Triathletes need protein primarily to maintain muscle and bone strength and repair and rebuild muscle broken down during exercise, as well as producing hormones and enzymes. Protein can also slow down the digestion of carbohydrate, thereby further sustaining energy levels.

Not stored in the same way as carbohydrate, we need to eat sources of protein regularly, best done as part of small meals spaced throughout the day.

How much protein do you need?

The daily recommended intake of protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight, 1.2-1.4g for endurance athletes, and 1.4 to 2g for strength training athletes.

I’m not a huge fan of protein powders. They invariably contain added sugars, artificial flavourings and thickeners. Real food protein sources give you a more balanced nutrition.

An egg for breakfast, for instance, followed by a bowl of natural Greek yoghurt with seeds, a handful of nuts as a snack washed down with a glass of milk, and a curry with chicken breast or tofu and lentils will give you 60-80g protein in your day, as well as important fibre, vitamins and minerals, fats and carbohydrate.

Eating a combination of carbohydrate and protein after exercise will maximise the body’s ability to recover and this is super-important if you’re training regularly; 1 part protein to 3 or 4 parts carbohydrate is recommended, depending on the type and intensity of your training.

If you’re out and about, be wary of buying ‘sports nutrition’ in the form of a protein bar: many of them have a truly shocking list of ingredients! So try making your own instead…

I created these bars to give you 10-15g protein per 50g bar, as well as carbohydrate, healthy fats and fibre. I’ve boosted the protein from the nuts and seeds with soy protein crispies. These have a crunchy texture rather like rice crispies!

Top image credit: GoFaster


  • 1 x 397g can of condensed milk
  • 1 heaped tbsp crunchy, wholegrain peanut butter
  • 80g mixture of pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds
  • 20g poppy seeds
  • 50g protein crispies
  • 150g chopped dried fruit (I used dates, sultanas and cranberries)
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 240g porridge oats (half jumbo, half standard)


  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1. Grease and line an 18 x 25 cm baking tray.

  • STEP 2

    Pour the condensed milk into a saucepan and gently warm through. Stir in the peanut butter.

  • STEP 3

    Add the rest of the ingredients and spoon into the baking tray.

  • STEP 4

    Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.


Kate PercySports nutrition cook and author

Sports nutrition cook and keen amateur athlete Kate Percy set up the #GoFaster campaign in 2009 and, following the publication of several sports nutrition books, now produces a range of all-natural energy balls, Go Bites (