Taming tummy trouble
Are you having trouble eating while training? Do you suffer from bloating, wind, nausea, or worse? A few changes to your nutrition can make a whole lot of difference. Whilst I tell my daughter that the cause of her "sore tummy" is the fact that she picks her nose and eats it, or drinks the water at the pool, the following are some legitimate causes of stomach issues during exercise, and what you can do to fix them. NB: make changes early on in your training programme so that come event day you have the perfect strategy.
Potential Cause: You have tried to take on too much fuel too soon.
Your gut needs to be trained to tolerate carbohydrates during exercise. Just like you started with training sessions and are slowly building up your distance, if you start with a small amount of carbohydrates per hour, and slowly increase this, you will slowly but surely train your gut to absorb and tolerate the carbohydrates that you eat. Amazing aye? (It is because your intestines build 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, before adding a gel every hour of exercise. Increase this over time and you should be aiming for at least 60g of carbs per hour of exercise by event day.
Potential Cause: You have flavour fatigue.
Experiment with different tastes and textures. There is a huge variety of options available, from sports drink, gooey 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 Cause: You are consuming only one type of sugar
Use both fructose and glucose during exercise. Fructose and glucose are types of sugar and are absorbed differently (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 correct.
Potential Cause: Your pre-race nutrition is not doing you any favours
Having nutrition too close to training, or the wrong sort of food in the build up to training can cause problems. First and foremost you should choose a pre-training meal that makes you feel good. In theory it should be high in carbs, low in fat, and low in protein, although different things work for different people.
Drinking water in the build up to long training sessions is also important, dehydration can cause stomach issues so starting training well hydrated and then drinking (at least 500mls per hour) during training can be beneficial.
Potential Cause: You're a sports nutrition rebel
The standard sports nutrition guidelines don't work for everyone. Maybe you are better off following an alternative approach. Try making your own fuel out of whole foods (I have a few recipes up my sleeve), make your own sports drink, or try a low carb high fat approach. Experiment on yourself, but make sure you get onto this early so you have plan for race day.
Once you have settled on something that works for you, stick to this - especially on event day. It is a good idea to look up what nutrition the event will provide on course, as you will want to have trialled this during training. Nuun and Clif sponsor the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, so be sure to trial their products. Please note Nuun does not contain carbohydrates.
Trailblazer is now teaming up with Ventouro, official coaching provider for the the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, to offer a personalised 12 week program with integrated nutrition to amplify your efforts. Your program can be tailored to any of the events on offer from 40km to the 320km Enduro. If you have a goal time we will set the hours required per week to help you achieve this and each training session will have a nutrition plan to match the effort. If you are a first timer to the event we are also offering event day advice including logistics and strategy on how to use all the knowledge you have gained during your training. The 12 week plan will cost just $179 and includes a short consultation to get to know you, your personalised plan, support group and recipe cards for those all important recovery meals.
To sign up simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about the integrated training and nutrition programme.
Trailblazer Nutrition has three nutrition programmes available for people doing the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. Two are available at discounted rates through the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge shop.
Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Nutrition Programme
A programme specific to the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge that covers everything that you need to know for training and event day, but is not personalised. Click here for more details.
Trailblazer Nutrition Personalised Nutrition Programme
The Trailblazer Nutrition Programme is an interactive, personalised, nutrition plan designed specifically for you by our sports dietitian, Tom Shand. With ongoing contact with Tom, your nutrition for training and on event day is sorted. Click here for more details.
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.