Case Study - Nutrition, Fueling and Hydration August 23, 2019 16:22 Updated Not a Member yet? $25/month Get Purple Patch Education Membership, A complete performance education program for coaches and athletes. SUBSCRIBE You need to sign in to view this page. Dr. Stacy Sims sat down with guest blogger and athlete, Matt Borowski, to discuss the fourth discipline: Nutrition. PPF: Stacy, nutrition gets a lot of attention but there is also a lot of confusion when it comes to both race day fueling and hydration but also healthy eating in everyday life. For the purposes of this case study, we'll assume the following: An amateur female triathlete with other work and life commitments who has roughly 15 hours per week to train. At a high level, how should she think about the food she eats in everyday life and then juxtapose that to her hydration and fueling for training and racing? Stacy: At a high level, it is still complex. The foundation of any good training program is how well you recover. Recovery is not just food, but sleep and relaxation. If you don't eat well, you can't sleep or relax. The undercurrent of it all is how your body handles cortisol. AKA - the stress hormone/belly fat hormone. If you don't use nutrition smartly, then your baseline levels of cortisol elevate which, in turn, affect DHEA- the key hormone co-factor of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone A good platform of nutrition is to eat "low on the food chain"-For example, lean protein (animal, dairy, vegan), whole grains (note here, grains are carbohydrates, but not "the evil body fat maker" that the media have portrayed), a wide variety of colours from fruit and vegetables (whole forms, not juice!). The latest trends - HFLC (high fat, low carb), Paleo, intermittent fasting - have garnered lots of press, but these are not good for women (they backfire and can cause body fat gain, fatigue, and predispose women to overtraining and adrenal fatigue, as there is a baseline carbohydrate intake needed to support the female physiology). When we try to add in training and race fueling+hydration plans, there tends to be two camps - one where the athlete tries to maintain the whole foods, no sugar intake ideal and the other where there is a complete separation from real food and health and using full sugar/additive/chemical oriented sports nutrition. The true ideal is in the middle: using low fibre, low to no fructose based foods for fueling and when hitting a low point, relying on quick hits of sugar (Coke, glucose tablets, jelly beans, energy chews) is how the athlete should roll. Relying solely on engineered nutrition (gels, sports drinks, liquid calories/ fructose+maltodextrin based calories) will definitely lead to the IM shuffle (either through blood volume loss power-decline or GI distress). Simplistically, hydrate through watery fruits and veggies, teas, mineral waters, soups throughout general life, and hydrate with a low carbohydrate functional hydration beverage during training (not one sweetened with sugar substitutes!); then fuel for your body's needs - both in general life and while training and racing. PPF: You've talked about how important (and easy) it is to read labels when buying packaged sports drinks and foods. Let's assume the athlete knows to steer clear of maltodextrin and fructose and to look for products made with a combination of glucose and sucrose. What are some of the sugars out there with glucose or sucrose bases one might find on a packaged sports food? Stacy: Glucose is also known as dextrose (monohydrate), glucose syrup, corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup), tapioca dextrose or tapioca syrup and grape sugar. Sucrose is also known as cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, beet sugar (from sugar beets), maple syrup/maple sugar, sugar, malt, malt syrup, molasses. *Note: agave/agave nectar is a high fructose containing sugar - more fructose than high fructose corn syrup. PPF: Matt Dixon often talks about post workout refueling as one of the basics that an athlete needs to nail. Can you briefly describe what good post workout refueling entails for varying levels of sessions, e.g. a 2hr aerobic bike ride, a 1hr interval session at the track, a 90min swim session with plenty of intensity and then maybe a 4-5hr ride with with 1hr run off the bike? Stacy: All of them require 20-40g protein within 30 minutes of completion. But you can split meals here to keep the calorie intake in check. For the 2hr aerobic ride and the pool session, have the protein component of your next meal within 30 minutes of completion, then the rest of your meal within 90-120 minutes post. For the track and brick sessions, this is where a protein recovery drink or nonfat greek yogurt can work well (Note: nonfat after training to facilitate getting out of your stomach and into your system, 2%+ is great at all other times). The reason for this is that often after a hard track or brick session, it is hard to eat - the stomach isn't quite so ready to have real food but the protein component in that tight window is critical; thus a drink or easy to eat protein source like yogurt becomes an athlete's go to. PPF: During the 30 minute refueling window, it is often said that a 3:1 or even a 5:1 ratio of carb to protein is preferred. Can you delve more into this refueling window and talk about what we should be taking in and why? Stacy: Wrong ratios! This is where the two camps of research (muscle repair v. glycogen recovery) really compound the confusion. The first thing an athlete should be concerned about is stopping cortisol (breakdown hormone) and increasing muscle tissue leucine levels - without leucine the muscle is not signaled to repair. Do this with 20-30g protein (men) or 25-35g protein (women) within 30 minutes. This protein hit also extends your window of glycogen recovery - from 45min to 2+hours. This is why meal splitting is so effective - you meet your body's physiological needs for nutrient availability without overloading calories or slowing gastric emptying (which delays nutrients getting to the muscles). A multisport athlete needs to pay attention to muscle adaptations AND glycogen recovery, especially with 2xday sessions; not just glycogen recovery. PPF: GI distress and bonking seem to be amplified in Hawaii and other hot and humid races. In your experience, is there something unique to the heat and humidity of Kona that makes effective fueling and hydration plans a challenge? Stacy: Yes, it is magnified in Kona - primarily because of the large diversion of blood away from the gut (80%) plus the heat of exercise (and hypoxia from low blood flow) - so you have a faster erosion of the gut mucosa and increased 'opening' of the tight junctions - leaky gut. Then you have the brain changes of dehydration- decreased thirst and appetite, so people forget to eat/drink then try to make it up, but by using straight carb, this exacerbates the problems in the gut via osmotic diuresis (water comes into the gut to dilute the pressure exerted by the carb concentration and/or salt concentration from salt tablets). PPF: Any other advice you would give to those racing in hot conditions or the lucky few who make it to Kona? Stacy: Drink and eat small amounts frequently (sip, sip, nibble, nibble), don't put ice against the skin - eat it! (ice against the skin causes a constriction response, increasing heat storage). PPF: For those readers who want to know more about Osmo's lineup of products, how they work, recommended usage, etc, head on over to their FAQ section and have a read. If you are a purplepatch coached athlete who does not have the 40% discount, drop a line to plan support and they will connect you with Osmo. With the 2015 behind the vast majority of athletes, most of us have taken our season end break and now embark on the post-season phase of training. Inevitably, this time of year lends itself to planning for the next race season. What do YOU hope to accomplish? Next season begins now! To find out more about the training program that GETs results check out Matt Dixon's book, The Well-Built Triathlete. In The Well-Built Triathlete, elite triathlon coach Matt Dixon reveals how he turns age groupers into world champions. By fully integrating recovery, nutrition, and functional strength training into a progressive triathlon program, Dixon prepares triathletes for a career of improving performance. This is how the pros train and now Dixon's approach is ready for you. The Well Built Triathlete is also available at these retailers. Amazon.com Barnes & Noble Chapters/Indigo IndieBound iTunes Bookstore Related articles Food for Thought Fueling for Racing Successful Triathlon Post Season Fueling Office Hours - Setting Up Your Year for Success with Matt Hurley - 11/11/19 What is minimal form pace (MFP) running?