Triathlete’s Fuel Guide For Winter Training

Your Triathlete’s Fuel Guide For Winter Training During the winter season. It is important to build up a good basis that can be utilized in the upcoming year. This applies to both cyclists who are training for competitions and recreational cyclists who have improved their fitness levels through summer activities and daily commutes.

Training during the winter months often proves to be the deciding factor between success and failure when race season rolls around, and it can also be the foundation for improving your riding abilities, even if you don’t participate in competitions.

With that in mind, your nutrition is important. The urge to have a cake in the less active period is universal yet bear in mind that the right types of refuelling and relaxing after exercising contribute to better results in training, therefore it is better to ignore the cake and proceed.

Pre-training meal

Be sure to fuel up with a carbohydrate-rich meal to prepare for a long workout session. Have this dish no less than 2 and no more than 3 hours before your exercise session so it has time to digest. If you’re having a meal shortly before exercising, make sure it’s not too heavy, and ensure you are adequately nourished for your cycling workout.

Having a basic dish before taking part in your Saturday cycling excursion is porridge with milk. It is not recommended to partake in long or intense winter training without having eaten something first. You won’t receive the benefits of training that you’re aiming for, and you may even end up losing muscle mass as a way to generate energy.

Training outdoors

A planned training ride should always have planned nutrition. Be sure to pack enough food and drinks to power your way through the entire journey; you don’t want to be stuck miles from home during the cold winter months without enough energy.

Be sensible, eat, drink and fuel. It is not necessary to consume more energy when the temperature drops. Once you start feeling cold, your body needs to use more energy to warm itself. Keep moving and dress appropriately.

Strive to have 1g of carbohydrates for each kilogram of your body mass each hour to remain energized while biking at a fast pace.

Ingesting carbs while exercising has also been found to improve immune system performance, which is especially vital in the wintertime when colds are more widespread.

Example fueling strategy:

A 70kg athlete would need to ingest 70 grams of carbs per hour. This equates to one of these options:

· A 500ml energy beverage accompanied by a medium-sized banana · A medium-sized section of flapjack combined with an energy gel · Two small cereal bars plus a medium banana · A small jam sandwich along with a smaller portion of flapjack · 500ml energy drink combined with half an energy bar

Turbo sessions

Workouts on a turbo trainer are often much briefer and more strenuous than biking outside unless you can remain on the turbo trainer for extended periods, in which case we send our admiration to you.

You don’t need to eat any carbs during a ride that is 90 minutes or shorter, as long as you have eaten correctly beforehand and have a meal or snack afterwards.

It would be a good idea to consume one gram of food per kilogram of body weight per hour for activities that last longer than 90 minutes.

The most obvious thing when doing turbo training is that everyone perspires heavily. The absence of air circulation suggests your perspiration doesn’t vanish as easily as when cycling outdoors, and the hotter atmosphere of exercising inside the home or garage will also increase sweating.

Hence, it is essential to keep up with one’s hydration levels when exercising with an indoor bike. Your goal should be to consume at least 500ml of liquid – a typical water bottle holds 500ml – in one hour.

Many individuals have difficulty finding the correct amount of liquids to consume not just while exercising but also while competing.

You can easily determine your own sweat rate by weighing yourself before and after physical activity. This is an effective way of monitoring levels of hydration. You will frequently observe substantial weight reductions, sometimes up to a kilogram or more after exercising.

Unfortunately, this does not represent an amazing reduction in body fat but rather a decrease in body fluids. For each kilogram shed in terms of weight, it is recommended to drink 1.5 litres of water to ensure proper rehydrating.

It would still be beneficial to complete this simple task even if you consume liquids during your workout. Taking note of the weight change will help you figure out how much more fluids you have to drink during and after exercise.

Recovery is key

No matter, if you do your training in the open air or in an enclosed space, eating correctly after a workout, will have a major impact on enabling your body to adjust and grow because of the exercise you have done. So what do you eat?

A balanced meal should contain both carbs and protein to get your muscles back on track. Carbs replenish the glycogen stores in the muscles and protein helps to heal any existing muscle damage.

You should pick something that can be prepared quickly and can be ingested promptly as our body has a period of 30 minutes after exercise to make the most of.

It has been observed that consuming meals within the specified period is the most reliable way to increase restoration, especially if multiple workouts are occurring within one day. The earlier you eat and consume fluids, the quicker you will bounce back and adapt.

Here are some quick and easy ideas for post-training recovery snacks:

· Protein shake · Chicken or fish sandwich · 2 boiled eggs on toast · 500ml low-calorie chocolate milk · Bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese

It is recommended to keep your protein intake to a minimum per snack because the body is capable of digesting a maximum of 25g of protein at one time. It isn’t advantageous to consume more protein than is recommended and it will cost more.

Recover with comfort foods and drinks

The most effective method of comforting your body while simultaneously beginning the healing process is to begin to replenish your energy and hydration levels with hot carbohydrates.

All of the following would work to warm you up: hot cider, hot cocoa, soup that’s piping hot, oatmeal, and even chilli. The heat of the meal, combined with the natural body heat generated from eating, assists in restoring body temperature.

This recovery nutrition should include both carbohydrates and protein. The goal of carbohydrates right now is to refill the energy supply of the muscles (glycogen) that was used during the strenuous exercise.

This protein will cause an effect that will produce more muscle mass and enhance the increase of insulin levels to encourage the muscles to absorb more nutrients necessary for recovery.

Drinking hot cocoa made with milk and a sweetener will give you carbohydrates and protein.

A generous helping of chilli featuring sweet potato and pieces of meat is sure to be satisfying. A warm bowl of oatmeal combined with a bit of protein powder will generate some heat inside of you.


If you are biking (or jogging) to work, making your travel part of your fitness or exercise strategy, then you should still maintain proper nutrition and hydration behaviours.

If you have a long journey to work (45 minutes or more), make sure to eat a balanced snack such as a combination of protein and carbohydrates either before you leave home or once you reach your destination.

Having a bowl of porridge when you get to work would be perfect. Although proper recovery equipment might not be available, a recovery shake can still get the job done.

Don’t skimp on calories

Polar explorers try to gain weight before a journey because the additional padding will keep them warmer while doing hard work in cold weather.

You shouldn’t overindulge in eating while you are training in cold weather, as you may find yourself gaining excess weight if you do not fuel your body correctly.

When engaging in extensive exercises combined with a lack of consistent food intake, the negative energy balance is likely to cause a reduction of body mass. This reduction in tissue insulation of the body adversely affects thermal balance as it enables easier transmission of heat from the core of the body to its surface.

The consequence of consuming fewer calories than the body needs is that it affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature during cold conditions, which can impair performance and cause hypothermia.

To increase heat retention and maintain a consistent body temperature, it is essential to pair your workout routine with adequate nutrition.

Also, not eating enough could lead to low glycogen stores, which could negatively influence performance since exercising in the cold can put more pressure on this essential energy source.

It will be harmful in a big way if you’re doing exercises that require lots of glycogen to be used to make energy.

Up your iron intake

If you struggle to keep yourself warm while on winter excursions, an iron deficiency could be a factor.

A lesser-known result of having an iron insufficiency over a long period is that it can diminish one’s capacity to sustain a normal body temperature by interfering with thyroid activity and stopping warmth generation inside the body.

Studies show that iron deficiency is on the rise in the United States due to insufficient dietary intake.

This study by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that both male and female long-distance competitors are prone to iron deficiency and anaemia, especially those at the top level of triathlon and running.

If you think that your iron levels may be low, have your doctor do a blood test and if needed, follow the diet instructions provided to lift your iron level and help you feel warm even when the temperature is cold.

Don’t forget to drink up

Most people forget to stay hydrated while exercising during the winter, but it’s understandable because the cold weather muddles the way our brain tells our body that it’s thirsty.

It’s possible that exercising in a cool environment causes a decrease in the amount of sodium you lose through perspiration. An athlete must be sure to drink enough fluids to keep their hydration level in check.

Although you don’t need as much liquid when you are exercising in the winter as you do during the hot days of summer, it is still important to ensure that you keep yourself hydrated when you are outside in cold conditions.

Your body adds moisture to the cold air that you breathe in to warm it up before it gets to your lungs, causing you to lose fluids. You can see this vapour (“steam”) when you breathe. When exercising, the air we expel at a quicker pace causes a significant amount of water to be released from our bodies.

You could become dehydrated if you’re overdressed while exercising in cold weather due to the perspiration that can take place, which negatively affects your training pace or ability to stay active.

We may not be aware of how much perspiration we are producing in the wintertime as the extra layers of clothing tend to soak up our perspiration.

It appears that when in a dehydrated condition in cold climates, performance is not detrimentally impacted as much or put as much of a burden on the body as when it is hot and humid.

It is not necessary to drink lots of liquids, yet endeavour to have around 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes of exercise, especially if the activity lasts more than an hour.

It is not wise to drink only when you feel thirsty when your body is exposed to cold temperatures, so make sure to set your watch to sound an alarm every quarter of an hour to remain hydrated.

It is not essential to consume sodium when exercising in hot conditions, however, it’s wise to include it if you are working out for an extended time to ensure that the levels stay high.

Shooting for an amount of between 300 and 600 milligrams per hour of activity should be satisfactory. You can find the proper amount of hydration from a variety of sports drink mixes.

Turn up the heat on your hydration

When exercising in cold weather, it is recommended to consume beverages that are of a warmer temperature.

The downside of cold water is that it can cause the body to become cold, necessitating more energy to be expended to stay warm. In the summertime, this cooling sensation can be beneficial while engaging in physical activity, but it won’t help in the winter when it is snowing.

Those who are not against doing physical activity outdoors when the temperature drops have lots of techniques to keep their liquids from becoming a frozen mixture.

Having a hydration pack on can aid in keeping your fluid close to your body and warmer than if it was stored in an outside canteen. You can also experiment by covering a container filled with warm liquid, such as a water bottle, with a woolly sock or a neoprene insulating cover.

A wide opening in a water bottle will lead to a longer time for it to freeze shut. Choose an insulated water container and make sure not to fill it with boiling liquid, because it will still be too hot to safely consume when you are working quickly.

Skratch Labs Hot Apple Cider Hydration Drink Mix has been created to give you easily absorbed carbs and electrolytes, designed to be drunk hot to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling while pushing yourself.


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