Nutrify Performance Nutrition for Women

Introducing our new Athlete Spotlight Series

Welcome to our new Athlete Spotlight Series! In this exciting new feature, we’ll share the lives & experiences of some of our amazing clients. We’ll explore their backgrounds, from where they live and work or study, to the sports they are passionate about. Each spotlight will reveal their racing journeys, from their beginnings to their proudest accomplishments, and offer a glimpse into their favorite foods and key insights from their nutrition assessments. You’ll discover the impactful changes they’ve made and how these adjustments have boosted their health and performance. Plus, they’ll share their next big goals and offer valuable nutrition advice. Join us as we celebrate these amazing women and learn from their inspiring journeys!

On this #fueledisfast Friday, we are excited to introduce you to triathlete, Santana Silver. Santana recently raced her first Ironman 70.3, landing on the podium with an impressive 3rd age group finish & qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships in Taupo, New Zealand in December. Read on to learn more about Santana!

Where do you live? Boston, MA

Are you currently employed or in school (or both)? I am currently the Assistant Director at the Evans Center for Implementation and Improvement Sciences, a methodological research hub at Boston University and Boston Medical Center. In this role, I lead research on improving healthcare delivery and outcomes in safety net hospital settings. This fall, I will be starting a PhD program in Population Health Sciences at Harvard University to gain expertise on chronic disease prevention in marginalized communities through improved access to nutrition and exercise opportunities. 

What sports do you participate in? My primary sport is triathlon, which is my favorite because I love the varied training across disciplines and tackling the challenges that are unique to multisport. Between swimming, biking, and running, running is my favorite because it’s an invigorating way to interact with nature and the movement is meditative. Outside of triathlon, I also love skiing, hiking, paddleboarding, and yoga!

When did you first start racing? My first race was the Boston Triathlon in August 2021. I didn’t start training and racing competitively until winter 2022. 

What distances have you completed? I’ve participated in super sprint, sprint, olympic, and IRONMAN 70.3 distances. I’m still discovering my strengths as a triathlete to find my niche, but I really enjoyed my first 70.3 race and am excited to hone in more on the long-course distance.  

Where have you raced? Which location was your favorite? My mom lives in Hawaii, which is always my favorite place to race for many reasons: the natural beauty (especially the ocean swims), the heat (much prefer the heat to the cold), and the aloha vibes of the racing community. I’ve also raced all around New England, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, and Maine. I participated in USA Triathlon and Multisport Nationals in Milwaukee and Irving, Texas and a Team USA Challenge Cup in Tempe, Arizona. I’m thrilled to be racing internationally for the first time this year, in Málaga, Spain for the World Triathlon Championship Finals in October and Taupō, New Zealand for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships. 

What accomplishments are you most proud of? One of my major goals of the 2023 race season was to qualify for the 2024 World Triathlon Championship Finals. The plan was to race strong and qualify at USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in August of 2023. However, a week before Nationals I was hit by a car on a training ride, breaking my collarbone and getting severely concussed. Despite this setback, I was able to heal in time (just three months after the accident) to race at a Team USA Challenge Cup: the absolute last chance to qualify for Worlds. I had a podium finish at this race, accomplishing my season goal of securing a spot on Team USA to compete at the World Triathlon Championship Finals! More so than my performance though, I am most proud of my resilience and mental fortitude during my challenging recovery and courage to get back on the bike and continue chasing after my passions! 

What is your favorite food? Least favorite food? Favorite food has to be tacos! Breakfast tacos, dinner tacos, any time of day, any and all fillings! Least favorite food is everything with gluten because I have severe celiac disease! 

What surprised you most from your nutrition assessment? Before my nutrition assessment, I wasn’t aware of the importance of protein intake timing around training. Focusing on 30g of protein intake as soon as possible after exercise has been revolutionary for my training adaptation, performance and recovery. 

What changes did you make based on your nutrition assessment? So many positive changes! The major adjustments included 1) increasing my carbohydrate and protein intake as soon as possible after a training session; 2) adding vitamin C and synbiotic supplements and removing magnesium; 3) scaling up/down the pre-race breakfast meal based on the duration/intensity (eating too much before short course races was causing GI distress!); and 4) increasing electrolyte hydration on the bike and run to meet my hydration needs. In preparation for my first 70.3, we also developed a race week and race day nutrition and hydration strategy, including increasing carbohydrate and reducing fat/fiber intake, sodium preloading, and targeting higher carb intake the first half of the bike then tapering through the run. 

How have the changes you’ve made influenced your health & performance? The changes have influenced my health and performance dramatically! Before my nutrition assessment, I was at risk for low energy availability (LEA), which was detrimental to both my health and performance. After increasing my overall energy intake, specifically focusing on additional carbs and protein in and around training, I felt physically and mentally stronger and experienced much quicker muscle recovery and fewer injuries. Adding a pre and probiotic and reducing magnesium intake contributed to healthier digestion and GI patterns. Lastly, implementing changes to my pre-race meals and race nutrition/hydration tailored to race distance has greatly reduced GI distress before, during, and after races and improved my overall race day performance. #fueledisfast 

What is your next big goal? We’re already halfway through the year, but I still have big goals for this season! My next IM 70.3 is Oregon on July 21, where my goal is to PR and have a podium finish. At the USA Triathlon National Championships in September, I hope to finish top 10 and secure a spot on Team USA for the 2025 World Triathlon Championship Finals. At 2024 World Triathlon Championship Finals in October and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in December, I just hope to have strong PR races and see where I stack up at the international level. More importantly than these event oriented goals, my primary aim with this sport is to train and race with passion in a healthy body that inspires others!

What nutrition advice would you give to other athletes? The top nutrition advice I would give other triathletes is to invest in a nutrition assessment and counseling with a professional. Nutrition and hydration is highly individual, so the best way to identify and address gaps and room for improvement is with a thorough nutrition assessment. From there, you can create a tailored plan that meets your individual nutrition and hydration needs, training structure, and race goals! 

We are so proud of Santana! And she’s just getting started! Keep an keep an eye out for her on a podium near you!


Sign up for the Nutrify News, our email newsletter, and receive a free recipe high protein recipe pack, full of delicious and nutritious meal ideas.