This article is presented by Certified Piedmontese Beef.
Everyone trains their bodies differently for their run/walk and the optimum diet varies from person to person. Everyone has different nutrient and energy needs that make them feel better, recover faster, and perform at their peak. If you've been racing for some time, you've probably experimented with different diet plans to find the best one for your body.
Dede Griesbauer is the oldest actively racing professional triathlete, a three-time IRONMAN Champion, and a Certified Piedmontese ambassador. We chatted with her below for her thoughts on the unique Piedmontese beef below.
What does a "good" diet mean to you?
“At its most basic level, food sustains human life, but I find my motivation to eat comes from two places: performance and pleasure. To that end, I make food choices based on what will make me the most successful athlete I can possibly be and what tastes good and makes me happy. Sometimes the two go hand in hand, like Certified Piedmontese beef. It's higher in protein and iron and lower in fat than traditional beef. It also tastes good, which makes me happy! What I eat can't always be both healthy and taste good, so if I eat food that I know is good for me but that I don't prefer, I will reward myself afterwards with a sweet treat that makes me smile. Everything in moderation, I say.”
What's your take on nutrition as it relates to athletic performance?
“I have learned first-hand that it's critical. Sure, in the short term, you can cut corners, be lazy, and make poor choices here and there, but compounded over time, poor nutrition habits will limit peak performance. As my nutritionist explained, you can drive a Ferrari, but if you don't put good fuel in the tank, it will handle like a jalopy.”
What's one of your nutritional pain points?
“Typically, it's under-fueling. My days are incredibly busy. There are many days where I have workouts stacked one on top of one, on top of another. I may have a call with a coaching client wedged in the middle of a physio appointment. I'd get to the end of the day and realize I hadn't eaten a meal since breakfast. When training the volumes and intensities that I put out day in and day out, you simply can't get behind. It takes better planning and learning what good "go-to" meals and snacks are, which aren't high maintenance but give you a good bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking.”
What do you think about lean proteins and sustainable food sources?
"Lean protein is a critical part of my diet. As endurance athletes, carbohydrates fuel us, but lean proteins rebuild us. Most of my daily meals include carbohydrates paired with a source of lean protein, which is easy to digest and helps repair and rebuild my body for the next training session. Athlete or not, everyone should consume a diet of foods brought to market with production processes that have little or no impact on the environment. It's another reason why my relationship with Certified Piedmontese is so special. They do things differently than other producers. Their cattle never receive antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products, or steroids and they use a great deal of solar energy production and pride themselves on a sustainable approach to ranching.”
What do you love about Certified Piedmontese lean beef?
“Before I was introduced to Certified Piedmontese beef, getting me to eat beef was like getting a child to eat lima beans. I could only eat it on certain nights because I'd have to think about the next day's workouts. Commercial beef would sit in my stomach and wouldn't digest well. I'd feel heavy and bloated. It tastes stringy and chewy, and while I knew it was "good for me," the process wasn't enjoyable.
Certified Piedmontese beef is so lean; it digests as easily as a plain chicken breast would. It's tender and tastes just so good. It’s been a real game-changer.”
What’s your favorite steak cut?
“I love my filet mignon. It's sanely sized, and I love its tidy, round cut. It's a perfect little package. Filet mignon gets snubbed a lot by critics claiming it's overhyped and lacks flavor compared to other cuts. I couldn't disagree more (though it is pricey)! I find it incredibly tender and flavored. You can dress it up with any sauce, and it won't be offended, but it stands up naked as well.”
As a 16-year pro, what's something you’ve learned that you would like to share?
“There are so many ways to get better as an athlete, whether you are a professional or not. We all look to train harder or longer, but there are gobs of ways to improve. Ask yourself: What if I train the same but improve my recovery by going to bed 30 minutes earlier? What if I train the same but dedicate 30 minutes a week to mental training to make myself more confident and poised out on the racecourse? What if I train the same but dedicate 15 minutes on a Sunday to meal planning for the week so I'm not eating cereal for dinner because I didn't plan ahead? I think that's why I'm still thriving as a 51-year-old professional. I'm still finding ways to improve.”
What are your goals for this season?
“My goal day in and day out is to be healthy, strong, and consistent in my training. That tends to yield the best race results! It's no secret that at 51, I'm well past my "use by" date, but I thrive on seeing what is still possible, competing against women half my age. At 51, I'm still finding ways to get better, and that's exciting.”
Griesbauer sums it up: “If you had told me 20 years ago I'd have a beef company as a partner as a professional athlete, I'd have probably laughed. I was and still am a super picky eater but learned through a series of injuries and setbacks that good nutrition equals better performance. The key is to find foods that work for you. Certified Piedmontese works for me. It's a great source of protein and iron in a lean, easy-to-digest package. I'm so pleased to have been introduced to this terrific brand and to use it to find the best version of myself on the racecourse.”
Ultimately, the importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated. A well-planned diet that strikes the elusive balance between health, strength, training load, and intensity could make all the difference in crossing that finish line. As triathletes, you require a high intake of nutrient-dense foods to fuel and recover after training, but it doesn’t mean you have to eat something you don’t enjoy. Fortunately, Certified Piedmontese is more than up to the task.
Certified Piedmontese beef naturally includes a higher protein-to-calorie ratio and more beneficial nutrients for faster recovery. A cut of Piedmontese beef is 30% lower in fat and calories than average beef, yet higher in protein. Certain Certified Piedmontese cuts have even earned the American Heart Association's "Heart Healthy" seal of approval.