Ever wondered what pro triathletes eat to support their racing and training? Do they follow a strict nutrition plan, or can they get away with whatever they like due to their training volume? I’m always interested to learn more about the typical diet of an elite triathlete, so I’ll be sharing a series of posts from some of the world’s best athletes. First up, Helen Jenkins.
Helen Jenkins recently returned to competition after recovery from spinal fusion surgery and the birth of her second child. She’s been a pro triathlete for over 15 years, has represented Great Britain at the Beijing, London and Rio Olympics and has become ITU Elite World Champion twice. Here’s a typical day for Helen…
5am – slice of toast with peanut butter and jam.
Helen says she didn’t use to eat before swimming but she has found she has a lot more energy throughout the day if she spreads food out.
5.30am to 7am- swim training session.
8am- oats, greek yoghurt and whatever fruit she has available- blueberries, banana, pear, and some mixed nuts.
10am to 12pm- bike training session.
Helen has a Clif energy gel and an electrolyte drink during the ride, then a glass of milk straight after.
1pm- poached eggs, cheesy roll, avocado and small salad.
Helen and her family have stopped eating as much meat recently. Partly due to environmental reasons and partly because they tended to base every meal around meat and slipped into the habit of eating it too often.
5pm to 5.30/6pm- run training session. 30-60 minutes depending on the day.
7.30pm- lentil and mushroom shepherd’s pie with vegetables, then chocolate or biscuits for dessert.
After her kids Max and Mali are in bed, Helen cooks dinner. She makes a large batch to freeze for days when she doesn’t have time to cook.
Drinks- Helen drinks water throughout the day and tea in the morning as she doesn’t like coffee.
Snacks- nuts and breadsticks. She also loves baking with her daughter, so she has some cakes or biscuits throughout the day. Great to see that pro triathletes also eat sweet treats!
Supplements- probiotics and a multi-vitamins.
Helen describes this as a veggie day, but she does also eat fish throughout the week and red meat at least once a week.
It’s reassuring to see how normal and balanced Helen’s diet is… no unusual ingredients or restricting food groups. As with any time-poor athlete, planning and prepping meals in advance, bearing in mind what her kids will eat is important.
What do you eat in a typical day? Are you surprised at what pro triathletes eat?