The key nutritional supplements for triathletes

In the sport endurance, the physical effort is higher than the average for other sporting activities. It is a sport that demands a lot of energy and therefore your body must comply with several nutritional aspects. For this reason, in this post we are going to discover the key supplements in sports nutrition for triathlon.

The reasons for taking sports supplements can be several:

  • There is a large energy consumption: in all the tests (swimming, cycling and running), the effort is made aerobically, which means that specific sports supplements provide a greater resistance, mainly during exercise.
  • It involves muscle wasting : during cardiovascular exercise there is a lot of muscle wasting. That is why supplementation will be essential.

The key supplements in triathlon

Triathletes are high performance athletes who need a balanced and adequate diet to optimize their performance. Nutritional supplements can be a good option to complement the daily nutrition of triathletes and improve their performance.

Among the most recommended supplements for triathletes are the following:


Protein is essential for the repair and construction of muscle tissue, making it an important supplement for triathletes. The most common options are whey and soy protein, although there are also vegan ones. At Herooj we include this key ingredient in our Recovery Porridge, perfect to drink before or after a competition of this caliber.


Creatine is a supplement that helps to improve muscle strength and endurance, which can be very useful for triathletes. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, creatine supplementation improved the performance of triathletes in endurance events.

It is a natural compound that is produced in the body from amino acids, although it can also be found in foods such as red meat and some fish. Creatine is found primarily in muscles as "free" creatine or as phosphocreatine, where it plays an essential role in enhancing exercise and movement.

Creatine supplementation increases the amount of creatine in the body by up to 30%. There are many different types of creatine available on the market, but the simplest and most researched form is creatine monohydrate, or creatine monohydrate.

At Herooj we have included it in the hydration range, to improve the intake of mineral salts before, during and after the race. It is one of the most popular supplements among athletes, and unlike many of the supplements on the market, it has an excellent evidence base for its positive effects on athletic performance and metabolism. Although creatine has a much more positive impact in explosive sports.


Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps delay muscle fatigue and improve endurance performance. According to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, beta-alanine supplementation can improve performance in high-intensity endurance tests.

In fact, su inclusion as one of five performance-enhancing supplements with sufficient evidence to support its use in the recent International Olympic Committee consensus statement suggests yes. But what is beta-alanine, what does it do, and in what situations could someone benefit from this popular supplement? The scientist Asker Jeukendrup explains it very well.

The interesting concept to understand the action of beta-alanine in the body is carnosine, a dipeptide formed by the amino acids histidine and beta-alanine. It is found predominantly in muscle, suggesting that it plays an important role during exercise. Carnosine may play several physiological roles, although its function as a muscle shock absorber is widely accepted as its predominant role during high-intensity exercise. This means that it can buffer the hydrogen ions (H+) that are generated during anaerobic glycolysis; these H+ contribute to muscle acidosis which can lead to muscle fatigue.

Therefore, increasing muscle carnosine content may improve muscle pH regulation, which could lead to improvements in exercise performance which is limited by the accumulation of these H+.

The results of the study led by Asker J. suggest that high-intensity exercise lasting 30 s to 10 min is the time period most likely to benefit from beta-alanine supplementation. This includes but is not limited to sports such as 100m and 200m swim, 4km bike time trial, 2000m rowing and 800m run. Exercise of less than 30 s is not of sufficient duration to be affected by muscle acidosis, while resistance exercise is also less likely to be affected due to its more aerobic nature.


Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can improve physical and mental performance in triathletes. According to a systematic review published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, caffeine supplementation can improve performance in endurance tests.

To understand the effect of this plugin, one must know how it works:

Caffeine has been studied to improve performance in a variety of sports and types of exercise through three potential main mechanisms:

Adenosine blockade

Caffeine has a chemical structure that is similar to a molecule called adenosine. This molecule occurs naturally in the body and is responsible for the feeling of tiredness, fatigue and even pain when it binds to its receptors in the brain. Simply put: more adenosine means more fatigue. Due to the structural similarities between caffeine and adenosine, caffeine can prevent adenosine from binding to these receptors, which reduces feelings of tiredness and pain. This effect of caffeine is often called the central effect: an effect on the brain

Increased muscle calcium release

Caffeine increases the release of calcium from muscle cells. This release is responsible for the contraction of the muscle. Caffeine supplementation was thought to increase muscle force production because of this

Effects on catecholamines

Caffeine can stimulate the breakdown of triglycerides (the storage form of fat). The fatty acids that are released can be used for energy. In addition, caffeine can cause an increase in the family of hormones called catecholamines, which includes the "fight or flight" hormone adrenaline (also called epinephrine). Increased catecholamines can also increase breakdown of fats.


It is important to mention that each triathlete is different and has specific nutritional needs, so it is recommended to consult with a nutrition professional before taking any supplement. Also, it is important to remember that supplements should not be a substitute for a balanced and adequate diet.

In summary, nutritional supplements can be a good option to complement the diet of triathletes and improve their performance. The most recommended supplements are protein, creatine, beta-alanine and caffeine, but it is recommended to consult a nutrition professional before taking any supplement.


Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: https://journals. lww. com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2010/01000/The_Effects_of_Creatine_Supplementation_on. 2 aspx

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: https://journals. lww. com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2007/02000/The_Effects_of_Beta_Alanine_Supplementation_on. 15. aspx

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: https://journals. human kinetics. com/view/journals/ijsnem/28/5/article-p519. xml

Butts J, Jacobs B, Silvis M. Creatine Use in Sports. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 10(1):31-4, 2018

Asker J. https://www. mysportscience. com/post/beta-alanine

Asker J. https://www. mysportscience. com/post/how-does-caffeine-work

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