Triathlon is now considered to be one of the fastest growing sports around and fellow mid-life challenged souls such as me represent the fastest growing group taking up the sport. According to USA Triathlon magazine’s Tim Yount, many of these are long time athletes who like the idea of switching from one to three sports because it offers variety and also puts less strain on muscles and joints.

How to prepare? Nutritionist though I am, there’s always a place for new inspiration and triathlon and the training regimen required when I decided to give it a go posed varied challenges on what to eat and when to support optimum performance.

One of the most interesting blogs I looked to for inspiration was that of Brenden Brazier, a professional “Ironman” triathlete. Ironman is a likely 8+ hour exercise in self-flagellation. The training required to perform at this level in such a sport is daily and significant, several hours in the pool, on the bike and pounding the road. Yet Brazier is a staunch vegan; a pro-athlete who eats no animal produce whatsoever.

Much like the ethos of a detox, where “lightening the load” on the body involves going raw and vegan, Brazier adopts the same approach to his body and sees it as the secret of his success.

He fends off the protein-rich posturing of the muscle-bound gym goers by disavowing the need for eggs, fish, meat and replacing them with culinary delights such as green shakes with ingredients such as spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae. Mind you the daily shop is a challenge, given he regularly burns upwards of 3,500 calories a day in training.

Brazier’s dietary shopping requires both commonplace and obscure items such as brown rice, yellow peas and hemp, which, when combined, provides a balance of amino-acids (the building blocks of the body) that can compete with anything the animal kingdom can offer.  

Before you decide to jump the vegan bandwagon it pays to recognise that in Brazier’s plan, there’s no room for being a junk-food vegan. Even though foods such as white bread, sugar and carbonated beverages are free from animal produce, they are still acid-forming, a bit no-no for this superhuman. Caffeine is too, darn it...

Whether you are planning to try out a vegan diet, or joining the triathlon trend, Brazier is a true inspiration.