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Nutrition Plan - Triathlon - Luis Cova

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Luis Cova TriathleteElite triathlete and coach - Luis Cova - explains in this Q&A how important nutrition and hydration is to achieving performance.

Do you have a health condition or allergy (ex: gluten intolerance) that requires you to have a special nutrition plan?
No, thankfully, I have been lucky enough to not have any allergies.

Do you follow a specific diet (ex: vegetarian, paleolithic etc…). If so, describe it and explain how is it benefitting you?
No, however, I try to avoid highly processed food. I also try to focus my diet on eating mostly fruits and vegetables as my main source of carbohydrates and lean white meat and nuts as my sources of protein and fat.

Do you supplement daily with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids,amino acids etc…?
Yes. Depending on the time of the year and my weekly training load, I combine using multi vitamins, an Omega 3 complex, a joint supplement (like Tissue Rejuvenator) daily. If the multivitamin I’m taking does not have a good dose of d-alpha vitamin E or Vitamin C (like Sportmulti does), then I take additional pills. [FTM: checkout the Omega Fats, Vitamin & Minerals, and Joint Health categories for more info]

What’s your pre-workout/competition nutrition and hydration plan?
I don’t have a special routine but I do make sure I eat before my workouts. I usually like to eat plantains with some protein or fruits and nuts. If I don’t have anything available, I would eat a bar (I really like the Hammer bars)

What’s your during workout/competition nutrition and hydration plan?
It depends on the duration and type of workout/competition. For runs under an hour, I just drink water with nuun tables; if I’m running more than an hour, I will include a gel every 30 to 40 minutes [FTM: checkout our gel category].

For triathlon races or long training rides (or bricks), I try to maintain an intake of 300 to 350 calories per hour. This will be through a combination of liquid and solids; I like having a bottle with Hammer Perpetuem as a source of carbs/proteins and another bottle with electrolytes (nuun or Saltsticks). For solids, I like Bonk Breakers, Gu Energy Chews, or Honey Stinger Waffles.

What’s your post-workout/competition nutrition and hydration plan?
I replenish fluids as needed with a recovery drink such as Recoverite. My first option would be to have a balanced meal that contains a good amount of proteins and carbs (if the workout is longer than 2 hour, I would eat rice). If I’m not able to eat real foods, I eat a protein bar or drink.

Do you compete in different types of events (ex: different distances or formats)? If so, is your nutrition/hydration plan different for each event?
Yes, I compete in running races (from 10k to 50k), triathlons (from sprint to Ironman distance events), and a few swim meets and open water races a year (from a 50 meter to a 4 mile swim).

For running races that take less than 2 hours, my intake is completely from fluids and gels; longer than that (such as a 50k) I include solids. For long distance triathlons I use a combination of fluids and solids.
For swim races, I just make sure I’m hydrated before the race.

Any other nutrition/hydration secrets you’d like to share?
For those athletes who are always on a diet, make sure you allow yourself to indulge in something outside your diet every once in a while. Instead of having just 2 or 3 very large meals in one day; it is better to have 5 to 7 small meals throughout the day; make sure you have any source of protein intake on all your meals.

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