4. Avoid all other junk food such as most fried, processed and packaged items.
5. Create the most pleasant physical, chemical and mental environment at home and work.
6. Eat real food. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans, as the bulk of a great diet.
7. Whenever possible, stand instead of sit. The stress of sitting goes beyond just physical trauma. Those who sit more have more injuries and illness.
8. Eat organic eggs. They are a relatively inexpensive very high quality protein source, and the yolk contains healthy fats and many other important nutrients.
9. Eat organic, grass-fed meats. They're healthy, safe and a magnificent source of many nutrients not easily available elsewhere.
10. Use healthy dairy to tolerance. Raw milk cheese, including whey, is best when organic.