It’s one of the most important questions facing any athlete in the days, hours and minutes leading up to a triathlon – what should I eat and drink?


With TriYAS by Daman’s Activelife just three weeks away, a nutritionist at National Health Insurance Company – Daman; the sponsor of the event through the company’s health initiative “ActiveLife”, has come to the aid of the anticipated 1,500 participants in the UAE’s beginner-friendly triathlon, many of whom will be competing in a multi-sport event for the first time.

Areen Abu hejeh, Nutritionist and Programmes Marketing Executive at Daman, has come up with a host of top tips that covers everything from general nutrition advice to fuelling up with pre-race meals to helping sore muscles recover after the race.

“Correct nutrition is the most critical component of any athlete’s preparation and training,” she said. “There is simply no way that you can hope to achieve your best if your diet is poor - even if you train hard. It’s not simply a case of burning off the calories in certain foods – you can’t avoid the other harmful effects they might have.”

Leading up to race day on February 17, Areen advised competitors to avoid strenuous activity the day before to ensure their stores of energy-producing glycogen aren’t depleted. The traditional pre-race day pasta party at Yas Marina Circuit is a perfect way to stock up on energy-rich pasta and steamed vegetables.

With TriYAS by Daman’s Activelife starting in the afternoon, participants will be faced with tough decisions over what to eat in the hours before they dive into the waters of Yas Marina.

Areen, who is among the 20 per cent of registered participants taking part in their very first triathlon, said it is important to fuel up 30 minutes to one hour before the event with a meal containing complex carbohydrates and proteins, such as peanut butter, yogurt and fresh fruits.

During the race itself, competitors should ensure they stay hydrated with water or a homemade electrolyte drink containing water, orange juice, baking soda and a pinch of salt.

After triathletes cross the finishing line, they might be tempted to put their feet up and take a well-earned rest. But to ensure muscles recover, Areen advises athletes to have a protein-rich meal containing items such as eggs, grilled chicken, quinoa, beans, and vegetables within an hour of working out.

And in terms of general health advice, Areen has a simple message to UAE residents: “If everyone could follow just one piece of nutritional advice, it would be to avoid food and drink that is high in sugar.

“It’s always best to know what you’re eating, where it came from and how it’s beneficial to your body. And it’s important to pass on your nutritional knowledge to friends and family to increase awareness about what’s good and bad for you.”

TriYAS by Daman’s ActiveLife includes two distances for adults: the Olympic category, with a 1,500-metre swim, 38-kilometre bike race and 10-kilometre run and the shorter Sprint category, involving a 750-metre swim, 22-kilometre bike course and 5-kilometre run.

The event will include KidsTRI for children to test themselves over a 100-metre swim, nine-kilometre cycle and a 1.5-kilometre run. The triathlon also includes a female-only category and a star-studded pro field.

The dedicated TriYAS training programme is already in full swing with cycling and running at Yas Marina Circuit, swimming and running at NYU Abu Dhabi, cycling at the Al Wathba purpose-built track, and running at Yas Island and Khalifa City.

Participants are also taking advantage of an eight-week training programme provided by Haddins Fitness. In addition, TriYAS is making available Personal Performance training tips video content through YasTV YouTube Channel.


About Yas Marina Circuit:

Yas Marina Circuit is the United Arab Emirates’ most exciting sporting and entertainment multi-purpose venue.  Located on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the circuit is home to the annual FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX and much more.  In addition to the extensive year-round program of professional and grassroots motorsport events and experiences including Drag and Yas Track Nights, the circuit has emerged as a thriving hub for entertainment and community events in the UAE. As the region’s most technologically advanced facility, the circuit is also a leading MICE venue, regularly hosting a diverse range of corporate meetings, conferences and events.  Whether you want to experience the thrill of karting at our Kartzone, driving an Aston Martin GT4 at over 200km/hour on an F1 circuit, work towards your racing license at the Yas Racing School, get fit at StartYAS, TrainYas or GoYas, participate in one of our many sporting events, or simply catch up with friends at Yas Central, Yas Marina Circuit truly is The Meeting Place of Champions.


 About the National Health Insurance Company – Daman

The National Health Insurance Company – Daman is the region’s leading specialised health insurer, providing comprehensive health insurance solutions to more than 3 million members in the UAE.

Over the years, the company has been the partner of choice for a number of the country’s most prominent organisations and multinational companies in various industries including oil and gas, aerospace, energy, construction, investments and media.

Daman is a public joint-stock company that is 80% owned by the Abu Dhabi Government with the remaining 20% owned by Munich Re. The company is backed by the reliable support of the Abu Dhabi Government and its strategic partner, Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, plays an important role as both reinsurer and a valuable source for knowledge transfer.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi and established in 2006, Daman offers a range of health insurance plans for both individuals and organisations and exclusively manages the Government’s health programme – Thiqa – for UAE Nationals and Abu Dhabi Basic Plan – for low income expatriates. Members enjoy access to the largest healthcare providers’ network in the UAE and an extensive international network of over 45 countries.

Daman, a pioneer in health care insurance, drives innovation through a combination of state-of-the-art technology and healthcare-related expertise offered by a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Members benefit from added value through unique offerings such as the disease and case management programmes as part of the acclaimed Health Support services. Daman also operates a 24/7 customer call centre and has a medical services authorisation team in direct contact with Daman’s network of healthcare providers. It also provides a diverse range of online services that are unmatched in the UAE.

Daman has set high standards in the health insurance industry and has been awarded a number of internationally recognised awards and quality-focused certifications in a relatively short span of time. The company is certified ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems and ISO 22301 for Business Continuity Management System.


Source: Seven Media