It is quite simply your most common question – what nutrition do I need to use in training? How much water, carbs, electrolytes, protein?? No matter what new exciting product or promise is out there, your basic nutrition needs are actually quite simple, and the science behind the nutrition is very clear. With that in mind, we can give you easy guidelines to follow to get the most out of your training:
It’s vital you start every session well hydrated (that means light yellow urine) so drink plenty of water throughout your day.
2. To eat or not to eat before training?
If you’re training for more than an hour, have a carbohydrate rich snack before you start; try a banana or sourdough with peanut butter. If you skip eating and have a low intensity session, you will burn more fat stores. However if you skip eating and tackle a high intensity session, chances are you will hit a wall at some point which can be pretty miserable; you’ll only do that once.
2. Nutrition during training:
If you are training for an hour or less, just water is all you will need. You’ll require roughly 750ml of fluid per hour, however this volume can very a lot depending on your size, sweat rates, intensity of session and climate. This step takes practice to get it right.
For sessions longer than an hour, you will need to include a source of carbohydrates in your fluids, as your body can’t store enough energy to get you through on just water. Aim roughly for 60-90g of CHO per hour, which could be a bottle of Bindi Natural Sports Hydration plus a banana or gel for example.
3. Electrolytes are vital:
A sports drink will also replace the electrolytes (such as sodium, magnesium and potassium) that you are sweating out, and will help with muscle function and cramping. The correct electrolyte mix will also help you absorb fluid well across your gut which reduces the chance of discomfort and hydrates you more efficiently.
4. Add extra carbs:
For an intense or longer session your sports drink alone won’t provide enough energy, so consider adding to add some extra carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Try a banana, a vegemite sandwich or a Vindurance sports gel for a quick hit of energy and work out what you can digest easily during training.
So, what does this look like in reality?
For a 2-hour bike ride, this could be a breakfast of oatmeal with banana. Then during the first hour of training it’s bottle of Bindi, a banana and extra water. During the second hour; another bottle of Bindi plus an energy bar (or try a vegemite sandwich or 1-2 Vindurance sports gels). As you can see, there is plenty of room for personal preferences once you get the basic rules right.
Practice makes perfect!
Just as you train your muscles to get stronger, you can train your gut to absorb carbohydrates. It is vital that you practise your fuelling strategies in training, because what you find works for you can then constitute the basis of your race day plan.