Off-Season Nutrition Adjustments...


By Alex Larson, MS, RDN, LD

Should you change your diet in the off-season?

During the in-season of training, nutrition needs are high! It’s common for triathletes to take in anywhere from 2,500-3,500+ calories daily and will have higher protein needs to support muscle recovery. And when transitioning to a less active off-season, it’s important to evaluate your needs to dial nutrition back for this period of the year. 

The off-season is important to give yourself a mental and physical break. However, it’s not always easy to shift back to eating like a normal person who doesn’t train hours and hours each week. 

Here are three tips to adjusting your nutrition in the off-season:

1) Keep the high-quality foods, but cut back on the portion sizes. ...

It's not what you're eating that you need to change in the off-season, it's the volume and portion sizes. You simply don't need as much because you're not training at that high level anymore. For example, if you usually have a large bowl of rice with your burrito bowl, trim back that portion size but keep the protein, beans and veggies about the same.


2) Be mindful of snacking!

After months of eating snacks every couple hours, it’s important to remain mindful of your hunger levels and not just eat because it’s been part of your routine the past eight months. 

I’m all for snacking, but only when you’re actually hungry and need it to hold you over until your next meal. 

And, what works best for a snack? Something that offers both carbs and protein. 


3) Think about what your goals are for the off-season. 

Is your goal to maintain your body composition? Is it to gain some lean muscle and strength through resistance training? 

This is where nutrition can play a key role in setting your body up for pre-season and ultimately a very strong in-season. Focus on those everyday eating now so that you can build off those habits once training officially begins. 

Trying to establish a training routine in January while also struggling to reset your eating habits post-holidays can be a challenge. Get a head start with: Hydrating well. Eating adequate protein throughout the day. Fruits and veggies. And being consistent with balanced meals and snacks. 


 Alex Larson is a registered dietitian and age-group triathlete. When she crossed the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin in 2014 she felt her calling and launched Alex Larson Nutrition to help endurance athletes fuel their body for better performance and improved body composition through a flexible eating style. Alex lives near Duluth, Minnesota with her husband and two little boys. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok @alexlarsonnutrition and at alexlarsonnutrition.com