How to Tolerate more Fuel when Training


It’s no secret that getting your nutrition right will make training and completing events much easier, but some people don’t tolerate the nutrition they use in training. If you are battling with nausea or stomach pains when training, or you just can’t keep fuel down, there are plenty of options for you to try.

The following are some common reasons why you might not be tolerating the nutrition that you take when exercising. Make changes early on in your training programme to give you the opportunity to trial strategies and products, so that come event day you have the perfect strategy nailed. A Trailblazer Nutrition Programme will help solve this, and any other issues you might have.

Potential Problem: You have tried to take on too many carbohydrates too soon in your training.

Your gut needs to be trained to tolerate carbohydrates during exercise. Just like you started with shorter training sessions and are slowly building up your distance, start with a small amount of carbohydrates per hour, and slowly increase this. You will slowly but surely train your gut to absorb carbohydrates faster, and you will be able to tolerate more during exericse. Amazing huh? (It is because your intestines develop more ‘transporters’ that let the carbohydrate travel from the intestines into the bloodstream).

Start by sipping a sports drink every 15-30 minutes whilst exercising, and get that working smoothly before adding a gel every hour of exercise. Increase this over time - you should be aiming for at least 60g of carbs per hour of exercise by event day.

Potential Problem: You have not tolerated the tastes and textures you have tried.

Experiment with different tastes and textures. There is a huge variety of options available, from sports drink, gels, sports bars, or real food (banana, dates, rice cakes). Different people prefer different options, trial a variety to see what works best for you. Don’t be put off gels because of their “artificial” nature. Gels are usually better tolerated than real food because they contain everything you need, but nothing you don’t. Real food will contain protein, fat, fibre, and other bits and pieces which you have to digest, but don’t actually help during exercise. A gel strips all the extras and gives you only what you need.

Potential Problem: You are not using the right mixture of fructose and glucose.

Fructose and glucose are two different types of sugar, each of which are absorbed by different transporters. If you stick to just one type of sugar that transporter system will quickly get overloaded and symptoms such as bloating, pain, and nausea will arise. Most gels have got this right, but if you use food during exercise there is a chance this balance is not ideal for you.

Potential Problem: You have not been consistent with your approach.

Once you have settled on something that works for you, stick to this - especially on event day, but also during training. Get used to the products you have chosen, and get yourself familiar with the easiest way to access them and open the packets whilst exercising. It is a good idea to look up what nutrition producrs the event will provide on course, as you will want to trial those products during training if you want to use them during the event.

Karapoti Classic (50km) Nutrition Guide - $19.95

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Our experienced dietitian and endurance junkie Tom Shand will assess your nutrition needs and create a plan to achieve your goals. Whether you are after pure performance, or have complex nutritional requirements, Tom has the knowledge and experience to help you. Click here for more details.