Editor's note: Each year CNN picks six viewers to be a part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge program. Follow the "Sassy Six" on Twitter and Facebook as they train to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on September 14.
(Triathlete.com) -- A solid nutrition strategy will help your body make the most out of all your hours swimming, biking and running.
We asked registered dietitian and multiple Ironman finisher Lauren Antonucci for her top nine rules for beginner triathletes looking to maximize their training. She shared advice she gives many of her multisport athletes through her business, Nutrition Energy in New York City.
1. Keep a food log
Keep a food log for 3 to 5 days at least twice per year for a nutrition "reality check." Seeing your habits written down may clue you in on what you might be missing or going overboard on.
2. Eat carbs
You should be consuming carbohydrates every day, with most meals and always before and after workouts.
3. Don't forget your fruits and veggies
Although we've heard this over and over, sometimes you get busy and produce is the first thing to slip out of your diet. Eat 2 to 3 fruits and 4 to 6 vegetables per day to optimize your weight and nutrient intake.
4. Be realistic about weight loss
Losing five pounds in 5 to 6 weeks is possible; 10 pounds in two weeks is not. When you're looking to shed weight, slow and steady really does win the race, especially when you're eating to support your training.
And don't be fooled by weight loss ads or supplements. Gimmicks do not work!
5. Recover right
Consume half a gram of carbs per pound of body weight, and 15 to 20 grams of protein within 60 minutes after training sessions or races.
6. Follow the 10% rule
No matter what your nutrition and health goals are, 10% of your total daily calories can come from splurges, treats or desserts. This keeps your glass of wine, square of dark chocolate or ice cream cone guilt-free, but also within your nutrition budget.
7. Plan healthy snacks
Two minutes per day is enough time to pack two nutritious snacks, and will save you hundreds of unwanted calories that you'd end up eating if you were not prepared with your own.
8. Know what's off limits
Avoid foods that are high in fat and fiber for both your pre-race dinner and morning-of breakfast to keep your gut happy during the race.
9. Eat the morning of
Eat breakfast 2 to 3 hours before your race to allow ample time to consume adequate calories and digest them before you toe the starting line.
For more beginner tips, visit Triathlete.com.
© 2011 The Competitor Group. All rights reserved.