How do you Fuel when working out? What do you use? How often to you take some in? How do you carry it? Do you use Liquid or Solid or Both? Or do you just Wing it and hope for the best? So many questions, I know right?
Well, up until I started to prepare for my first IRONMAN, I was mostly a Wing-It kind of guy. I’d pick up a few GU’s and some effervescent tables to drop in my water bottle and called it good.
But the more I read the more I saw people taking about their “Fueling Strategy” and I stared to freak out that I needed to do better at this or I would never get through a 15-17 hour race. That’s when my good friend Heather Bellian suggested that I contact a professional to help in this area.
***Declaimer** I’m NOT a professional in this area and because this so very specific to each individual person’s needs (body chemistry, sweat rate, age, health condition, etc.) I highly recommend that you seek out the help of someone that really knows what they are doing.
Heather suggested Marni Sumbal from TriMarni Coaching and Nutrition to help me out. Marni is not only a Board Certified Sport Dietitian, she has a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, she has written 3 books in in this area. She is also a multi time IRONMAN Finisher (16 I think) , 5 times at KONA, so she not only knows the science behind this, but has actually put it to use many times during her own IRONMAN Races.
Below I will share what I use and how I use it. Please understand that this an on going process. We (Marni and I) are still tweaking this, because as we progress in our journey, things change and adjustments need to me made.
Soooo Many bottles!! LOL
Fueling for swim Training is a bit different than for a Race. For Training I usually take (1) 28oz bottle of Infinit Custom Swim Blend with me to the pool. This is a blend of material that Marni has developed working with the folks at Infinit. I won’t go into the details of the mix, because it’s pretty technical, but it has Carbs, Sodium and all of the stuff that you need. I will drink this a bit at a time throughout my workout.
For a Race, you obviously can’t take a bottle with you in the open water, so you need to “pre-load”. So I mix up (2) 16oz bottles of the same mix. I drink one about 1 1/2 hours before the swim start, then the second one about 15 minutes before the race.
OK, so I know you have a question? Go ahead!! So what happens after you drink all of that and you are in your wet suite waiting for the race to start and ya got to PEE?? Yikes!! I’ll leave that up to your immigration. By the way, the answer is YES!
On the Bike the process is basically the same for training or racing. I again use an Infinit Custom Bland designed for the bike. I know it has more carbs because we are on the bike for so long. I carry three (3) 24oz bottles on my bike. Two behind me and one in the front and I rotate them around. Now this is where it varies slightly based on the weather. On a normal day, all three bottles would have the same blend, but on really hot / humid days, I would exchange out one bottle for straight water and use it to spray down my back or head to cool down.
How much or how often you I drink you ask? Well, I have an alarm set on my bike computer to alert me every 15 minutes and I take 5-6 swallows which is 5-6 ozs. Usually one bottles lasts about one hour. So yes, I do need to stop and refill bottles every 3-hours or so. I look like a Drug Dealer carrying little Ziploc baggies of white power!! LOL But its pretty easy and quick to stop, dump a pre-measured baggie into the bottle with water and you are off again.
When running I use Caffeinated Tailwind Endurance Fuel. I use this because I like the Caffeine boost that I get from it, but it is something that I am working to move away from. As I get stronger and better able to run-off-the bike, I hope to move away from a caffeinated product.
Again, like the Bike, my process is somewhat dependent on the weather. I wear a Nathan Waist Belt with two 10oz insulated flasks. In cool or cold weather, both bottles have the Tailwind mixture. But on hot / humid days I change out one bottle for cold water to use for cooling.
On the run, I aim for taking 1-2 sips every 10-15 minutes. The two bottles will last me about one hour, then they need to be refilled, again by carrying baggies with more power. Obviously, on the hot days, I need to stop more frequently to refill.
I’ll add, that is is also good practice when using multiple bottles, like on the Bike and Run to purchase at least two different flavors. By drinking the different flavors, it reduces what is called “Taste Bud Fatigue”.
Don’t forget that Fuel after a hard workout is just as important as the other parts. Not to get all technical and shit, but your muscle fibers actual break and become damaged by stressing them during a hard workout and protein starts the rebuilding process. Rule of thumb is 30-30. So you should strive to take in 30 grams of Protein within 30 minutes after your workout. Below is what I use. It has 21 grams of protein plus 16 oz of Almond milk adds another 4-5 grams of protein so it’s just less then 30 grams but the key is “I Like It”. Again, like everything else. You need to Like the taste and it needs to digest well. I mix up a shaker bottle and take it with me for all of my big workouts. I also like that it’s Plant Based.
I hope this has been beneficial and again, do yourself a favor and seek out a professional to assist you in the process. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Until next time…..