As a sports dietitian and endurance coach, I have the opportunity to work with a variety of athletes. They are all on their personal quest for greatness; striving to be better than they were yesterday, last week or last year. Some have physical limitations while others have medical limitations not seen by the naked eye. Nothing inspires me more than working with an athlete to overcome obstacles and achieve goals they thought were off limits. Here is a personal account of one athlete’s story, unveiled, in hopes that it will inspire you to believe in yourself, and your body despite limitations.
What comes to mind when you think of a snack? A glass of milk and a cookie, a bowl of ice cream, a handful of pretzels, a piece of fruit, or a small bag of chips? Maybe instead of food, you count on an afternoon coffee to get you through the workday, or you reach for a sports bar to fuel your after-work workout.
It’s the elephant in the room, or in some cases goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed – for way too long. But, it is real and it is dangerous. The sad truth is that it affects all ages, male and female (although more female), and especially in sports such as gymnastics, running, bodybuilding, endurance sports, and wrestling all which place an emphasis on the athlete’s appearance, size, weight and diet.
As triathletes, we’re constantly looking for that extra edge. A world of products promise to make us faster, fitter, stronger — and compression socks, recovery boots, race wheels and aero helmets certainly help. But there’s a limit to what these pricey accessories can do for us. Fortunately, you already have a secret weapon that’s both cost effective and easy to implement. Used properly, it will work its magic overnight. What is it? Real food.
IRONMAN athletes are a unique breed: we’re goal-driven, type-A, and competitive, and we design detailed race and fueling plans to be prepared for any scenario that race day might toss our way. But no matter how prepared we are, there’s one element of nutrition plan that can’t be forgotten: sodium. Whether you’ve got Kona or another humid race on the calendar, take the time now to map out a sodium plan so you can not only avoid a trip to the medical tent, but perform your best.