|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.
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
What is Sport Nutrition?
ØNutrition around your workout - pre, during, post
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?
1) Fluids – 20-28 ounces/hour
2) Electrolytes – Na, K, Cl, Mg, Ca, NaHCO3
3) Carbohydrates – 1-1.5g/minute, 30-90g/hour maltodextrin or maltodextrin + fructose
4) Calories - varies
What you need to consider with Sport Nutrition:
-NO PERFECT PRODUCT but rather products with similar ingredients + that extra something to make it "better than the rest".
-RESEARCH SELLS PRODUCTS. YOUR life is not a research study. Take research into the real world and find what works best for you.
-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.
45-90g carbs (maltodextrin + fructose based)
-water + sport drink
-water + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel
-Water + sport drink + gel + solid/chews
REMEMBER: DIGESTION + ABSORPTION = ENERGY
If you can't digest the product sitting in your stomach, it won't be absorbed and the body will struggle.
-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).
-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.
(depending on intensity and volume of activity)