I am really good at eating, like seriously good. I enjoy cooking, I enjoy eating… catch me on the right day and I kind of even enjoy grocery shopping (gasp!)
Platefuls of food disappear within seconds, in my presence. It would be unusual for my dish to contain any crumbs when I’ve finished. I very rarely if ever lose my appetite when I am ill. After spending a day with me, you’d know in your heart the same sad fact that I have known for years: there is a fat drunk lady inside me just screaming to get out.
If only the carb-loading prior to a triathlon counted as part of the race, I’d definitely be in the lead before the gun fired… I think I’m going to be really, really good at carb loading.
What is Carb Loading? Carbs (carbohydrates) are the type of food your body prefers to use, to function both physically and mentally. I don’t know the scientific reason (you can google it) but carbs are easier for your body to access and use than fat or protein. Examples of high-carbohydrate foods would be rice, pasta, potatoes, donuts, cakes etc. If it’s delicious, it’s probably high carb. Prior to a race, it is a good idea to fill up your inner fuel tank with lots of good carbs ready for your body to use – also known as carb loading. I can’t wait.
Thanks to my weight-lifting and general training over the last 5 or so years, I have got much better at understanding what foods are good for me. Not just in terms of healthiness, but good in that they fill me up and don’t drive me crazy with wanting MORE, or give me tummy ache, or make me feel bloated or tired or cranky.
HELPFUL TIP: If you are feeling some or all of these things regularly, you may be consuming something that is annoying the crap out of your stomach. Try replacing it with something else that you like just as much but isn’t the same thing. You might feel better.
SIDEBAR: I just recently found out that large spoonfuls of honey gives me bad gas. Weird but true. And probably not necessary to share with you. Why was I eating spoonfuls of honey?
DISCLAIMER: Just because I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, doesn’t mean I am always good at sticking to the rules. Best to be clear on these things.
So food, and fuelling your body, is an important part of being a successful triathlete. Every ‘beginner triathlete’ website I’ve read includes pages of information on what to eat for breakfast on race day, for example. But I reckon I could come up with a plan for my pre-race meals in about 10 seconds if I needed to – think roasted sweet potato, zucchini, capsicum with some kind of lean protein the night before followed by porridge oats with bananas and a few dark chocolate chips on race morning.
Maybe throw in some sushi for a treat, a few rice cakes spread with peanut butter and a Chobani yoghurt for good measure.
I also know what I will need to avoid and what I will cut out entirely in the weeks leading up to race day. I’m looking at you, beer, cheese and breads that make my tummy bloated.
And I know for sure that I am not one of those lucky people that can scoff a pack of Starburst sour chews and expect to then do exercise successfully. I once did an obstacle race with someone who ate a pack of those kids’ snakes before we started, for quick-release sugar energy. I watched with tears in my eyes as I munched on my trusty banana. Real sugar + exercise + Lauren unfortunately means vomit + crash + burn.
Because armed with my food knowledge and love of eating, my personal race nutrition should be fairly simple: let the fat lady loose!