Elite Fuelling: Sam Betten

The former dual ITU Australian Junior Elite Champion turned Ironman 70.3 professional triathlete gives the run-down on how he stays fuelled for training and racing


With the long hours spent training I rely heavily upon my nutrition plan. I often spend 6hrs or more training 7 days a week so it is important to be fuelling my body consistently throughout the day.

I have learnt over the years that nutrition and hydration plays a huge part in your performance while training and racing at an elite level. If you are not fuelled right then there is no way you will get what you want from a training session. As my coach Stephen Moss once told me, “you can’t put regular fuel in a Formula One racing car and expect it to work at its potential.”


6am Breakfast 1: 1 cup of oats with low fat milk

7am Swim heart rate 6km with sports drink to sip on during the swim set

9am Breakfast 2: 1 • cups of Muesli with low fat milk or yogurt

9:30am Ride 120km/4 hours with hills. 2x bottles of Dextro Energy sports drink, 2 bottles of water, 2x Dextro sports bars, 2x Dextro Energy gels.

1:30pm Run 30mins/7km straight off the bike

2:30pm Lunch: Turkish bread, avocado, salad, cheese and hummus. Watermelon or other fruit

3:30pm Snack: Banana bread or toast with hummus

6:30pm Dinner: Pasta dish with meat sauce with green salad


Coming from ITU racing which was only 2hrs of racing compared to the world of Ironman 70.3 where events typically last over four hours, I really had to rethink my race-day nutrition.

Most races start very early, so for me I like to get up at least two hours before the start and get some good solid food into me, as during the race most of the calories consumed are through liquid in the form of sports drinks and gels. After this meal I continue to sip on small amounts of water until the race start in order to reduce the chances of stomach issues later on.

The bike leg of a 70.3 triathlon is best described as a rolling buffet and you should be taking onboard calories throughout the entire 90km ride.

Being an athlete that likes to push the pace on the bike, I have to remind myself to keep eating and drinking and pick sections of the course such as small downhills that allow me to do so without losing time.

On the run leg I consume only two gels at 15mins and 1hr but sip on coke and water alternatively during most of the aid stations. If I ever have the feeling of getting a sore stomach I just sip on water alone until this feeling subsides.

Post-race it’s important to get in some solid foods and a big favourite of mine is pizza for lunch. For dinner, I am usually in bed quite early so I only tend to eat small simple meal of usually chicken or meat with some salad.


4:30am Breakfast: 2 slices of rye toast with 1 banana and honey, Dextro Energy sports drink with 4 added salt tablets & Dextro Energy sport bar

7am Race 4x Dextro Energy gels on the cycle leg taken at 15mins, 45mins, 1hr 30mins, 1hr 50mins over the course of the 90km cycle leg. One full bottle of Dextro Energy sports drink with 6 salt tablets. Also 2x Dextro Energy gels, one at 15mins and the other at the 1hr mark of the run leg, while alternating sipping on flat coke and water at the aid stations.

1pm Post race nutrition: Sports drink, protein replacement drink WPI and Sustagen Sport

1:30pm Lunch: Pizza (my favorite post race) with a chocolate milkshake

5pm Dinner: Smaller sized dinner with chicken or steak with salad


You can follow Sam on twitter at @SamBetten