Eat your greens for faster triathlons and better health – green salads are great… for breakfast!?
I know what you’re going to say because I’ve heard it before. Its weird, I could never do that, or no way, I’m a cereal addict!
But if you really want change, if you really want to improve your triathlon fitness, performance, health or body composition, lose weight for triathlon (making getting up hills easier), or even improve your mental alertness, then maybe you should consider a green breakfast.
After all, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. And I’m guessing you are reading this because you want improved fitness and the benefits health brings too.
In fact most people whether training for a triathlon or not want improved health and fat loss – being overweight is a modern problem and a western disease! And with the added demands of triathlon training, it is vital you give your body the nutrients it needs to repair, adapt and… win! So, give me a chance and read on.
Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, Rocket, Watercress… Triathlon Foods?
It probably feels a little unusual to consider eating a green breakfast. This is for two reasons. Firstly others around you will be looking at you strangely as they munch their cereal, or skip breakfast all together!
Secondly, because you have always eaten other more orthodox breakfasts, it will feel strange. Change always feels strange bit this does not mean it is bad! So give it a try!
Alkalising Your Body
Interval training for triathlon results in an acidic pH in the body. One of the reasons you sometimes feel groggy when you wake is because you are experiencing an acidic environment in your body.
Green vegetables and fruits like lemon act as alkaline buffers, neutralizing the acidic effects of triathlon training. So by eating greens for breakfast this will have an alkalizing effect.
In addition to a green breakfast try squeezing a lemon into a large glass of water and drinking at least a pint of water at breakfast.
This will further alkalise your body, and rectify the second reason for grogginess – dehydration. Furthermore, lemons are one of the few fruits not to contain fructose, have many nutrients and vitamins. As before, it may take a little tuning of the senses, bit after drinking it once, I for one love it!
Green leafy vegetables are an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fibre, slowing down the amount of sugar rushing into the blood stream and doing wonders to prevent and manage diabetes.
Not only this but fibre is also an essential material for your intestines to use as leverage as they contract, and as a way of leansing old or bad bacterial – a little bit like a scrubbing brush!
Famous for its iron, spinach and other leafy veggies are packed with other vitamins and minerals too.
Magnesium and potassium are needed but often lacking in our bodies, especially if you have high sodium consumption.
In addition, other trace minerals are also found in green leaves that fortify our bodies further.
Nutrient density of food is even more important for those who exercise regularly – training for a triathlon – because intense exercise depletes the body of resources that are needed for rebuilding, recovery, adaptation and getting fitter.
I always recommend eating nutrient dense diet over a calorie dense diet.
I find these ‘living’ breakfast food choices filling, which means that I will not pick or snack on bad things later.
I always recommend you accompany every meal with a protein, whether that is meat, fish or eggs, nuts or seeds. This is one recommendation I always stick to for a whole host of reasons.
I’m not sure if it is just me, but plain salad, spinach, cress isn’t that nice on its own. Which is a bonus really because having it with extra virgin olive oil, avocado which is full of fats, and a drizzle of balsamic makes it a real treat to eat.
The benefits of these fats, if eaten raw as is the case here, is their protective properties and EFA content.
Lose Weight For An Easier And Faster Triathlon
If you happen to be one of the many many people wanting to lose weight, then adopting this change might just set you off on the road to success.
You’ll feel strange at first no doubt – I did – but the health rewards, energy and focus you get from a good breakfast is worth it. In fact, I now know a few people addicted to spinach!
I hope this was helpful and interesting, and all the best with your own breakfast experimentation.
If you’d like more nutritional advice, sports nutrition and every day nutritional plan then take a look at joining Project Tri to become a triathlon coaching team member.
Happy eating and good luck with your triathlon training. Nico Valla.