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Triathlon Training Nutrition with Olympian Katie Zaferes

Triathlon Training Nutrition with Olympian Katie Zaferes

Nutrition is commonly known as the fourth discipline of triathlon training. World-class triathletes have to nail their fueling plan in order to compete with the best. Katie Zaferes is an Olympic Medalist, World Triathlon Series Champion, and one of the top ranked triathlete in the world.

Katie has lived all over the United States in the past few years, from Maryland to her tiny house in the Redwoods of California. Now, she’s doing most of her training from her home base in North Carolina, where she can run and bike from her house and the pool is only a short walk away. 

Katie's Training Schedule

Katie doesn’t have one “average” training day, as each day looks different based on her schedule and training goals. On an ideal day, Katie blocks together all of her training sessions in the morning, so that she has time to rest and relax in the afternoon. As a triathlete, 3 sport disciplines is a lot to juggle, especially if she adds in strength training sessions. Sometimes she has to spread her sessions out over the day and proper nutrition is key to keep her going.

With so many different training sessions in each day, proper fueling has to keep Katie feeling strong throughout all of them. When feeling tired or weaker than usual in training, Katie’s first question is whether or not she is eating enough that week. Katie usually fuels all of her training sessions - fasted workouts happen sparingly and typically leave her feeling weaker rather than a stronger athlete. Before and between sessions, Katie uses UCAN Energy Powders to fuel - as well as drinking Watermelon Hydrate to make sure she’s getting enough electrolytes.

During races, Katie is intentional about her nutrition plan. She visualizes the entire race and knows when she might get the chance to get in extra fuel. The triathlon races Katie competes in are fast and aggressive so finding the proper moment to fuel during the race is vital. After drinking Lemon UCAN Energy before her race, Katie doesn’t worry about bonking. While Katie can sip on UCAN Energy while she’s on the bike, she loves that she can pre-load with UCAN to give her a solid base of energy to last her through her two hour races.

Katie knows what it’s like to nail her race nutrition with UCAN - she tells us that in addition to feeling strong, her mental focus and responsiveness is so much higher in the later stages of the race.

Daily Nutrition

Balanced nutrition benefits Katie's lifestyle as well as her training. To support her busy schedule, Katie’s day-to-day nutrition has to be dialed in as well - her meals are well-balanced and fuel her through every session. Her nutrition plan is flexible based on her training schedule. Katie times her meals well around her workouts and is not fearful of supplementing where she needs to, making sure she’s at her best during her many workouts throughout the day.

Here is an example of Katie's nutrition plan on a day of training:


For the first meal of her day, Katie usually has a bowl of oatmeal with a bit of fruit and one scoop of UCAN Protein + Energy. This is a staple meal for her on a daily basis, and starts her morning off strong with a great combination of slow carbs and protein. Sometimes she'll add a spoonful of nut butter for a bit of healthy fats to balance her meal!


Katie's lunches usually focus on a combination of protein and vegetables. Her ideal lunch would consist of an egg scramble with as many vegetables as she has in her fridge, and another protein source like tempeh or ham. She’ll have another bottle of UCAN Energy closer to an afternoon run so that her lunch doesn't sit heavy in her stomach right before the session.


Katie's final meal depends on how hard her training day was. On a heavier training day, her dinner will be a balanced combination of proteins + veggies + carbohydrates. On a lighter training days, she'll create a big mixing bowl full of salad with tons of nutrient dense foods.


After a strength session or on a long car ride, Katie always makes sure to replenish her body with a UCAN Energy Bar and sips of UCAN Hydrate. By refueling and rehydrating, Katie knows that she's setting up her body to get stronger and faster each workout.

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