Winter season training is in it’s final throws, spring is on it’s way. Thank furrkkk for that. I love winter training and hate it all at the same time. I don’t like the cold, I never race well in it not ever, but I do like getting the miles in; in fact I bloody love that part! The benefits of real winter zone training are huge if you have the time! (more on training in another post, keep,your eyes peeled)
Winter season is also a great time of year to practice your race nutrition, especially if it’s something new because if it reacts with you badly (and a lot of sports nutrition does) it will only mess up that particular training session and not the race you’ve trained bloody ages for and spent a fortune on.
As a coach who wants the best for all his athletes take note, don’t, and what I mean by don’t, is, NEVER try a NEW sports fuel on race day.
Designer sport nutrition is big business. There are so many products to choose from, gels, bars, drinks, electrolytes, energy shots and protein bites…..the list is literally endless. These are super popular with athletes worldwide often being touted as the golden bullet in enhancing performance on race day!
But there is a problem with nearly 99.9% of all of these, they’re jammed full of refined, artificial (franenkenfuels) processed crap such as refined sugars, sugar alcohols, artificial flavourings, preservatives and sweeteners which can also make you..well…feel like crap and make you vom your guts out on race day.
I’ve watched and taken part in many long distance events and seen loads of people clutching stomachs and puking in ditches. More often than not it’s down to their sports nutrition choices and poor fuelling protocols.
When we race our clever body diverts blood away from the digestive system to the working muscles, major organs and skin so that we can sweat hard and keep cool. Our digestive system still works but it’s on a skeleton rota.
Processed and refined sugars reduces water absorbability through the gut membrane which leads to poor hydration and fuelling which often starts a cycle a bit like like this.
Less fuel and fluids getting absorbed = you feel more tired = you feel more thirsty = you take on more crappy gels and bars and maybe some water too.
Because you can’t digest or absorb this quick enough, your stomach starts to fill with this gluey, sugary, irritant mixture and as your body is under race stress it does the only thing it can….ejects it from where it came! Braaaagghhhhhh All of a sudden that sports nutrition product doesn’t seem so sporty!
Personally I believe if you’re nailing your preparation and your nutrition in training, races between 60 and 90 mins don’t need to be supported by anything other than a simple electrolyte. The fact that you think you need anything else is just down to great marketing!
But there are two other issues that are often overlooked or completely shoved under the carpet, I mean ignored. The first is that these so called sports nutrition supplements are often farthest from nature and the second is that all the Frankenfuels, I mean ingredients, take their toll on your delicate digestive enzymes and micro biota and in some cases encourage further growth of unhealthy gut bacteria. This may not mean anything to you but just google benefits of a healthy digestive system and do some research for yourself. So, to get you excited having a healthy digestive system can improve weight loss, mood and control cravings.
let’s get some perspective here too, just so you know I’m not some kind of sports nutrition hater. One or two bars or gels from time to time, taken in the right dose isn’t going to be an issue. Its the accumulative effect over time that’s the real problem.
What to look out for in the Frankenfuels list, I mean ingredients:
Refined fructose and bean-derived galacto-oligosaccharides are just some of the unnatural nasties found in these products. These refined sugars (masquerading as carbs on the label) can cause symptoms of bloating, indigestion, gastric reflux, gas and diarrhoea.
If your lactose intolerant then watch out for products with whey, whey protein, or powdered milk in them. Aim for hemp or pea protein as they are much kinder on the digestive system.
Be label conscious because fruit juice concentrates from apple, orange, and pear (to name a few) are all highly refined fructose. These are marketed as great natural form of sugar but…….
Watch out for sugar alcohols too. Sweetened artificially means this might just make you race to the toilet rather than the finish line. These gastrointestinal (digestive system) bad asses come in the form of xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol, maltitolor and anything with polyols in their name.
Keep an stern eye out for soy protein, soy lecithins anything to do with processed soy. I don’t like soy, I’m a hater of it and so is this guy.
I’m going to highlight Palm Oil, not because of its nutritional negatives or positives but because of an environmental catastrophe, particularly in Borneo and Sumatra.
The destruction to the habitat and ecosystem of the native wildlife is shameful. Deforestation has drastically reduced the population of Orangutang’s. Other animals that suffer as a result of this include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey.
Look for palm oil in everything shop bought. That includes foods you may not expect like oat cakes from supermarkets. It’s in more things thank you think. If we don’t buy it they can’t sell it and they can’t sell it…….