Spartan Race Diet Plan: The Guide to Fueling Performance

Training for the Spartan race? 

It’s the right time to start a spartan race diet program. 

Consider these: “Nutrition can be one of the most vital tools to success in training and the race you want to win,” according to SGX coach Matt Bouback.

Matt Bouback is the creator of Power Combat Fitness in Belvidere and Byron, Illinois. 

An expert in fitness nutrition suggests that new spartans start sprucing their diet at least a month before the race. 

But don’t believe that abstaining from eating Cinnabon is all you need to change your diet. 

You must eat smartly almost all the time to enhance your results with food.

For instance, Bouback says, “there is no fuel source that is more efficient than carbohydrate intake. 

However, excessive carbs consumption may cause water retention and weight gain that could affect performance.”

In the same way, although there’s a lot of discussion about the advantages of increasing fats to stimulate the body to use them as a primary energy source, the reality is that it isn’t feasible, according to Bouback. 

“Putting the body in the state of ketosis (a metabolic state where fats provide a portion amount of energy sources instead of glucose) could take as long as 30 days or more and could have a short-term adverse effect on performance while the body adjusts.”

Then there’s protein. 

Bouback suggests that excessive protein consumption could result in weight gain since our bodies store the protein as fat, which is later broken into glycogen (a process known as the gluconeogenesis process).

How do you consume food like the Spartan and create your spartan race diet as an essential part of your arsenal for racing?

Spartan Race Diet Plan

Spartan Race Diet Plan

Endurance events test even the toughest. 

These race events are not just physically demanding but mentally demanding too. 

This is why knowing the most effective food items to incorporate into your diet is essential to achieving maximum performance. 

As a certified dietitian, my role is to demonstrate to you how vital nutrition is in feeding your beast, for example, these Spartan food items for racing.

My husband and I are Spartan racers, so I am aware of these races’ physical toll on your body. 

This makes it more crucial to fuel yourself with the best-nutritious Spartan race food. 

So, I asked my husband to be the guinea pig for my “eating to increase endurance” study. 

Be assured that I checked with three sports dietitians to ensure I followed the right track when I put together the most effective spartan race-related food. 

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Here are their answers and an insight into the spartan race diet.

Spartan Race Diet

Best Diet For Spartan Race

“Fueling during an obstacle course is exactly like other endurance races. Strength in the upper body is more crucial in obstacle races, which is why you’ll need sufficient carbohydrates before and in the middle of the race to fuel these massive muscles,” says Torey Armul, M.S., R.D. As the representative for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., a sports dietitian and the proprietor of Nutrition as Natalie, agrees with Armul’s comment: 

“Both are very similar. Spartan races aren’t without obstacles, meaning the training can comprise more upper-body strength workouts than traditional braces. 

Thus, I’d recommend some extra protein to workout days like an extra piece of meat or chocolate drink at the end of an exercise session.” 

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to the most effective Spartan race food. 

According to Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., and representative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nutritional needs of athletes are different based on the body’s fat ratio and training goals.

“Due to the differences in testosterone and hormone levels, females generally have between 6 and 11 percent more body fat than males and generally need fewer overall calories than a male sportsperson,” she explains. 

“Women also have greater requirements for iron, as they lose iron every month during menstrual cycles.”

Armul advises female athletes should focus on eating iron-rich food items during their training sessions like legumes, lean meats, fish, fortified grains, and leafy greens as part of the balanced spartan race diet. 

For an event that is 20 miles or more with more than 50 obstacles, two Armul and Rizzo both agree in the case of spartan race food, simple easy-to-digest carbohydrates that contain the addition of protein are a great fuel source. 

They suggest replenishing every hour with an electrolyte-carbohydrate beverage, gels, gummies, or other simple sugars during the event. 

After the race, it’s important to maintain the correct level of protein and carbs in your body. 

Alongside the Spartan food items you consume during the race and when you consume them, particularly after a race, is crucial. 

It is recommended to consume the protein you need within 30-60 minutes of your race, whether that’s the form of a “convenient shake, protein bars that contain protein powder, or a full meal that contains the equivalent of 20 grams of protein or higher” Armul says.

Below are the most popular Spartan race foods that helped fuel my husband’s best performance.

Before Spartan Race Meal

Best Spartan Race Diet
  • One slice Whole-Grain Bread
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Cup of Milk

Around 60-90 minutes before the horn, that will start the game, and it’s time for sharing a toast. 

Not the bubbly toast (sorry). If you prefer whole-grain or white bread is up to you. 

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In terms of fueling your sporting events and Spartan race food specifically, certain individuals prefer bread with lower levels of fiber. 

But, if bread made from whole grains can be a great choice for you and does not cause stomach upset, you should continue eating whole grain bread before heading towards the start line. 

During Spartan Race Meal

  • Gatorade
  • Snack Bar Bites

We’ve tried all kinds! 

Candy, gels, and pouches, in the end, all-cause digestive discomfort. 

The best source of nutrients that gives him a quick energy boost is the KIND Pressed snack bars packed with a mix of 100 percent fruit and vegetables. 

Each bar contains 17g of natural sugar and can be digested easily while on the go. 

Cutting these Spartan food items into pieces, he consumes around one bar every hour, along with his Gatorade. 

He consumes it each 20 mins to replenish electrolytes.

After Spartan Race Meal

The Best Spartan Race Diet Plan
  • Protein Shake
  • Roasted and Salted Pistachios in Shelled Pistachios

This is often the toughest moment for athletes to eat healthy food. 

My husband is always focused on cooling his body and monitoring his statistics that it’s a fight to eat healthy at the proper time for his recovery needs. 

Of all the Spartan food options for race, the simple shake of protein is the best option, particularly when we’re away from home and do not have the equipment to prepare. 

Whey protein, the protein used in many shakes, is bioavailable throughout the body, which helps strengthen muscles and provides the necessary nutrients fast in recovery.

With more than 30g of high-quality protein, a shake of protein can be enjoyed with some roast and salted Pistachios. 

One ounce of salted and salted pistachios contains 300 mg of potassium and 160 mg of sodium. 

These are vital electrolytes to help maintain the balance of fluids.

Bonus: Pistachios naturally have antioxidants that give them green and purple hue.

Spartan Race Diet Plan Tips To Crush It On The Course

#1 Be In A Healthy Balance

Diet Plan For Spartan Race

Although Bouback says the spartan race diet can differ based on the individual’s goals and training intensity, he suggests an overall mix of fifty percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 20% fats. 

The primary ingredient in all food items will be “quality.”

Qualitative carbs include Quinoa (which must always be immersed in water) and rolled oats.

Also as well as sweet potatoes and fruits like citrus fruits and blueberries. “I always suggest that you exceed daily guidelines for vegetables like broccoli due to the low Glycemic Index and fiber amount,” Bouback says.

Good protein sources: Beans, eggs, soy, eggs, cheese, seafood, milk, and white meat poultry. 

“Buy organic whenever feasible,” he advises, especially if you’re incorporating meat into your spartan race diet.

Qualitative fats: Unsaturated fats include avocado and nuts like cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and flaxseed, and olive and Canola oils.

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#2 Don’t Skip Meals

Diet Plan Spartan Race

According to Boubeck Boubeck the biggest error people make before race day is not balancing their level of training with their nutrition needs. 

Not eating breakfast or having limp lettuce at lunch will not make the race.

“Your metabolism functions as a flame, and to keep it is burning, you have to feed it regularly like you would firewood on a real flame,” he says. 

“Someone trying to achieve the target of running a Spartan Race will need to realize that eating healthy foods regularly can help boost their workout and recovery and efficiency.”

#3 Throw Out The Chips

Boubeck employs “chips” to refer to a generic term for all nutritionally contaminated food. 

“Chips and many processed foods are not beneficial for your body. 


Begin by clearing out your pantry and getting rid of everything and anything that doesn’t aid in achieving your objectives. 

In no way do I suggest that you don’t buy something that you like every once in a while. 

However, I am saying to stop purchasing things that aren’t worth your money. 

If it’s in your kitchen, the chance of it making it to your mouth is very high.”

#4 Create A Plan To Achieve Your Goals

Knowing why you’re participating in a Spartan Race and revising your everyday meals is equally crucial in ensuring you’re getting enough nutrients, Boubeck says. 

“Some people are stepping up from their couch to race for the first time. Moving them from their comfort zone to racecourses is an overwhelming experience. These people are also dedicated to a healthier way of life and achieving two objectives.”

To that end, it is recommended to begin with a solid plan four weeks before the big race. 

“Make sure your nutrition matches your performance during training and the race. 

This can help in assisting your behavior to aid you in crossing the finishing line.”


  • Sophie Hayward

    Sophie Hayward is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Florida and a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With over 5 years of experience in the nutrition field, Sophie is an expert in weight management, chronic disease prevention, and overall health and wellness. As an author at FitGAG, she shares her knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including nutrition plans, healthy recipes, and overall health and wellness tips. Sophie believes that a balanced approach to nutrition is essential for overall health and well-being, and she strives to inspire her readers to make sustainable lifestyle changes that promote optimal health. Through her articles, Sophie aims to empower her readers to achieve their nutrition goals, overcome challenges, and enhance their overall quality of life.

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