Post by Chelsea Sodaro, Professional Triathlete
In 2016, I failed to make the Olympic Track & Field team in the 10,000 meters. I still had more to give as a professional athlete, but I was having a hard time staying healthy. I knew that I needed to make a change.
2 months later, I was glued to the TV during the Olympic triathlon when my husband said, “You know how to swim. Why don’t you try triathlon?” After laughing at the idea, I soon became obsessed and ultimately landed in San Diego to work with world class triathlon coach Paulo Sousa. I was diving into the deep end of pro triathlon training! And I was eager to learn about new ways to fuel for my new sport… or should I say sports.
I have always been passionate about food — I love cooking for my family and feeding my body with as many locally-sourced foods as possible. My favorite weekend activity is strolling through the farmers market after a hard morning workout and snacking on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. As an elite endurance athlete, I’ve known that quality nutrition is key to high level performance in sport.
When it came to eating, I thought I was doing everything right. Then I got the opportunity to work with InsideTracker to test my biomarkers. I figured that I’d get my results back, and I’d have an inner age of 12 and only a few small changes to make. WRONG! I was quite off base.
I was exhausted after long days of swimming, biking, and running, but I figured that was normal for triathletes. But, after getting the results from InsideTracker, I found that my Vitamin D and iron levels needed a boost, and my cortisol levels were high. Roxanne Vogel, the Sports Nutritionist at GU Energy Labs, took a look at my results and advised me to focus on better meal timing. I needed to optimize my nutrient intake throughout the day to promote recovery and optimize performance.
Since first getting my InsideTracker results, I’ve been diligent about eating quality protein and increasing my intake of omega 3’s with fatty fish and fish oil. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are great for Vitamin D levels and muscle health. I have also been adding beans to my salads and stir fries to lower my glucose (blood sugar) levels. In addition, I’ve made a point to eat more dark chocolate to increase iron levels! I’ve already noticed improvements in recovery and my ability to perform everyday.
InsideTracker provides immediate feedback and recommends foods to improve each of your biomarkers:
- Decrease cortisol levels: salmon, wheat germ, quinoa, brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Boost iron: dark chocolate, mussels, kidney beans, teff, and beef.
- Optimal Vitamin D levels: sockeye salmon, whole milk, eggs, white fish.
- Regulate blood glucose (blood sugar): navy beans, white beans, adzuki beans, avocado, and squash.
- Improve muscle health and decrease creatine kinase levels: mackerel, snapper, beef, dark meat chicken, and eel.
Eating is Training
Triathlon training, and eating for triathlon training, is next level! I’ve surprised myself with the workload that I’m able to handle, and proper fueling is more important than ever. I feed my body with nutrient-dense foods, but I also need to get in a lot of calories. Since moving away from professional running and into the three-sport life, I’ve become less worried about staying super lean, and more focused on giving my body the fuel that it needs to perform. I have three training sessions most days, so I need to make sure that I’m recovering from each workout and priming my body for the next one. With proper fueling, I trust that my body will perform and find a happy weight and composition for my new multi-sport pursuit.
Here’s what a typical day of eating looks like for me. Warning – triathletes eat A LOT:
6:30 wake up, drink a big glass of water
6:45 Breakfast: steel cut oats with berries, banana, almond butter, whole milk, wheat germ, psyllium husks, hemps seeds, chia seeds and COFFEE
8:00 swim session w/ Roctane Energy Drink Mix (Grape)
10:00 Snack: sourdough toast, avocado, eggs scrambled in coconut oil, and water
1:30 Lunch: rice with veggies, adzuki beans, steak and water
4:00 Snack: brown rice cakes with peanut butter, banana, and honey and water
5:00 run session
6:15 Smoothie: Vanilla Smoothie Recovery Drink Mix, almond milk, frozen berries, chia seeds, greek yogurt
7:00 Dinner: quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, salmon, salad (greens, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, white beans, tomatoes, olive oil dressing) and water
7:45 Dark Chocolate