While swimming, cycling and running put the "tri" in "triathlon," athletes and coaches in the sport know there's a bit more that goes into crossing the finish line. Often considered the fourth sport, diet and food choices play a huge factor not just in overall performance, but longevity and staying healthy too.
But with so many diets and recipes, where should you start? How do you know what will compliment your hard-training endurance lifestyle?
Luckily, many of the top-level endurance athletes and nutritionists have taken the guesswork out of the equation. From offering vegan options to quick energy-packed bites, we've listed seven of our favorite triathlete-friendly cookbooks that will help take your performance to the next level.
All that's left now is to try a few for yourself.
Thrive Energy Cookbook
By Brendan Brazier
While some diets come and go, a plant-based diet has been steadily increasing in popularity in the endurance space in recent years. The "Thrive Energy Cookbook" takes this trend to heart by offering 150 plant-based recipes that are vegan, allergen-free and packed with all the required nutrients for triathletes. Don't let the vegan-ness deter you, the recipes are delicious and easy to make—be sure to try the plant protein-packed Vanilla-Almond-Mocha Motivator Smoothie.
Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.
By Shalane Flanagan, Elyse Kopecky and Alan Weiner
In "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.", four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan and chef Elyse Kopecky have compiled over 100 nutrient-laden personal recipes designed to help athletes succeed and stay healthy. Many of these recipes require little prep time and are perfect for triathletes with busy schedules who are looking for wholesome meals with real ingredients.
Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure
By Matthew Kadey
With a name like "Rocket Fuel," what's not to love? Written by award-winning dietician Matthew Kadey, this cookbook is the ultimate go-to for grab-and-go food choices to fuel all your swimming, cycling and running workouts. Instead of reaching for an artificial gel, these smoothies, wraps and bars are more nutritious and simply taste better.
Feed Zone Table
By Allen Lim and Biju Thomas
If you don't know Dr. Allen Lim or Chef Biju Thomas, you should. They're both local Boulderites who wrote the ultra-popular Feed Zone Cookbook that's been championed by amateurs and professionals alike. In a similar vein of creating athlete-friendly meals, the Feed Zone Table is all about dinner—bringing people together around a table full of healthy, optimized dishes. This one's all about sharing, so gather your friends, pick a few of the 100-plus recipes and enjoy!
Racing Weight Cookbook
By Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear
Matt Fitzgerald is somewhat of a legend in the endurance space. He wrote many books, including "The Endurance Diet to 80/20 Triathlon," but his "Racing Weight Cookbook" is one of our favorites. Designed to be a companion for his weight-loss program, Racing Weight, this cookbook offers 100 recipes that are light, lean and designed for athletes, by athletes—all with the right mix of carbs, fat and protein.
The Athlete's Palate Cookbook
By Yishane Lee and Runner's World
Made famous by the monthly column in Runner's World magazine, "The Athlete's Palate Cookbook" has taken recipes written by chef-athletes (Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Jacques Torres) and paired them with over 60 all-new recipes for all phases of endurance training and racing. These recipes make for quick meals with limited ingredients, all designed for optimal fueling without sacrificing taste.
By Laurel Wassner, Rebeccah Wassner and Melissa Lasher
Not technically a cookbook per se, but Athlete Food has long been a favorite. Managed by former professional triathletes (and twins) Laurel and Rebeccah Wassner, as well as travel and food writer Melissa Lasher, Athlete Food provides easy recipes for athletes on the go without sacrificing quality or fresh ingredients. We've featured several of its recipes in the past (does Melissa's Stovetop Fajitas ring a bell?), and the site is constantly being updated with everything from snacks to main dishes.
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