How Much Should a
By Bob Seebohar
of the most common questions I get from endurance athletes
and triathletes specifically, is how much should they be eating to support their
training and have enough energy to do well. As a result, I
have written this article to provide you information about
how much you (as an endurance athlete) should eat each day
with one goal in mind: to improve athletic performance. I
will address race nutrition and recover nutrition in
The predominant energy
system for endurance athletes is aerobic with brief,
intermittent involvement of aneaerobic energy systems.
Actual energy expenditure depends on the intensity,
duration and type of activity. Exercise intensities may
range between 50-90% VO2 max for events lasting up to 17
hours, with the total energy expenditure ranging between a
couple of hundred calories to tens of thousands of
calories per day.
stress of triathlon training can decrease appetite,
resulting in reduced consumption of calories and
carbohydrates. Inadequate energy and carbohydrate intake
can lead to chronic fatigue, weight loss and impaired
the following are daily dietary recommendations for
1-10 grams per kilogram (kg) of body weight (more for
longer days and vice-verca)
1.2 – 1.6 grams per kg of body weight per day
1 gram per kg of body weight per day
a minimum of 10-12 cups of water per day
you weigh 160 lbs (72.7 kg), you would need the following:
509 – 727 grams(2036 – 2098 calories)
87-116 grams (348 – 464 calories)
73 grams (657 calories)
gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
gram of protein = 4 calories
gram of fast = 9 calories
kilogram = 2.2 pounds
course, these numbers are strictly guidelines as each
athlete is different and requires different types of
nutrition. Keep in mind the following before putting
together your training diet:
what training cycle are you?
many hours per week are you training?
what distance are you trainig?
medical and health history
allergies and intolerances
likes and dislikes
all, the goal is to match energy intake to energy
expenditure during training so that we have enough energy
day after day to put in the quality workouts.
Seebohar, MS, RD, CSCS is the Performance Director at the
Colorado Center for Altitude Training and Performance (ATP
Center) in Evergreen, Colorado.
The ATP Center provides training, coaching,
physiological testing and nutrition services for all ages,
types and abilities of endurance athletes.
Bob Seebohar, MS,
RD, CSSD, CSCS has been a USA Triathlon certified coach
since 1999 and is one of the first USA Triathlon Certified
Level III Elite Coaches in the United States. He has
worked with beginners to Olympians and currently
specializes in working with advanced to elite athletes.
Bob was on the Performance Coaching team for Susan
Williams, 2004 Olympic Triathlon Bronze medalist, as he
served as her strength coach and sport dietitian during
her journey to becoming the first United States athlete to
medal in Olympic Triathlon.
He blends his extensive education with his experience as
an athlete, exercise physiologist, sports dietitian and
Bob has a Bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sports Science
with a concentration in Wellness Program Management, a
Master's degree in Health and Exercise Science and a
second Master's degree in Food Science and Human
Bob is also the author of the book
Periodization for the Endurance Athlete
Bob can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org