There's no such thing as "three meals per day"
Alyssa Godesky, a professional triathlete who specializes in the Ironman distance, eats two breakfasts every day, then lunch, snacks, dinner, and sometimes a dessert. But she doesn't think it's weird. Actually, no triathlete I talked to thought these meals were weird. They're just part of a normal day for someone training for an Ironman.
"If I'm hungry, I eat. If I'm doing a lot of working out, I eat a lot," said Godesky. And she definitely does a lot of working out.
Godesky has a system down for making sure she gets enough calories to keep the fires burning. Every morning before her swim workout, she eats a quick breakfast of an English muffin with peanut butter, two homemade "energy balls" of oats and peanut butter, and at least one cup of coffee.
After swimming, it's a second breakfast stop for a bagel with egg, cheese, avocado, and more coffee. Then she'll have another snack before her second workout: either leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or a second bagel and cream cheese.
Once she finishes her second workout, it's time for a protein shake and a real lunch. Often, that'll be Chipotle. "I've been known to eat Chipotle two times a day, for days in a row, when left to my own devices," she said. But if she's at home, then she'll throw together a grilled cheese, avocado, and chicken sandwich, with some chips, or possibly cook a pizza.
If there's a third workout, she'll snack on pretzels or almonds or Cheez-Its beforehand. For dinner, she and her boyfriend will either go out a couple times each week, or she'll make what she calls Pasta Alyssa, "AKA throwing in whatever veggies are in the fridge into a pot of pasta, add some kale and beans, and boom, dinner," she said. Add some peanut butter to ice cream, enjoy a beer with dinner, and you've got a professional Ironman diet.