Cortney: [00:00:00] Thank you all so much for being here tonight. I am Cortney Jacobsen. one of the founders of GritLink. For those of you who are not familiar with what GritLink is, we help endurance and adventure athletes connect with healthcare providers who are specialists working with athletes.
We were founded last year, so 2019. And, we’re free for the athlete community to join. Just go to gritlink.net and once you join as a member, you’ll be able to search our provider directory for a number of different providers who are specialists in working with athletes. You’ll also have access to GritLink University, a library of science-based content about training and healthcare.
I will get right into introducing our panelists. We have three registered dieticians. We’ll start with Maria Dalzot. Maria is a registered dietician nutritionist with a master’s of science degree in human nutrition and food science. She is the creator and owner of Inspired Eating an intuitive eating and Health at Every Size practice that helps people of all ages, genders, and sizes make peace with food and eat in a supportive and nourishing way. Maria works with clients from a non-diet weight-neutral lens. Consults focus heavily on intuitive eating strategies, behavior goals, shifts in mindset, and support. Maria is also a professional mountain, ultra trail runner and coaches trail and ultra runners of all abilities and experience.
Heidi Strickler is a registered sports dietician based in Seattle. She is an avid endurance athlete, ultra runner, and triathlete herself “whose sole belongs in the mountains.” Heidi has a passion for providing virtual and face to face nutrition coaching to athletes worldwide. And her specialties include plant based nutrition and nutrition for female athletes. Heidi just returned from a year in England where she completed her master’s degree in sports nutrition and she now teaches sports and exercise nutrition at Seattle Pacific university.
And finally we have Jayden Chapman. Jayden is a registered dietician nutritionist with a background in natural health and integrative and functional nutrition. He works with clients to develop diet and lifestyle habits that support overall wellness and that fuel, the activities that are most important to them. His approach takes into account genetic, biomechanical, and lifestyle factors that influence nutrition needs.
Thank you, Maria, Heidi and Jayden for being here tonight.
So tonight we are going to talk about fueling before, during, and after your event or your race. We’re going to have Heidi, Maria and Jayden each talk about before, during, and after fueling. Then we’re going to dive into a specialty that each of these dietitians have.
Jayden, we’re going to kick it off with you. What should we think about when we’re fueling before our workout?
Jayden: [00:03:36] All right… What to eat before a work out. The goals of your pre-workout nutrition are to prevent dehydration, stabilize your blood sugar, top off your glycogen stores, and support your mental focus throughout your workout.
So the biggest factors that determine what you want to eat are how much time you have until your workout and the type, intensity, and duration of it. As you get closer to your workout, you want to choose things that are easier to digest, which usually means being lower in fat, fiber, and protein, because those can all slow down digestion.
If you have three or four hours, you have time to digest a balanced meal. So make sure you’re including a source of protein, some healthy fat, fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. And we’ll go into what that might look like.
On your days that you have longer and more intense workouts, you want to include more carbohydrates. So that might look like an omelette with cheese and vegetables with an orange. On a harder day, you could add toast to that or a fruit smoothie. If you have less time, maybe two hours, you want to choose something lighter. Still include a source of carbohydrates and protein, but a little lower in fat. So that might look like a bagel with peanut butter and banana or Greek yogurt with fruit.
During the night, you can lose up to 3% of your body weight in water and use up to 40% of your glycogen stores. There’s a big range, but you wake up somewhat dehydrated with your energy stores down, and there are some reasons you might choose to not eat before a workout. Maybe you just don’t tolerate anything that early in the morning or that close to a workout and you don’t want to have GI issues. There can also be a benefit to doing some of your workouts fasted. It can train your body to use fat more efficiently as a fuel source so that you’re less reliant on …in your races. However, it may decrease the quality of your workout if you find you’re running low on energy. So that strategy might be better for some of your shorter workouts.
Some things that you might choose in that hour before your workout could be a banana or a granola bar, toast with jam. You could choose some liquid options like a sports drink that has carbohydrates and electrolytes in it.
So regardless of whether you decide to eat anything before an early morning workout, drinking something will help you to rehydrate, which will have an impact on your performance. You can choose something, either with electrolytes only or something with electrolytes and carbohydrates. That would just give you a little bit more energy going into the workout if you’re not intentionally doing a fasted workout.
Cortney: [00:07:19] What was the 4% or 40% of glycogen stores that are used up overnight? Can you clarify that part that you said.
Jayden: [00:07:38] Yeah. So overnight you can lose up to 40% of your glycogen stores. That’s just your body using that energy to survive through the night. So that would be, that would depend on a lot of factors, how fueled you were going into the night and maybe how well you slept. But that would, that would be the top end of that range.
Cortney: [00:08:08] Okay. can you, maybe just like summarize for us, I’m sorry, cause we had a couple little spots where you broke out. Could you give us kind of, but just a quick summary of what we should be thinking about in terms of how to fuel before a workout?
Jayden: [00:08:32] So a quick summary would be make sure you’re including a source of carbohydrates. If you have a few hours before your workout, you can also include some protein, some fat. As you get closer to your workout that can slow down digestion so focusing more on simple carbohydrates.
Cortney: [00:08:53] Cool. Okay. Thank you. Let’s move on to, what happens during the workout. So we know how we fueled before and, Maria, we are now starting our workout or our race. Can you walk us through. What we should consider during the workout?
Maria: [00:09:13] Yes. So you, when during your activity becomes really important, if you’re going to be out there longer than say 90 minutes to two hours.
So anything less than that, that your previous meal that Jayden talked would most likely cover your energy levels and get you through whatever activity that you’re doing. So it’s going anything longer than that, you’re going to want to make sure that you prevent hypoglycemia, which is the decline in performance, which we all know as the dreaded “bonk.” And so the primary reason of fueling during the run is to prevent hypoglycemia, prevent the bonk and the inevitable decline in performance.
So I have good news and I have bad news. So the bad news is I don’t have one right way to prescribe for you all to fuel during your, whether to run a swim or a bike and to, just so, you know, I’ll probably just resort to saying running, cause I am a runner and so running will just more naturally come out of my mouth, but I’m not excluding these swimmers and bikers either.
So there’s the bad news is there’s not the one right way to fuel during a run, but the good news is, is there’s not one right way to feel during a run or a bike or swim. So if you’ve tried to fuel during your run before and it’s gone south, don’t despair, give yourself compassion. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration when figuring out what is the best way to fuel for your activity and we could spend hours talking about all of the variables that come into play.
But for the sake of tonight’s presentation, I’m going to talk about the, what I think are the three most important. So what you eat and how much you meet is going to then depend on the intensity, the duration, and palatability. And if you remember, if you were able to hear Jayden, two of his factors he talked about were intensity and duration. So those are two factors that you’re going to have to carry over when thinking about how to fuel during your run.
So when we’re talking about intensity, the more intense that you’re exerting yourself, the more effort you’re putting forward, the less able your body is, is going to be able to digest and absorb the food efficiently, so you’re going to be more susceptible to GI distress. So the food that you want to be taking in should be easily digestible. And so when we talk about something being easily digestible or mostly focused towards those, carbohydrates, so simple sugars. So it could be something like Gu and Chomps or some kind of gel, or you could go the real food route and, and so whatever is, Is going to prevent stomach distress, but also be really quickly absorbing.
Now, the less intense that you are, and we have people, about 26% of the people that were polled are in the 4-to-8 hour range, and chances are in that 4-to-8 hour range, and because I’m not a cyclist and I’m on a swimmer, I can’t speak from experience in that regard, but a 4-to-8 hour ultra run, there is definitely some hiking and people who don’t hike are lying. So during that hiking time, in that lesson intense period, it’s more of an opportunity to take in something more substantial.
And so something more substantial would include not only carbohydrates, but also protein and fat. So this becomes especially important because the longer you’re out on the trail, the more your body is going to be breaking down. So the more variety of nutrients that you can get, the better. So that’s intensity.
The second variable is duration. So the longer that you’re going to be out there, I mean, let’s be honest, Tri-Berry Gu can only take you so long. If after three, four, or five hours, you’re going to want something other than and so again, having something more substantial, fiding where your sweet spot of turnover is. For me, I notice that when I’m on the trail for I’d say three and a half to four hours, I get what I call stomach hungry and no gel is going to kind of calm that feeling of hunger that growling in my belly. And so in that situation, I’m going to need something like a granola bar or Trail Butter or a Lara bar or even a sandwich or cookie or something like that. So keep in mind of duration, how long you’re going to be out there.
The third factor is palatability. And another word to describe this would be a variety. Again, you don’t want the same flavor of Gu for three, four, five, six hours, two days. That would be ridiculous. At some point, you’re going to experience what’s called flavor fatigue, and you might be really tired of eating the same sugary thing and the same flavor over and over again. So having a small variety, and I like to top that at three or four options to choose from. Anything more than that, then your brain, when you’re at the end of an ultra, and the last thing that you want to be doing is deciding what to eat through a smorgasbord of food. So keeping it to three or four items, having a combination of solids, liquids, juice, chomps, real food, savory, sweet. So that depending on how you feel, you can make a decision of what sounds good to you. So you have some structure, but you also have some flexibility to see how you feel at certain points in the race.
Now there are so many other factors that we could talk about. We can talk about electrolytes and we can talk about salt tabs and you can talk about caffeine. But all of that is so context dependent and dependent on where you’re racing, what’s the weather like?, what’s your fitness like? And so if you’re having trouble nailing down like what is right for you, I encourage you to reach out and reach out to a registered dietitian, and preferably one who does your sport. Because I’ll never forget that time I ate a Clif bar and tried to go out for a run. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. And so I will do whatever I can to prevent that from happening to you. So don’t hesitate to reach out. Reach out for help because it’s not an easy thing to master.
And so what I want to leave you with as far as fueling during your event is to practice, practice, practice during training because you’ve put in so much time and energy and money into a race that you don’t want to derail your performance because you have to go while you’re on the go.
Cortney: [00:16:06] That’s awesome. Thank you. Practice practice, practice at all is practice. Okay, cool. So we have successfully completed our event without any GI issues because we practiced and we prepared and now we’re done. Heidi, how do we recover from an event or a race?
Heidi: [00:16:25] So, I mean, I guess I have maybe a little bit easier job describing it between Jayden and Maria. There are a lot of, of things that can come into play when it comes to fueling up before and during exercise. I joke as a registered dietitian is so often my answer to so many athletes when they ask me a question is, “It depends” because as Maria said, you know, it does, there’s, there’s a lot of dependent factors out there.
But recovery is in my mind, a little bit more plain and simple. And yes, I kind of see recovery nutrition as this pyramid or tier-based schematic, where you can kind of go from just basic 100% rule of thumb go-to, up to the nitty gritty gold standard, as good as it gets recovery nutrition. So I mean, when it comes down to it, EAT. That is the golden rule of thumb when it comes to recovery nutrition.
We definitely have these gold standards of having this much protein based on your body weight and this type of protein and stuff, but the body needs to be refueled and that, you know, that goes for any duration of events. So obviously like the harder you work you body though, the longer you’re out there, the more intense to the effort, your recovery nutrition is going to be that much more important because you’ve damaged your body that much more, but recovery nutrition is still important, whether it’s a 30 minute gym session or a two hour bike ride, or an Ironman, your body needs that recovery nutrition.
And so if in question, eat something. Eat something as soon as you can and eat something. Eat what sounds good. Being an ultra endurance athlete, I definitely understand that when you get done with your race the last thing you want to do is put something in your mouth . Maria brought up a great point, but have options. Depending on whether or not you’re going to have the availability to, if it’s a race, have some post race fuel. But bringing some of your own stuff and bringing a variety. You know, Maria brought up a great point of having something sweet as well as savory. I find a lot of athletes don’t necessarily want something sweet after a race in terms of recovery, because that’s all they’ve been eating for the whole race. And so the idea of putting something sweet in their mouth is, is, is nauseating.
M y number one rule of thumb is as soon as you can get some type of nutrition in your body after your race or your training, that’s the best. We talk about this recovery window of this 30-to-40 minute window where your body and your muscles are really primed to accept that nutrition. And the reason is because our hormone insulin is essentially elevated during that time and when our insulin remains elevated because of exercise, our muscles are more able to accept more of the nutrition that we take in. S o eat as soon as you can. It is kind of rule of thumb number one.
Then when we get into it, we know protein and carbohydrates are both very critical for recovery. If somebody were to ask me to put together the ideal recovery meal, what would it be? We know that women actually need a little bit more protein than men in recovery because our hormone progesterone is catabolic, which means it breaks down muscle tissue. Women generally want somewhere along the lines of 25 to 35 grams of protein, where men need about 20 to 25. Ideally this is going to be a fast-acting, fast-absorbing protein. One great example is whey and whey is one of the proteins found in dairy. This is where that idea of chocolate milk being a good recovery beverage comes from, because milk has this specific type of fast-acting protein. It doesn’t have to be milk, but you can do a whey protein powder. Yogurt, cottage cheese, some type of, of dairy product, or if you’re plant-based, getting a plant based protein that does have a variety of amino acids.
So gold standard is, as soon as you can get it within that 30 to 40 minute window, knowing your gender, you want it to be 20 to 25 or 25 to 35 grams of protein. And then in addition to that, you need some carbohydrates to help shuttle that protein into the muscle, as well as start repairing and replenishing that muscle glycogen or that carbohydrate that got lost during exercise.
And again, men can go with a three to one carbohydrate to protein ratio is kind of this ideal ratio, what we say for men. And so, you know, if they, if they want 20 to 25 grams of protein, that’s going to be about 60 to 75 grams of carbohydrates.
Women, we actually need a lower carbohydrate protein ratio. So about a two to one carbohydrate to protein ratio. So if you’re looking at 25 to 35 grams of protein, that’s going to be 50 to 75 or 50 to 70 grams of carbohydrate.
And then the final factor when we’re looking at recovery nutrition is one of the few times I would discourage someone from consuming too much fat in a meal. One of the reasons why Jayden was talking about being aware of your fat intake prior to exercise because it’s slow to absorb and digest and the same goes for recovery. If my goal is to help my body recover as soon as possible and I consume a lot of fat, it is slow to digest and metabolize and absorb, then it is also going to make it harder for my body to absorb and digest those important protein and carbohydrate nutrients that are going to speed up my recovery. So generally I do recommend keeping fat a little bit lower in that recovery meal.
But again, like I said, if your choices are a fast food burger or a slice of pizza versus nothing, go for the burger or the pizza. Your body needs calories. It needs fuel, and a little bit of something is going to be better than nothing so also always keeping that in mind.
And then the one final thing, I guess kind of a myth-busting factor is antioxidants. A lot of people think, okay I put my body through this trauma and the stress I want to get in berries or tart cherries or curcumin or ginger or these anti-inflammatory foods as soon as possible but if the goal of your training is to adapt, taking in those anti-inflammatory foods, as soon as that training is done is actually going to impede your ability to adapt and get better in terms of your fitness adaptations. So if the goal of the training session was fitness adaptation, muscle growth, hypertrophy, those types of things, then keep those anti-inflammatory foods too a little bit later in the day. If it’s a race, and that’s kind of the end of that training block, then for sure, you want to damper that inflammation.
Cortney: [00:23:59] Heidi. that was a lot of good information. And you talked a bit about the differences between men and women, which I know you were gonna go a little more into that. Let’s just get into that right now because you kind of led us there. And we also have a question, related to the same, subject, which is, Since progesterone levels change throughout the menstrual cycle, would you say that our protein needs females post-exercise depend on what part of the cycle they are in? And then give us a little more meat around the female athletes.
Heidi: [00:24:38] Yeah. so, so definitely, that’s a great point and one of the primary reasons why when I am working with female athletes, since that is one of my specialties, one of the first things I will have a female athlete do, and one of the first questions I ask them is, do you track your menstrual cycle? Because it’s one of those things where for so many years the menstrual cycle hasn’t really been talked about. It’s kind of taboo. Women really begrudge it. They hate that they have to race on their period. It’s this really inconvenient kind of embarrassing thing. But now that we’re learning more and more about the menstrual cycle and the role of hormones, estrogen and progesterone far beyond just having a period and having children and hips and breasts and menopause, there’s so much physiological and in training and nutrition differences and adaptations that you can really, really, essentially exploit by knowing where you are in your menstrual cycle. So, I always encourage my female athletes to track their menstrual cycle. There are apps out there. FITR Woman is one of the best. FITR Woman is a great app to track. There are tons that are out there. You can use paper and pen a calendar, but knowing where you are in your menstrual cycle can make a huge impact in your ability to train recovery, injury prevention, illness prevention. Not only what type of training you should be doing, how you should be recovering, how you can fuel in and around training. So it becomes this super power, this kind of insight into our intro bodies that men don’t have and recovery nutrition is definitely one of them.
And to simplify it and you know, be really quick with it. Cause I could spend hours talking about this – W e have two phases. In the first half of our cycle is low hormone phase. Ironically phase one, is when we’re having our period and that is our lowest hormone phase. And ironically, when we’re most like men from a hormonal standpoint, and so during that low hormone phase, we’re going to be with estrogen and progesterone being very low we’re going to be able to build muscle. We are going to be powerful. We are going to be strong. A great time, truly work on muscle growth, hypertrophy doing a lot of interval work and speed work. and again, because those hormones are low, you’re not seeing a lot of the negative side effects that they can cause and the high hormone phase.
And then if we move into that high hormone phase, we see this spike in both estrogen and progesterone in what we consider phase three. Or we consider a menstrual cycle to be on average 28 days, with ovulation happening on day 14. And so this high hormone phase, phase three generally lasts from about day 16 to day 25 but again, every woman is different, which is why it’s important to track. But when we think about the role of hormones, when estrogen and progesterone are both high, it can cause things like mental fatigue and just decrease mojo and motivation. It can cause, the potential for some increased risk of like tendon and ligament and joint injuries. It does make it harder to recover be cause like I said, progesterone is catabolic. And then one of the big components of this high hormone phase as it comes to females and performance, is the fact that when estrogen is high, it actually impairs our ability to access the carbohydrates that are stored in our muscles. So even if you’ve done your due diligence of carbohydrate loading before an event or eating adequate carbohydrates,w en estrogen is high, even if those stores are there we just can’t access them quite the same way. And so that’s one of the things where a lot of my female athletes, we track their cycle and if they have a training session or an event where they need to have carbohydrate during that training or event, and it falls in that high hormone phase, we know they need to take in a little bit more per hour during those types of events.
Or another example is if you’re going to do, say intervals, bike intervals, running intervals, swimming intervals during that event, and that kind of high intensity exercise generally needs more carbohydrates. And so if you’re not able to access carbohydrates, you’re going to have a hard time hitting those intensities and adapting the way you want.
So either change in your training and move those more high intensity sessions to the low hormone phase, or keep some simple carbs on the pool deck, on your bike, with you on the run and know that, okay, before each of my hard sets, I’m going to have a quick hit of carbohydrate just to get my body, the carbohydrates, because I can’t really access what’s in my muscles quite as well. So that’s another big component of that high hormone phase.
And then we look at what can happen with sleep sleep disturbances, inflammation as all the hormones are dropping off, and how that can impede performance in terms of cramps, GI function, poor sleep, temperature dysregulation. And so there’s, there’s so many things where these hormones just can wreak havoc on the female body, but if you know that it’s coming, you really can essentially mitigate all those negative side effects, through nutrition planning and tweaking your training and like I said, it becomes this incredible tool that women can use. so I would say if you are a female and you’re listening and you’re not tracking your cycle, that is for sure. Step one. start tracking your cycle and go
Cortney: [00:30:28] from there.
There’s a lot of information in there, and it sounds like maybe it might be worth doing a separate whole separate session for female athletes, but thank you for showing us those little bits of information.
I want to go back to, Jayden. If you’re still with us. So you have a background working with triathletes, you’re a triathlete yourself. So I’m curious if you can tell us about how a multisport athlete needs to consider all these things we’ve heard about before, during, and after when they’ve got different sports to consider.
Jayden: [00:31:07] Yeah. So some things for triathletes and other multi-sport athletes to consider, is that you might find different things work better for you in your different disciplines. And a lot of that is going to be very individual, so you’re gonna have to try different things.
A lot of people find that solid food is easier to tolerate before swimming, before and on the bike compared to running. And part of that is due to the bio mechanics of running, but it’s also in part because your digestive system works a little bit better earlier in the race than it does toward the end. So you can take advantage of that by eating early on the bike maybe more solid food at the beginning to more liquid fuel as time goes on and you get closer to your run. And also experiment with different foods during training, figuring out what’s gonna work for you. So you’re not doing something new on race day. And Maria talked a lot about getting variety in there so you have choices on on race day and during your long practices. But you know that it’s something that’s going to work for you cause you’ve tried it.
And multi-sport athletes also often have more than one workout in a day. So there might be foods that you avoid close to your workouts, or you might have foods or sports nutrition products that you regularly use before, during and after your workouts. And so just again, trying to get variety into your day. Sticking with the thing that, you know, that work, but also making it a point to choose a variety of whole, nutrient dense foods outside of training and that will help to support your immune system, help you to recover better and faster and support your overall health and so just timing that with, with and between your different workouts when you have those multiple workouts in one day.
Cortney: [00:32:57] Awesome. Thank you. I think we’re hearing a common theme about practicing and variety in all of these things. And, also most importantly, eating, eating is good. So, Maria, Heidi touched a little bit on some carb to protein ratio. She got all mathematical on us for a bit there. and we also had another question kind of related to this, directed toward you, which is, should we consume by clock or by feel X calories per hour or when stomach is talking. And, I’d love for you to tell us a bit about your intuitive eating approach and how you think about counting calories and macro nutrients.
Maria: [00:33:44] okay. So, and as far as calorie counting goes, and anyone who works with me knows I am against all type of calorie counting and macro counting. and I think it would help to explain why and to tell you exactly what intuitive eating is and what it’s not is another diet. So intuitive eating is not a diet. Instead, it’s this dynamic process that integrates the attunement of our physical body, our mental health in the food that we eat. To help facilitate more and more eating behaviors because unfortunately, athletes are a really susceptible group of people to eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors.
If you think about it, how many times have we heard you’re a machine gotta feed the machine? And, and so many times athletes follow these overly restrictive and very prescriptive diets that they lose touch with how to determine who, what, when, where, how to eat for themselves. And they could become very reliant on external factors.
And so intuitive eating is getting back that innate ability to determine what’s best for you. And so, the idea that we need a certain amount of calories every single day is completely absurd to me. Because you are not a machine. I don’t care who tells you that you are not a machine. You are a living, breathing human being whose needs change, not only daily, but they change every decade of your life.
And so if you are holding, holding true to one way of eating or a certain amount of calories per day, not only, well is that a slippery slope to eating disorders and disordered eating behavior, but it is detrimental to your mental health and could definitely impact your physical health later on. And so there’s a lot of nuance here, and again, it’s much, much more than than we’re able to talk about tonight.
But I want to put out there that if you find yourself preoccupied with food or just have this obsessive mindset, can’t stop thinking about food and you feel anxiety around it you should reach out for help. because I think what my goal is is to help you be the expert of your body. I’m not the expert of it. Jayden’s not the expert, Heidi’s not the expert. Only, you are the expert of your body because only you have your likes, your dislikes, only you live with your spouse, your partner, your kids. So it’s so important that you take control of that and put the trust back in your mind to make your own decisions.
Now, I know I went kind of on a rant, which I tend to do about that, but to go back to Barb’s question about calorie intake during the run, and I think the biggest factor depends on. How much experience do you have as a runner because if you are not in touch with what it feels like to be hungry on the run, or what, what the subtle nuances of hunger feel like to you, I think a good rule of thumb, it would be helpful to be like, okay, in order to train my body, I need to eat X amount of energy every whatever intreval. But as you train and as you get to know your body more and how you respond to different things, again, if you stick to that rule of eating, say a hundred calories per hour, you might need more than that. And so again, it’s learning, it’s having some structure, but also a lot of flexibility there too, to learn and grow as you are learning and growing as an athlete.
Cortney: [00:37:37] Awesome. Thank you, Maria. okay. We have, a good amount of time for questions and I know there’s a ton out there, It looks like Heidi’s been answering a few in the chat. Just looking to see if I’m all caught up. Please raise your hand or just type your question right into the chat.
Let’s see. We have one here. Okay. This is a long one. Research has suggested that at the upper limit endurance athletes can digest 60 to 90 grams of carbs per hour. However, those studies looked at events under four hours. If you’re competing in ultras – and they were men. The research was done on men – if you’re competing in ultras that lasts 15 to 30 hours, how does the lower intensity of the activity affect absorption rates? So should an athlete still aim to get 60 to 90 grams of carbs per hour plus fat and protein, or is less carbohydrate needed per hour because the body is burning more fat for fuel?
Who would like to take that one.
Heidi: [00:38:52] I can take it. So in terms of the big part of this, and Maria definitely touched on it a little bit when she was talking about the type of fuel that you take it and what type of carbohydrate specifically you’re taking in is going to affect or is going to depend on how intense your exercises. And that definitely plays into this as well. So there are certain types of carbohydrates. So I think, you know, one of the components this anonymous attendee is referring to, is we do know that if I take in one single source of a simple sugar essentially my body can oxidize it or use 60 grams an hour. That’s where they get that 60 grams from. and then, above that, we have to take in multiple sources of carbohydrates. and so that could be like a fructose and a glucose are two different types of sugars, essentially. And we know when I take in different types of sugars I can absorb up to about 90 grams an hour, which is where that the upper limit comes from. But again, with that being said, it’s still is that research comes from research on simple sugars.
So there are products like UCAN. UCAN is a product that uses a starch as their primary fuel. They don’t use a simple sugars. And because it’s this hydrolyzed starch, which is a really, really big molecule, your body, uses that, that starch molecule for a very long time. It doesn’t impact your blood sugars or your insulin, like a simple sugar would. And so you can actually take in, fewer grams of carbohydrates per hour using something like UCAN because it’s a slower burning fuel.
And then the same would also go for something when you’re looking at really long events, knowing that you’re not probably just taking in carbohydrates alone, there probably is a little bit of fat and protein in there as well. and so also knowing that because those are then going to contribute calories, it is likely that carbohydrates need and that level is going to go down because you tried to maintain 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour plus get some fat and protein on top of that, you’re probably going to end up overdoing your calories.
one of the biggest things is, and Maria said it really well, is -A- listen to your body. It is one of the biggest things and practice, practice, practice, practice. And so if you are getting into these longer events and are looking at trying different fuel types, see how your body does with some more fat and protein. That’s definitely something that is a bit different for the body. and, because it is a longer, slower event one of the other areas that I specialize in is what we call metabolic efficiency. And it’s your ability to eat and train in a certain way to be able to use, use more fat a wider range of intensities.
and so again, in that sense, yes, you can. bring down that carbohydrate intake a little bit because you’re able to essentially utilize your fat stores for a wider range of intensity. So, it depends, as I said, I knew the answer was going to come up. It does depend. it depends a lot on you as an individual. and then what else is coming in for that fuel as well as what type of carbohydrates you’re choosing to fuel with. and then also remembering, like I pointed out that research was done on men. And there’s a big difference between what types of carbs and how much carbs and men versus women can digest in an actual endurance event. Women also need to know that amount may not be appropriate, but also different types of carbohydrates are more appropriate for women than men.
Cortney: [00:42:37] Cool. Thank you. okay. We have another question. This one’s from Danny. He had a question for Maria. Totally in agreement with learning what’s good for your body over time and having some flexibility, but just for clarification, do you recommend trying a more structured fueling as you start to train and then getting more flexible later as you learn how your body responds.
Maria: [00:43:01] Hey Danny. Absolutely. That’s exactly what I meant. you can think of the gut just like any other muscle in your body and in that you can train it. And so if you are new to fueling during your events, it might not sound good to you. It might not sound appetizing to eat while you’re moving. I mean, it’s not something that is in our day to day life. It sounds very foreign. It feels very foreign. And so. While you’re training your gut, so to speak. it can help to have more structure and then yes, as you learn, Hey, this works. This doesn’t work. This only works in hot temperatures. This only works in cold temperatures. You have the flexibility and the knowledge to switch things up. So some structure helps, at the end or at the beginning, but, but don’t be married to it. Be open to the, to the idea of adjusting as you, as you become a more efficient runner.
Cortney: [00:43:59] Cool. We are going to take, well, we’re going to take at least one more question here. Germaine asks, I like this question because I, I think probably a lot of people out there have the same questions. Germaine has a super sensitive stomach. They say, I have tried a large variety of foods, gels, chomps, juice bars, etc. I realized that they sit in the bottom of my stomach and don’t digest. Thus, I’ve switched to real food, basically just a vegan diet when I’m out running, I however, feel that I’m still not getting enough calories to convert to energy and my performance suffers the longer I go. So any tips on what else I could try.
Maria: [00:44:48] I just want to start by saying that your food is digesting. It’s not just sitting there. It’s not just rotting. I just want to put that out there, that it’s not possible. That will not happen. So, again, even having painting that picture in your head is just. It’s not helpful, and it’s just not physiologically possible. So just know that that’s not what’s, what’s happening. so it’s not, your food is not sitting and not digesting. it could be a matter of, when something’s not working, and I’m sorry, I just kind of jumped in. It could not necessarily be what you’re eating, that the quantity that you’re taking at one time. sometimes people take in, a gel and unknowingly, because some of those, especially GUs, you need to drink something with it and sometimes you might have a liquid calorie drink and so you might take down a gel and a liquid calorie at the same time, and that amount of, of sugar might be too much for your system.
And so it might not necessarily be that the type of what you’re eating, it might be just the quantity. And so a strategy that you could try is rather than eating a whole, whatever it is at one time, taking some time to eat, like half a gel or half of whatever and try to sparse it out and not just eating it all at one time. That’s one strategy that you can play around with. It’s just not necessarily what you’re eating, but the amount that you’re taking in. That’s one strategy for you. Heidi or Jayden, do you have any other.
Jayden: [00:46:35] Just try and maybe more liquid fuels that might help, that might digest a little bit more easily and just paying attention to the different types of sugars that are in there. … Variety or carbohydrates, whether its fructose or glucose. Just paying attention to what type of carbohydrates are in there.
Heidi: [00:46:58] Yeah, I would agree. just really experimenting with, again, if you, especially if you’re using real food only and it’s vegan based, then it, the fiber content might be potentially pretty high, which is obviously going to interfere with absorption. That’s not going to be as high in calories. and so also, you know, considering, okay, maybe what’s the fiber content of, of this food. that can also, you know, definitely impair, in comparison some of the absorption and just not give you as much energy as you would hope for. and liquids can definitely be a great option as well because they do hit the system a bit faster. and some people don’t deal with a slosh very well, but some people kind of thrive on liquid. So again, it’s, it’s one of those things you definitely just have to experiment and trial in training.
Maria: [00:47:47] And you can also, like, it doesn’t have to be like something made for the sport. It can be a snicker bar, it can be whatever. It’s basically whatever gets you from point a to point B without pooping your pants. As I said at the beginning, there’s no right way of doing this. There’s no wrong way. It’s whatever is right for you. And so it doesn’t have to be something. It can be something very, unorthodox. And so thinking outside the scope of sports foods or gels and just all of, you know, put in and even thinking, okay, I can only eat vegan you’re putting yourself in a box. And so being open to other other options is definitely helpful. So just knowing that there’s no one right way of doing this, you’re not doing it wrong if it works for you.
Cortney: [00:48:36] Great. okay, one more question. We have so many questions. You guys were gonna like definitely do this again. So, I’m going to pick one more out. Jayden, maybe you can answer this one for us. can you touch on micronutrients? Is there something that, you know, athletes don’t get enough of or need.
Jayden: [00:48:59] Oh, it’s going to depend a lot on the person. And, if I had to pick one, I would say vitamin D just because it’s not in a lot of food sources. pay attention to what supplements you might be taking. It might already be in there, but it’s really going to depend on, on the person. Back to the whole, it depends.
Cortney: [00:49:19] It’s amazing how many questions we can ask when we know the answer is going to be. It depends. okay. So we got a whole bunch of information tonight and this was super helpful. Thank you so much to Jayden, Maria and Heidi for being here. I can see that, probably a regular nutrition panel discussion is, probably needed all year depending on what everybody is training for. These guys have given some amazing information tonight. If you would like to reach out to them, please do. we will send this information in a message, a Facebook message, or an email to you so that you have Maria, Heidi, and Jayden’s information.
Okay. one final thing. these events we put on at grit link are free we don’t charge for them because we want to make sure that you, the athletes have, some really solid science-based information. and we want to make sure that these high quality sports care providers are getting in front of you, but if you feel so inclined, we’d love for you to become a Patreon member. If you go to Patreon.com/gritlink, you can become a member of our community for as little as $5 a month.
Thank you so much for attending. we hope to see you on the next one.
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