In triathlon, with all the long or intensive sessions every day (or sometimes both), it can be a challenge to give the body everything it needs. I've been on a plant-based diet for over a year now and it works perfectly for me. At the moment, with 20 to 35 hours of training every week, I need more than 4,000 calories every day.
Here's what a full day of eating looks like for me.
I start the day with a workout before breakfast. I live by the slogan "earn your breakfast". At the moment, as it's cold and dark until 9am or even 10am here in Germany, I like to go for an early swim with an Espresso and nothing else.
What I use for fuel during my workout depends on the type of session. If it's endurance or technique-based, I'll take a bottle of BCAA drink to the pool in order to protect my muscles. If it's a hard workout, for example speed work, I'll go with a carb-loaded drink and use that from halfway through the session and sip on it on the way home in the car.
Once I'm back home, I'll usually go for porridge, made with almond milk and a banana. It has everything I need: carbs, protein, calories and it's warm which is nice after a swim on a cold day.
Usually, a bike session will be next on the agenda. So, after my porridge, I'll take a break of an hour or two before I get on the bike. Again, nutrition depends: if it's a long endurance ride, I'll go with mostly water and electrolytes. If it's a hard workout, I'll take my race drink on the bike in order to be able to keep pushing hard watts.
After the ride, I always have the same: banana, crushed ice, peanut butter, vegan protein powder, almond milk, sprouted seeds, maybe some frozen berries, and some more fruit if I feel the need. This is the perfect fuel as it helps my immune system to stabilize again and it boosts my protein for the day.
I'll take another break then it's time for a run. If the run is slow for recovery and/or technique, I'll not eat anything and will have some water about 45 minutes before I go.
If it's a hard run, such as intervals, I'll try to get some carbs in. This might be in the form of (yet another) ripe banana with waffles and chocolate cream. I eat what I feel my body needs at the time.
After my run, I'll drink some water and maybe take some Gluatmin or BCAA again until it's time for dinner. Dinner is mainly vegetables - anything you can imagine, heated in whatever way is easiest. I'll have a base of carbs, such as rice, quinoa or wholewheat pasta. Added to that, I'll have fat such as an avocado, nuts, or seeds.
1 or 2 hours after that, I sometimes feel the need to eat before going to bed. This could be some sort of soy yogurt with a few nuts and cacao nibs. I've found that for myself, if my body is crying out for something, I get it and have it!