Essential Sports Nutrition


Ladies Tri Night event recap - fuel efficiently

2011 Ironman World Championship    Kona, Hawaii

The world of endurance sports continues to grow. This is wonderful for the ordinary individual who wants to do something extraordinary with his/her life. From a 5K to marathon to a sprint triathlon to the Ironman, from ultra distance swimming to century rides, there's a sport and a distance to challenge the mind and body, no matter the age or fitness level.

One major problem that is occurring frequently over the past few years is the struggle that many athletes face w/ sport nutrition. I do not feel I need to go into the specific struggles that athletes are experiencing but to mind; bloating, GI distress, rapid decrease in energy, brain fog, cramping, injury, bonking, weight gain, dehydration, ongoing fatigue, lethary and burnout. Nothing that can be pinpointed to one cause but rather, the remarkable connection w/ sport nutrition to training is far too often overlooked either due to lack of education/knowledge, confusion or lack of emphasis/importance.

A decade ago there were less endurance events for athletes to choose from and less athletes competing in endurance event.... thus less tendency for athletes to over train and compare training to others. Certainly the prices were cheaper and the selection of reputable sport nutrition products was slim compared to today.

Now a day, the westernized diet is not supportive of athletic performance gains and because of that, I see a direct connection w/ athletes struggling with sport nutrition. For if the daily diet is not under control, it is extremely difficult to believe that a "perfect" sport nutrition plan or product will allow for performance gains, quick recovery and body composition changes. Sport nutrition companies have confused athletes as to what they need or don't need during training, despite fairly consistent scientific research for athletes, over the past few decades.

But with new science comes more confusion and with excitement for a new distance or event, comes the stress of wondering "why isn't my sport nutrition working for me?"

At Ladies Tri Night, I saved my favorite subject for last....SPORT NUTRITION

As an endurance athlete, living with an endurance athlete and as a coach to endurance athletes.....this is one area when I can proudly say "I know what you are feeling when...."

For if it hasn't happened to me, it likely has happened to Karel or my athletes. Therefore, I find it very important that I provide help to others in the area of sport nutrition.  There's nothing worse than seeing the dreams of an athlete unravel because of not understanding the fundamentals of personalized sport nutrition.

Before I post the following tips for sport nutrition, I will be firm in saying that I truly believe that if you are struggling with your training, struggling with your nutrition (daily or sport) OR doing an event or distance for the first time, I HIGHLY recommend working with a qualified professional to help you create a sport nutrition strategy that will work for you at this point in your athletic career. Realizing that most of us are not professionals, we are doing all this crazy training all for fun, a medal and a t-shirt. We pay money to put our body through a lot of stress on race day and we sacrifice a lot to prepare the body and mind for months and months, all for that single race. Never forget that you are constantly fueling and refueling for your workouts during the day but it is around those 30 minute to 2+ hour workouts that your sport nutrition will enhance training so that you can be consistent on a daily basis.

Before you consider sport nutrition, athlete or not, be sure you are always focusing on your relationship with food.

 1. Forget about diets and calories – eat for fuel and for health

 2. Honor
hunger, control blood sugar, nourish your body

 3. Inspire, don’t lecture

 4. Savor food, don’t devour

 5. Food doesn’t solve
problems - temporary emotional numbness

 6. Eat for nutritional
quality, density and value

 7. Good, better, best
system - progress

 8. Think before you
act – hunger scale

 9. Balance – 365 days in a year

10. Create your positive food environment

What is Sport Nutrition?

     ØNutrition around your workout - pre, during, post
Why do you need to prioritize Sport Nutrition?
Øboost immune system, speed up recovery, provide energy, reduce fatigue, metabolize fuel

ØThe quicker you recover ...... the harder you can work.....the more consistently you can train.

How to NOT be confused by Sport Nutrition - keep it simple. What does your body need based on intensity and volume?
ØFoundation of fueling:
Fluids – 20-28 ounces/hour
Electrolytes – Na, K, Cl, Mg, Ca, NaHCO3
Carbohydrates – 1-1.5g/minute, 30-90g/hour maltodextrin or maltodextrin + fructose
Calories - varies

What you need to consider with Sport Nutrition:
1) All products are designed to match the needs of athletes.
-NO PERFECT PRODUCT but rather products with similar ingredients + that extra something to make it "better than the rest".
2) Laboratory setting, controlled environment, trained or untrained subjects.
-RESEARCH SELLS PRODUCTS. YOUR life is not a research study. Take research into the real world and find what works best for you.
3) Fitness level, terrain, weather, intensity, volume, body size, sweat rate, daily diet.
-CAN’T BLAME EVERYTHING ON NUTRITION. If you didn't train your body to run 7 minute miles off the bike, no amount of nutrition will help you do so in your race.

General Guidelines:
*1-2 hour workout:
1.One bottle fluids per 60-70 min of training (20-28 ounces)
2.Electrolytes (full spectrum) - magnesium, chloride, sodium, potassium, as well as calcium (pills, powders, gels, chews)
3.30-60g of carbohydrates (maltodextrin based) per bottle
carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based)
-water + sport drink

water + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel + solid/chews

4.Fuel frequently and consistently for calories - every 10-15 minutes (regardless of sport, intensity or duration). As tolerated!

If you can't digest the product sitting in your stomach, it won't be absorbed and the body will struggle.
*PRE (~30-60g carbs + a little protein/fat) – as tolerated!
-Examples: Cheerios, shredded wheat, oatmeal + milk
-Grains (bread, rice, pita, waffle, wrap, crackers) + nut butter
-Banana +
hard boiled egg
-8-16 ounces of water (a must to help with digestion!) + coffee
(or tea).
*POST** (recovery snack or meal, protein or protein + carbs) – as tolerated!
-8-12 ounces low fat chocolate milk
-Non fat/low fat milk or protein smoothie (whey or vegan (brown rice/pea)
-Omelet + toast
-Cereal + milk
-Cottage cheese + fruit
-16-24 ounces
water (FIZZ) to replace water/electrolyte loss + coffee

Recovery window is open for 24 hours!

**2:1 or 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein post workout.
on intensity and volume of activity)
*Your nutrition before, during & after training is only as good as your ability to tolerate, digest and absorb nutrition around your workouts.
*Always work your way up in nutrition to discover what works/doesn't work. It is not suggested to make yourself bonk during training, allow yourself to progress slowly, overtime (have back-up).
*For a recovery/off day, the only thing that should change in your diet should be the removal of your “sport nutrition” and macronutrient distribution.
*A well designed, balanced diet keeps you well-fueled, nourished and encourages quick recovery.
*Concerned about sport nutrition calories and weight loss? You are always fueling to prep for another week of quality, consistent training.