Power to Weight Ratio: Triathlon Nutrition

The triathlon off-season is here. Does your off-season represent inactivity? Have you identified specific areas you need to improve in? Do you have an off-season triathlon training plan? More to the point do you have an off-season nutrition plan?

During the off-season, you do need time for recovery especially if you’ve had a busy and hopefully fruitful triathlon season. For the majority of triathletes, however, the recovery period need not last for more than 4 weeks. Therefore, after the first month of the off-season it is time to develop and execute an off-season triathlon training and nutrition plan! If you’re serious about improving your triathlon performance for the next season, the off-season is the best time to work on specific areas of your performance development program (PDP). The majority of triathletes, for example, would benefit from improving their power-to-weight ratio (PWR). The off-season is the optimal time to do this, and nutrition plays a major role in this improvement!

PWR is the power a person generates divided by their body weight. Although less important in the swim due to buoyancy, PWR is an important predictor of running and especially cycling performance. It is also known as strength-to-weight ratio. You can raise your PWR by becoming lighter and maintaining or gaining muscular strength or as I like to say, by becoming leaner and meaner. Many triathletes can improve their PWR simply by decreasing their percentage of body fat, while maintaining lean mass, through “effective weight loss” (EWL). The prescription for EWL involves a controlled-calorie nutrition plan, low-to-moderate intensity aerobic exercise, and resistance or strength training.

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