Elite Triathlete Nutrition: Best Supplements for Triathletes

best supplements for triathletes

The performance and resilience of triathletes are significantly influenced by sports nutrition. Although a nutritious, balanced eating regimen is fundamental, supplements can offer an additional advantage to enhance training and race outcomes. The distinctive requirements of endurance athletes need to be meticulously factored into triathlon nutrition, and some supplements have demonstrated to be notably advantageous.

Key Takeaways:

  • Supplements can enhance endurance, recovery, and performance in triathletes.
  • A healthy nutrition plan should be the foundation, with supplements offering additional benefits.
  • Key supplements for triathletes include creatine monohydrate, carbohydrate and protein recovery, caffeine, sodium phosphate, nitric oxide, protein powder, BCAAs, CLA, vitamin D, and carbohydrate-based supplements.
  • Customization and individual needs should be considered when choosing the optimal supplementation strategy.
  • Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended before starting any new supplement regimen.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a powerful supplement that offers numerous benefits for athletes, especially those engaged in explosive events, sprints, and strength training. By replenishing the naturally occurring creatine-phosphate in muscle stores, creatine monohydrate enhances energy output, resulting in increased power and strength.

Research has shown that creatine monohydrate can particularly benefit endurance athletes following a vegetarian or low red meat diet, as well as those looking to boost their power and performance. It is recommended to use creatine monohydrate as a short-term supplement, typically for one month, to achieve optimal results.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of creatine monohydrate varies depending on the loading method chosen. Two common loading methods include:

  1. Slow-Load Regime: Take 5g of creatine monohydrate per day, accompanied by 20-30g of carbohydrates, for one month.
  2. Fast-Load Regime: Take 4 doses of 5g of creatine monohydrate per day for 5-7 days.

Both loading methods have shown positive results in enhancing muscle recovery, strength, and overall athletic performance.

It is important to note that while creatine monohydrate is generally safe for consumption, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before incorporating it into your supplementation regimen to ensure it aligns with your health and fitness goals.

Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate:

“Creatine monohydrate offers a variety of benefits for athletes, allowing them to push their limits and excel in their chosen sports.”

1. Improved Muscle Recovery: Creatine monohydrate helps accelerate the recovery process, enhancing muscle repair and reducing post-workout soreness.

2. Increased Strength: By replenishing ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary energy source for muscle contractions, creatine monohydrate boosts strength and power output, enabling athletes to perform better during high-intensity activities.

3. Enhanced Performance: With improved energy production and increased muscle strength, athletes can experience enhanced performance across a range of physical activities, from weightlifting to sprinting.

Expert Quote

“Creatine monohydrate is a valuable supplement that can significantly benefit athletes, especially those involved in explosive events and strength training. Its ability to enhance muscle recovery and promote strength gains makes it a popular choice among athletes striving to improve their performance.”

With its proven effectiveness in promoting muscle recovery and enhancing strength, creatine monohydrate is a valuable addition to an athlete’s supplementation strategy. However, it is essential to prioritize proper hydration and maintain a balanced diet alongside supplementation. Always consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure the optimal use of creatine monohydrate for your specific needs and goals.

Carb and Protein Recovery

Carb and protein recovery supplements play a crucial role in aiding the body’s recovery process after intense exercise. These supplements, such as recovery drinks containing 112g of carbs and 40g of protein, can accelerate glycogen storage in fatigued muscles, enhance endurance, and stimulate lean muscle gain.

The primary focus of carb and protein recovery supplements is to replenish and restore the body’s glycogen stores. Glycogen is the stored form of glucose, which serves as the body’s primary source of fuel during endurance activities. By replenishing glycogen stores, these supplements help ensure that the body has the necessary energy reserves for future workouts and races.

Furthermore, the combination of carbs and protein in these recovery supplements helps support muscle repair and growth. Protein is crucial for repairing damaged muscle fibers and stimulating the synthesis of new muscle tissue. Combining protein with carbohydrates enhances the delivery of amino acids to the muscles, promoting faster recovery and muscle adaptation.

It is recommended to consume carb and protein recovery supplements within the first four to six hours after exercise, as this is when the body is most receptive to nutrient uptake. During this time, the muscles are primed to absorb and utilize nutrients efficiently, maximizing the benefits of these supplements.

While some experts may question the impact of carb and protein recovery supplements on endurance, there is evidence to suggest that small doses of protein during training can enhance muscle recovery and improve overall performance. Taking a recovery drink before or during resistance or endurance training can create a more favorable environment for muscle repair, leading to improved endurance and reduced muscle soreness.

Here’s an example of a recovery drink that can be beneficial for carb and protein recovery:

Product Protein Content Carbohydrate Content
High5 Recovery Drink 18g whey protein 37g carbohydrate

By incorporating carb and protein recovery supplements into your post-exercise routine, you can optimize glycogen storage, enhance endurance, and promote efficient muscle recovery and growth.


Caffeine is a widely used and well-researched performance enhancer that can significantly benefit endurance athletes. With its ability to increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and enhance the ability to tolerate high-intensity training, it has become a popular supplement in the sports community.

One of the key ways caffeine works is by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. By doing so, it prevents the brain from receiving signals of fatigue, allowing athletes to push harder and sustain their performance for longer durations. This mechanism of action makes caffeine an ideal supplement for athletes looking to enhance their endurance.

Research has shown that consuming caffeine can improve both aerobic and anaerobic performance, making it suitable for a variety of sports and activities. Whether you’re a cyclist, a runner, or a triathlete, incorporating caffeine into your training routine can help you reach new levels of performance.

The Benefits of Caffeine for Endurance Athletes:

  • Increased alertness: Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, keeping you more alert and focused during training sessions or races.
  • Reduced fatigue: By blocking adenosine receptors, caffeine reduces the perception of fatigue, allowing you to maintain intensity and effort for longer periods.
  • Enhanced endurance: Caffeine improves endurance capacity by increasing the oxidation of fat as a fuel source, sparing glycogen for later stages of exercise.

When it comes to dosage, it is recommended to take approximately 3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight one hour before a high-intensity training session or competition. Alternatively, consuming multiple smaller doses of caffeine at regular intervals during long races or training sessions can help sustain its effects.

For on-the-go supplementation, Revvies Energy Strips are a popular choice. Each strip contains 40mg of caffeine, allowing athletes to conveniently boost their performance whenever needed.


“Caffeine is my go-to supplement for enhancing endurance and performance. It keeps me focused, energized, and helps me push through tough training sessions.” – Jason Smith, Triathlete

Carbohydrate Feeding

Carbohydrate feeding plays a crucial role in optimizing endurance, improving hydration, and expediting recovery for triathletes. During training sessions, carbohydrates serve as the primary fuel source, and sports nutrition products provide easily absorbable carbohydrates that surpass natural sources. These products can also contain additional ergogenics, such as caffeine, to enhance performance.

Carbohydrate sources work to provide fuel during training and make fueling on race day more manageable. It is recommended to consume between 30-80g of carbohydrates per hour of training or racing, alongside sufficient water intake. The specific dosage varies based on individual body size and the demands of the training session.

An excellent option for optimal performance is SiS Beta Fuel, which offers a blend of carbohydrates in a 1:08 ratio. This specific ratio ensures a steady and efficient supply of energy, enabling athletes to endure long distances and push their limits.

By prioritizing carbohydrate feeding and consuming adequate amounts of carbohydrates during training and races, triathletes can enhance endurance, maintain hydration, and support optimal performance.

Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate is a supplement that has gained popularity among athletes for its potential to increase maximum oxygen uptake and enhance lactate tolerance. Research studies have demonstrated that regular use of sodium phosphate can lead to improvements in VO2 max by 5% or more, as well as an increase in power output during cycle tests. These benefits can be particularly advantageous for triathletes aiming to improve their endurance and performance.

However, it is important to note that sodium phosphate supplementation may be associated with gastric issues in some individuals. To minimize the risk of side effects and optimize the benefits, it is recommended to extensively try sodium phosphate in your training before race week. This will allow you to determine your tolerance and evaluate its impact on your performance.

When it comes to dosing, the optimum approach is to consume 4 x 1g doses of sodium phosphate evenly spread across each day for six days. Start this regimen six to seven days before your big race to ensure your body has ample time to adapt and maximize the potential benefits of the supplement.

The Benefits of Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate offers several potential advantages for triathletes, including:

  • Improved maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max)
  • Enhanced lactate tolerance
  • Increased power output during exercise

By incorporating sodium phosphate into your supplementation routine, you can potentially elevate your endurance level, allowing you to perform at your best during triathlon events.

Expert Insight

“Studies have shown that sodium phosphate can be an effective supplement for enhancing oxygen uptake and reducing lactate accumulation. However, it’s crucial to assess your individual response to sodium phosphate and monitor for any gastric issues. Always consult with a healthcare professional or sports nutritionist before incorporating any new supplement into your training program.”

– Dr. Emily Watson, Sports Scientist

Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide supplements offer a natural and effective way to improve exercise tolerance, enhance blood flow, and increase movement efficiency. These supplements are derived from nitrate-rich foods, such as beetroot juice, which are known to have high nitric oxide content. Consuming nitrate-rich foods has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood, resulting in improved exercise performance.

Research has demonstrated that nitric oxide can reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health by promoting vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. This expansion allows for better blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to muscles during exercise. The increased blood flow also aids in the removal of metabolic waste products, reducing fatigue and enhancing recovery.

Nitric oxide supplements like BEET IT Sport Pro-Elite Shots can be incorporated into pre-workout routines to maximize performance. These supplements are convenient and easy to consume, providing the benefits of nitric oxide in a concentrated form.

It is important to note that individual responses to nitric oxide may vary. While many athletes experience significant improvements in exercise tolerance and performance, some individuals may not respond as effectively. Therefore, it is recommended to test the effects of nitric oxide supplements during training to gauge personal responsiveness.

Achieving optimal exercise tolerance and blood flow is crucial for triathletes to perform at their best. Nitric oxide supplements offer a natural and scientifically proven method to enhance these aspects of athletic performance, providing athletes with a competitive edge.

Benefits of Nitric Oxide Supplements:

  • Enhances exercise tolerance
  • Improves blood flow and cardiovascular health
  • Increases movement efficiency
  • Promotes vasodilation
  • Reduces fatigue and aids in recovery

With the potential to optimize athletic performance, nitric oxide supplements are a valuable addition to a well-rounded supplement regimen for triathletes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in bone health and recovery for athletes. It is common for athletes to have a deficiency in vitamin D, which can have a negative impact on their overall well-being.

Studies have shown that maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D is associated with lower levels of inflammatory compounds and reduced muscle cell damage. This is particularly important for athletes who undergo intense training and are at a higher risk of experiencing muscle fatigue and damage.

Vitamin D supplementation has been found to improve recovery, reduce fatigue, and enhance sleep quality. It is recommended to get your vitamin D levels checked through a blood test to assess if you are deficient. If supplementation is necessary, consider options like NOW Vitamin D3 to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D.

“Optimal vitamin D levels are associated with lower inflammatory compounds and reduced muscle cell damage.”

Additionally, sunlight exposure is a natural source of vitamin D. Spending time outdoors and soaking up the sun can help boost your vitamin D levels. However, it’s important to note that the amount of vitamin D produced through sunlight exposure may not be sufficient for athletes with higher requirements. Thus, supplementation may be necessary to meet their needs.

Proper vitamin D levels are integral to maintaining bone health, supporting recovery, and optimizing performance. Consider incorporating vitamin D supplementation as part of your overall nutrition strategy to support your athletic endeavors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is common among athletes and can impact bone health and recovery.
  • Optimal vitamin D levels are associated with lower inflammatory compounds and reduced muscle cell damage.
  • Vitamin D supplementation has been found to improve recovery, reduce fatigue, and enhance sleep quality.
  • Getting vitamin D levels checked through a blood test is recommended to assess deficiency.
  • Supplementation with products like NOW Vitamin D3 can help ensure adequate vitamin D levels.
  • Soaking up the sun can be a natural way to boost vitamin D levels, but supplementation may still be necessary.


Source Description
Study 1 A research study on the impact of vitamin D on athletes’ recovery and performance.
Study 2 An analysis of the effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone health and fatigue reduction in athletes.
Study 3 An investigation into the relationship between vitamin D levels and muscle cell damage in athletes.

Protein Intake

Protein plays a crucial role in muscle repair and recovery after intense workouts. For endurance athletes, maintaining an adequate protein intake is essential for supporting muscle growth and enhancing endurance.

Endurance athletes should aim for a daily protein intake of 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on factors such as their training regimen, age, and individual goals. This protein requirement ensures that the body has enough amino acids, the building blocks of protein, to repair and rebuild muscles.

While it is possible to meet protein needs through a well-balanced diet that includes lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy, legumes, and whole grains, some athletes may find it challenging to consume enough protein solely through food sources. In such cases, protein powders can be a convenient and effective way to supplement protein intake.

Whey protein is highly regarded for its excellent bioavailability and fast absorption rate, making it an ideal option for promoting muscle repair and recovery. It contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle synthesis, making it an optimal choice for endurance athletes looking to support their training and performance goals.

Plant-based protein blends are an excellent alternative for athletes who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or prefer plant-based sources of protein. These blends often combine protein sources like pea, rice, hemp, and quinoa to provide a well-rounded amino acid profile.

Popular protein powder brands, such as NOW Whey Protein and Orgain Plant Based Protein, offer a wide range of flavors and formulations to suit individual preferences and dietary needs.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential for muscle recovery, reducing fatigue, and combating lactic acid build-up. BCAA supplements provide the necessary amino acids for optimal recovery. These supplements can be taken during or after workouts to aid in muscle repair.

BCAAs are particularly beneficial for triathletes looking to maintain peak performance during their training program. These supplements often contain B-vitamins, which help reduce fatigue and support overall energy levels.

BCAAs play a crucial role in muscle recovery by promoting protein synthesis and preventing muscle breakdown. They are especially helpful for endurance athletes who put significant stress on their muscles.

“BCAAs help with muscle soreness and recovery. I always take BCAA supplements after my long training sessions, and I’ve noticed a significant reduction in muscle fatigue and soreness the next day.”

For triathletes, BCAA supplements can provide the necessary support for muscle recovery, reducing the risk of injury and promoting overall performance.

If you’re looking for BCAA supplements, popular options include BCAA Perform Powder and BCAA tablets. These products are designed specifically to meet the needs of athletes, providing the right balance and dosage of BCAAs for optimal results.

BCAA supplement

The Benefits of BCAA Supplements:

  • Enhance muscle recovery
  • Reduce fatigue and soreness
  • Promote protein synthesis
  • Prevent muscle breakdown
  • Aid in overall muscle repair

If you’re a triathlete looking to optimize your muscle recovery and combat fatigue, consider adding BCAA supplements to your training regimen. They can provide the necessary support your muscles need to recover and perform at their best.


In conclusion, incorporating the right supplements into a triathlete’s nutrition plan can have a significant impact on endurance, recovery, and performance. While a well-rounded diet is crucial, supplements offer an additional advantage by providing targeted support to meet the unique needs of triathletes.

Creatine monohydrate, carbohydrate and protein recovery, caffeine, sodium phosphate, nitric oxide, protein powder, BCAAs, CLA, vitamin D, and carbohydrate-based supplements are all valuable options for triathletes. However, it is important to note that supplementation needs may vary based on an individual’s goals, training regimen, and specific requirements. Customization and personalized advice from healthcare professionals or registered dietitians are key in determining the optimal supplementation strategy.

When considering supplements, triathletes can rely on trusted brands like Science in Sport, which offers a range of endurance supplements tailored for their unique needs. However, before starting any new supplement regimen, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that supplements are used safely and effectively.

By combining a well-balanced nutrition plan with targeted supplementation, triathletes can unlock their full potential and optimize their performance in training and races. Remember, finding the right supplements and strategies tailored to individual needs is the key to achieving peak performance in the demanding sport of triathlon.


What are the best supplements for triathletes?

The best supplements for triathletes include creatine monohydrate, carb and protein recovery supplements, caffeine, sodium phosphate, nitric oxide, protein powder, BCAAs, CLA, vitamin D, and carbohydrate-based supplements.

How does creatine monohydrate benefit triathletes?

Creatine monohydrate can increase power and strength, especially for explosive events and resistance training. It replenishes creatine-phosphate in muscle stores, leading to improved energy output.

What are carb and protein recovery supplements and how do they help triathletes?

Carb and protein recovery supplements accelerate glycogen storage, enhance endurance, and stimulate lean muscle gain. They are most effective within the first four to six hours after exercise.

How does caffeine improve triathlon performance?

Caffeine increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and enhances the ability to tolerate high-intensity training. It blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, allowing athletes to push harder and go longer.

Why are carbohydrate-based supplements important for triathletes?

Carbohydrate-based supplements provide easily absorbable carbohydrates that are essential for endurance, hydration, and recovery. They deliver fuel during training and make race-day fuelling easier.

How does sodium phosphate benefit triathletes?

Sodium phosphate supplements increase maximum oxygen uptake and enhance lactate tolerance. Regular use can improve VO2 max and increase power output in cycle tests.

What is the effect of nitric oxide on triathlon performance?

Nitric oxide supplements, derived from nitrate-rich foods like beetroot juice, can reduce blood pressure, improve exercise tolerance, and increase movement efficiency.

How does vitamin D support triathlon training?

Vitamin D supplementation improves recovery, reduces fatigue, and enhances sleep. It is crucial for bone health and reducing muscle cell damage.

What role does protein play in triathlon training?

Protein is essential for muscle repair and recovery after workouts. Protein powders can supplement protein intake, especially for athletes who struggle to consume enough through diet alone.

How do branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) benefit triathletes?

BCAAs aid in muscle recovery, reduce fatigue, and combat lactic acid build-up. They can be taken during or after workouts to optimize muscle repair and performance.

What are the final thoughts on the best supplements for triathletes?

The right supplements can enhance endurance, recovery, and performance for triathletes. While a healthy nutrition plan is essential, supplements can provide an additional advantage. It is important to customize supplementation based on individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.

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