Through trial and error I learned a tough lesson. Ironman requires a healthy balance act with nutrition. Just because I burn thousands of calories during training weeks or 8,000 – 10,000 on race day, doesn’t mean I can eat junk.
At times cupcakes sound great for breakfast.
Electrolytes, here’s why it’s important to balance them.
Our body is made of 75% water. That water separates and dissolves minerals and salts, which form electrolytes. Electrolyte particles are positively and negatively charged, and that charge conducts electrical current in water.
The current enables electrolytes to distribute fluids throughout the body. They transports nutrients into cells or transport wastes out of them. Electrolytes help relax and contract muscles. They transmit nerve impulses, control blood pressure, and determine the acidity or pH of some fluids and blood.
Properly balanced electrolytes are vital to our health and survival.
When imbalanced electrolytes can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, or muscle cramping. I’ve had four of those negative reactions during an Ironman race – hence, my desire to understand this balancing act to prevent that happening again.
Here are four options that help me balance electrolytes:
- Eat 4-5 servings of veggies and fruit each day. According to LiveStrong, the most replenishing balance of electrolytes include tomatoes and bananas, although water-laden fruit, such as watermelons, apples and pineapples, are also beneficial in maintaining electrolytes.
- Take salt tablets. I use MetaSalt by Carbo Pro. Here’s a trick. During long runs I put MetaSalt in a Mentos’ candy container. The container is comfortable to hold and easy to open when running.
- When exercising for more than an hour, I use an electrolyte replenishment, i.e.
- During 50+ mile rides I use Hammer’s Perpetuem. Because I sweat so much and on those hot training days, I add 1-3 teaspoons of salt in the mix. In fact during those rides I am addicted to Hammer’s Orange Vanilla flavor mixed with salt.
Here’s an idea to drink in.
That is often forgotten, as Jacques Yves Cousteau said; We forget that the water cycles and the life cycle are one.
Here’s the connection.
Ironman has five stages: swim, bike, run, nutrition, and transition. Life also has stages.
A child’s priorities are different then a young adult, which is different then a senior citizen. Depending on the stage one may focus on commitments and mid-life, while others focus on mortality and legacy.
Whether racing or living – I happen to think they’re one in the same – each stage becomes stronger through balance and discipline.
The Balancing Point
- If your goal is to finish a full Ironman in sub 13-hours, yet you only train for a sprint triathlon, then you’re off kilt.
- If your goal is to commit to a loving relationship, but you can’t commit to loving yourself, then you have a case of blinded love.
- If you want to live with peace yet you won’t forgive someone, then you’re standing on shaky ground.
In short, if you feel offset, do something about it.
Life is good with a healthy balance.
Always tri. Never stop.