Fueling the Triathlete: Evidence-Based Practical Advice for Athletes of All Levels

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Abstract

Triathletes need to effectively fuel during training and racing to maximize their potential for success. While most research on fueling has focused on elite male triathletes, triathlon participation encompasses a broader demographic of racers ranging from those with aspirations of winning to those whose goals are completion. Carbohydrate is the primary macronutrient for fueling endurance activities. Athletes can usually tolerate 60 to 90 mg·h−1 in the form of multiple different carbohydrate sources. Athletes should drink as thirst dictates and consider sodium replacement of sweat loss especially in individuals with a history of exercise-associated muscle cramps. Caffeine is a known ergogenic aid that could be dosed at 3 mg·kg−1 to maximize benefits of mental alertness while limiting potential side effects. Athletes need to balance fueling with development of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. As demographics of race participants change, understanding the special fueling needs of obese triathletes can encourage participation while minimizing bad outcomes.

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