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Keep Your Fueling on Track During the Offseason

By Brooke Schohl | Dec. 19, 2016, 5:38 p.m. (ET)


Cold weather is here and your triathlon season may be on hiatus. So, what does this mean for your fuel plan? Don’t fret: you can still eat well and enjoy seasonal comfort foods. The following fueling strategies will help you remain fit and feeling great during the offseason.

Scale Back a Little

If your fall “A” race was a longer course race, like an IRONMAN or half-IRONMAN, you bumped up calories significantly to fuel your workouts and aid in recovery. Now that the workouts have dropped off, you can decrease calories as well. Be careful not to cut back too much, your metabolism is still revved up and you are probably still active and burning calories. Maybe try eliminating one daily snack or that second serving at dinner.

Stay Active

Let’s be honest here, cold weather makes most of us want to be inside by the fireplace, snuggled up under blankets with eggnog. But don’t forget to keep that body moving with some great cross-training, such as hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, skiing/snowboarding, etc., depending on where you are in the country. It’ll keep extra pounds at bay, as well as make your transition back into training next year that much more enjoyable.

Eat Balanced

Because so many of our food choices are blood sugar-spiking carbs, make a conscious effort to include protein and fat with all the carbs. This goes for snacks, meals, even desserts.


Snack: pair that banana or apple with nut butter to add quality fat and a little protein

Meals: add avocado and black beans to scrambled eggs, or spinach and a sweet potato to a grilled salmon filet

Desserts: include some nuts with high-carb (and high sugar) treats to negate the blood sugar spike. And consume these sparingly.

Try Healthier Takes on Old Favorites

Instead of traditional mashed potatoes, give cauliflower-mashed potatoes a try. Will people notice? And maybe instead of loading on more carb-y chips and crackers as dip vehicles, give raw veggies a try. There are lots of so delicious substitutions that can be made that are as good (if not better) than the original. And if some items just aren’t as good with substitutions, go ahead and splurge. But again, moderate the amount you consume so you feel satisfied, not guilty after the fact.

Is the offseason a time to kick back, relax and gain 15 pounds? No way! It’s a time to refresh and rejuvenate for the upcoming season. Enjoy the food and drink, just keep it within reason. It’ll make getting back into the old routine come spring time that much easier.

Brooke Schohl, MS, RD, CSSD, METS II is a sports dietitian and the owner of Fuel to the Finish Endurance Nutrition Coaching in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is an avid triathlete, having completed triathlons of all distances including three IRONMAN races. She integrates that personal experience and knowledge into developing customized, fat-burning fueling plans for her clients. If you need help preparing for that “A” race, Brooke is your girl. For more information on services and offerings, visit her website at

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.