Found on Ironman.com and written by Dr. Phil Maffetone
Take your performance up a notch with a tip for each day of the month.
Triathletes tend to seek out training tips for that extra performance edge. They endlessly debate race-day nutrition that will somehow provide more energy. But without a healthy body, even the most well-meaning advice might throw you off course. It’s simple: being healthy reduces injuries, speeds recovery, helps muscles work better and leads to a more balanced body. By removing the roadblocks that prevent natural progress, you can quickly improve training and racing. Here is an effective 30-day plan.
1. Vitamin D helps muscles, hormones, immunity and the brain work better, but a surprising number of triathletes don’t have enough. It’s worth performing a simple blood test, especially in the spring when levels tend to be lowest. A good tan often indicates better vitamin D levels. But don’t burn.
2. Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. No, you can’t get by with less if you want a healthy brain and a body that’s well recovered.
3. Rid your diet of all refined carbohydrates. Even small amounts can adversely affect your next workout or race. This means virtually all foods made with flour and sugar. (The exception is during long workouts or races.)
4. Avoid all other junk food such as most fried, processed and packaged items.
5. Create the most pleasant physical, chemical and mental environment at home and work.
6. Eat real food. This includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, as the bulk of a great diet.
7. Whenever possible, stand instead of sit. The stress of sitting goes beyond just physical trauma. Those who sit more have more injuries and illness.
8. Eat organic eggs. They are a relatively inexpensive very high quality protein source, and the yolk contains healthy fats and many other important nutrients.
9. Eat organic, grass-fed meats. They’re healthy, safe and a magnificent source of many nutrients not easily available elsewhere.
10. Use healthy dairy to tolerance. Raw milk cheese, including whey, is best when organic.
11. Listen to or play music each day.
12. Consume 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day—not a difficult task if you want to be healthy and fit.
13. Always eat breakfast. It’s a necessity to fuel your body after an all night fast.
Related Article: Master Your Morning with a Better Breakfast
14. Build the body’s fat-burning mechanism—the aerobic system. Easy aerobic workouts accomplish this best.
15. Remember this equation: Training = Work + Rest
16. Avoid missing meals. Plan ahead, or always have a healthy energy bar available (best made at home).
17. Eat only healthy snacks. Fruits, vegetables, cheese, leftovers from a previous meal.
18. Eat only healthy desserts. They should also be delicious, and easy to make at home. Organic cocoa has many health benefits.
19. After awakening, look outside at the morning sky. Daylight into the eyes, without glasses or contacts, is great for the brain and body. (But please don’t stare directly at the sun.)
20. Drink a medium glass of warm water first thing in the morning to help get the gut turned on.
21. Put on your shoes, and lace them, while standing. This can help train your brain to better balance the body. These improvements can help reduce the risk of injury, while improving the swimming, biking and running gait.
22. Take your shoes off as much as possible during the day. Whether at work, home, or elsewhere, being barefoot is a great therapy for the whole body.
23. Avoid the stress of radio, TV and Internet commercials.
24. Train only with people you enjoy being with. Or train alone to pay better attention to what your body is saying.
25. Save fruit juice, sports drinks and similar products for workouts and races. Avoid them as part of your daily diet.
26. A lingering injury or illness may require the help of the right professional. If you don’t yet have one, keep searching.
27. Make your own real-food workout fuel from healthy ingredients.
28. Measure your waist every month or two—don’t allow it to get larger unless you’re still growing.
29. All your shoes should be the flattest, least supported and most comfortable. Pay little attention to size—use fit to assure they’re right for you.
30. Perform my MAF test each month—don’t allow your aerobic system to get slower.
Phil Maffetone is a best-selling author and has advised many of triathlon’s greats, including Mark Allen. He is the author of The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing. Visit him online at Philmaffetone.com.