jueves, febrero 17, 2011
What to Eat (and Drink) When Tri
PowerBar Training Tip: What to Eat (and Drink) When
Christopher D. Jensen offers up some suggestions on how to keep fueled while training and racing
Published Tuesday, February 15, 2011
PowerBar Training Tip: What to Eat (and Drink) WhenAn Ironman Triathlon is arguably one of the most challenging single-day events you can attempt. To earn Ironman status takes months of serious training. Nutrition and hydration in support of daily training, as well as leading up to and during the event, are critical to meeting the demands of this arduous sport. Here's a guide on how much, and what, you should be eating and drinking to be at your best. There's also a guide on how to use the various products.
Daily training demands daily recovery
Triathletes range from professionals to age-group competitors, so time spent training can vary considerably. But with three sports to master — swimming, cycling, and running — many triathletes work out twice daily to ensure that all three disciplines are trained regularly. It’s not uncommon for pros to train up to 40 hours a week, including two or even three workouts daily. With that kind of daily effort, recovery from one session to the next is critical to maximizing training gains and being ready for the next workout.
Failing to meet the energy or calorie requirements of daily training can lead to unwanted weight loss, persistent fatigue, and frequent colds, all of which can undermine your training program. Yet with such a time-consuming workout schedule, many athletes miss out on meal opportunities. To ensure that you meet your calorie needs, plan ahead so that you always have access to snacks and meals on your way to, between, and after workouts. Carry a cooler, and pack it with sandwiches, rolls, bagels, fruit, and a recovery beverage. And make sure your workout bag has an assortment of energy bars, protein bars, and energy chews.
Each workout puts a serious dent in your carbohydrate fuel (glycogen) stores. Those reserves need to be replenished on a daily basis if you want to continue to train at your best. Therefore, it’s important to consume carbohydrates as soon as possible after a training session in order to initiate the process of reloading muscle fuel stores. Combining those carbs with some protein can help speed the rate of muscle refueling and also provide the amino acid building blocks needed to repair and build muscle tissue in response to your workouts. Energy bars, recovery bars, and recovery drinks are all quick and convenient ways to get the carbs and protein you need to jump-start the muscle refueling process.
With up to two or even three workouts daily, your sweat losses are guaranteed to be high, especially if you are training in the heat or humidity. When you’re sweating copious quantities, you not only lose fluids, you lose electrolytes, with the primary one being sodium. If those sweat losses aren’t replenished during recovery, there’s a strong chance that you’ll become dehydrated during your next workout. Dehydration not only undermines your ability to train, it can have very serious health consequences. Get into the habit of weighing yourself before and after exercise to gauge your net loss of fluids. Replace this fluid by gradually drinking 23 fl oz (690 ml) of a recovery beverage, sports drink, or water for every lb (1,500 ml per kg) of weight lost. Consume sodium sources such as crackers and pretzels along with your fluids. Rehydration will be more effective when sodium is included with the fluid and food you consume as you recover.
Preparing for competition: carbohydrate loading
You’ll likely burn anywhere from 8,500 to 11,500 calories during an Ironman. But, with limited opportunities to consume calories during the race, you can’t come close to meeting those energy needs during the competition itself. Thus, you’ll be relying plenty on the muscle fuel you already have stored at the start of a race. Your primary fuel sources are fat and carbohydrates. You have plenty of fat, but it’s only the fuel of choice when you’re exercising at a pedestrian pace. When you’re going hard — whether that’s swimming, biking, or running — your muscles rely increasingly on your carbohydrate fuel reserves (glycogen). Unfortunately, carb stores are in very short supply and your reserves can be substantially depleted within about 90 minutes of vigorous exercise. When carb reserves run low, your muscles fatigue and you’re forced to slow down or even stop. And that’s not the way to succeed in an Ironman.
Fortunately, you can boost your carbohydrate reserves for the race itself by carbohydrate loading a few days before the competition. Done properly, carbohydrate loading can improve your Ironman time by 2 to 3 percent. That may not sound like much, but if you do the math, that’s 12 to18 minutes off a 10-hour finishing time!
Effective carbo-loading is relatively simple. A tough workout followed by a day or two of rest and a very high carbohydrate diet (5 grams per lb body weight during each day of loading) will result in supersaturated muscle glycogen stores within 24–48 hours. And don’t worry if you have travel days to the event in between when you’re carbo-loading and the actual day of the race. Researchers have found that muscle glycogen levels remain high for up to 5 days after carbo-loading.
Where many athletes stumble is by not consuming enough carbs during the glycogen loading phase. For example, a 150-lb (68-kg) triathlete should aim to consume roughly 750 grams of carbs on each of their loading days. This equates to 3,000 calories daily from carbs alone! This level of intake requires a concerted effort to take in lots of carbs at every meal and snack. Needless to say, that pasta feed the night before the competition in and of itself does not equate to effective carbo-loading.
Feeding and fluid intake the morning of the competition
The goals for the morning before the race are to consume some carbs to top off your fuel stores, to consume fluids to ensure that you’re hydrated, and to do both in a way that leaves you feeling comfortable. Most athletes are comfortable eating their pre-race meal about two to four hours prior to the race, but you should experiment during training with timing and quantity of carb intake to find the approach that works best for you.
The pre-race meal should contain familiar carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids that are low in slow-to-digest fat and fiber. Toast with jam or honey, fruit, fruit juices, liquid meal supplements, a sports drink, and energy bars are popular pre-race meal choices. If you have pre-race jitters, a liquid meal supplement can provide an easily-digested alternative to solid foods.
To ensure that you are fully hydrated going into a competition, consume 14 to 20 fl oz (400 to 600 ml) of water or sports drink about 3 hours before your race. This will lead to urine production if you are well hydrated. If it doesn’t, or if the urine that you produce is dark in color, drink another 8 to 12 fl oz about 2 hours before the race. It’s fine to sip water or a sports drink right up until the race to top off fluid levels, especially if conditions are hot or humid.
Hydrating and fueling on course
One-size-fits-all fluid intake recommendations are old school and can lead to under-consumption of fluids (which can result in dehydration) or over-consumption of fluids, both of which can undermine your performance and put your health at risk. Your aims should be to avoid gaining weight during the competition (a sign that you’ve consumed too much fluid) and to avoid losing more than 2 percent of your pre-exercise body weight. This body weight range is your hydration zone, and it’s where you perform at your best and you avoid the adverse health effects of dehydration and overhydration.
The way to stay in your hydration zone is to consume fluids at a rate that comes close to keeping pace with your sweat rate. While this generally requires about 13 to 26 fl oz (400 to 800 ml) every hour of exercise, preferably in smaller amounts taken frequently, fluid needs can vary considerably based on factors such as body size, pace, and weather conditions. Therefore, it’s best to calculate your own individual sweat rate for the various conditions in which you train and race. For an easy guide to calculating your sweat rate, use the Sweat Rate Calculator at PowerBar.com.
A sports drink that provides carbohydrates, fluids, and sodium, such as Ironman PERFORM™ sports drink, is the preferred hydration option for triathletes. The advantages over plain water are many. A sports drink provides carbohydrates to help sustain your blood glucose level during the race. Athletes typically consume more fluids when their hydration beverage is flavored, as is the case with a sports drink. The sodium and carbs in a sports drink cause the fluid in the beverage to be absorbed more quickly. The sodium also helps maintain your drive to continue drinking fluids when exercising, which is crucial to meeting your fluid needs. Finally, the sodium also helps you retain the fluid that you’ve consumed.
Practically speaking, the cycling leg represents your best opportunity for fluid ingestion. So take advantage of the opportunity, but don’t go overboard. Over-consuming while on the bike can leave you with too much fluid in the digestive tract when it’s time to transition to the run. The resulting abdominal fullness and bloating can lead to nausea. Aim to consume a minimum of 25 fl oz (about 750 ml) per hour when you’re on the bike; but, of course, training is the place to refine your hydration strategy.
Both drinking and eating during a race play an important role in meeting your hourly carbohydrate fuel requirements. Here again, the cycling portion of the competition presents the greatest window of opportunity to take in carbs. In fact, research shows that intake while on the bike is three times that which occurs during the run. So think of the bike leg as a “rolling buffet.” It’s during this leg that you need to consume adequate carbs and fluids to set yourself up for the run. In addition to your sports drink, take a variety of foods on the bike. Having more choices is likely to promote intake. Jam or honey sandwiches, biscuits and rolls, fruit bars, bananas, dried fruit, energy bars, and energy gels are all examples of carb-rich foods commonly consumed by triathletes while on the bike. During the run, sports drinks and energy gels are the most practical carbohydrate sources.
Putting sports nutrition products into practice
An Ironman Triathlon is a formidable challenge that demands that you be at your best when training and competing. A strategic approach to sports nutrition can be the difference in making you a better triathlete.
PowerBar® sports nutrition products are specifically designed to meet your nutrition and hydration needs before, during, and after exercise. They are portable, convenient, and able to be tailored to your needs — as well as great tasting. They help to ensure that you have the fluids and fuel needed so that you maximize the benefits of your hard work — whether you’re swimming, biking, running, in the gym, or trying to fully recover after workouts.
Not sure which products to use or when?
The following is a quick summary of the key PowerBar sports nutrition products for triathletes and how to use them effectively. Use these products when training to find what works best for you. Then, always keep a stash in your pantry, backpack or briefcase, cooler, and training bag.
Restore Beverage and Recovery Bar
* Ironman RESTORE™ beverage and PowerBar® Recovery bar are designed to kick-start the recovery process right after training. Use the beverage when you feel like you need fluids more than you need something solid.
* Ironman PERFORM™ sports drink features carbohydrates to fuel your muscles along with sodium to help replace what you lose when you sweat. A well-designed sports drink is indispensable during endurance exercise lasting an hour or more and anytime you’re exercising in the heat or humidity. You can also use it to hydrate and help top off fuel stores before training sessions or races.
Energy Gels and Chews
* PowerBar® Energy Gels pack the carbs and sodium of a sports drink into an easy-to-swallow, rapidly absorbed gel that can be taken before and during exercise.
* PowerBar® Energy Blasts gel filled chews feature a gummy outer shell and a tasty liquid center that delivers an extra blast of carbohydrate fuel. These flavorful chews give you more carb fueling options for before and during exercise.
Energy Bars and Bites
* PowerBar® Performance Energy bar, PowerBar® Fruit Smoothie Energy bar, and PowerBar® Energy Bites in convenient resealable pouches deliver muscle-fueling carbs before and during endurance exercise, along with moderate amounts of high-quality protein.
* PowerBar Harvest® Energy bar, PowerBar® Triple Threat® Energy bar, and PowerBar® Nut Naturals Energy bar provide a variety of fueling choices and tastes for before and during less intense exercise sessions. They’re also great for snacking between workouts.
Protein Bars and Bites
* PowerBar ProteinPlus® 30g protein bar, PowerBar ProteinPlus® protein bar, and PowerBar ProteinPlus® Bites in convenient resealable pouches are for triathletes who want to boost their protein intake before and/or after strength training workouts to support muscle tissue repair and building.