- By Jeff Rothschild
Sports supplements are everywhere. Most don’t live up to their claims, but there are a few that actually do! When it comes to enhancing endurance performance, some of the most well-studied are sodium bicarbonate, beta-alanine, beetroot juice, and caffeine, each of which can typically offer ~1-3% improvements across a variety of endurance-related measures. Unfortunately, they typically don’t synergize and offer compounding benefits, but they can all help in different ways and at different times.
If supplements are good for helping you go faster on race day, what happens if you take them all the time?
Do they wear off and lose their effect? Can they continue to offer the same benefit? Can they actually help your training? I recently published a review paper on this topic (1) and wanted to share some of the key takeaways.After reviewing 100+ papers testing the effects of supplements on endurance training...
As we discussed in part one of this blog, our recently published study led by my PhD student Ed Maunder (5) identified that moderate environmental heat stress of 35°C and 60 % relative humidity stimulates our carbohydrate use during cycling, but probably only at high intensities rather than the more moderate Wattages we cycle at most of the time during an Ironman triathlon. Practically, this might mean that we are cautious to limit high intensity spikes during the World Championships in Kona where we face the dual threats of bonking, and high heat, given that this could theoretically spin our carbohydrate use to a much greater extent than at an Ironman taking place at a lower temperature.
The second part of that same study sought to examine these effects under both more extreme, and less extreme environmental heat stress, given the wide-ranging conditions we encounter on the Ironman circuit, at different events and also within the same event. For example, it’s well known...
As all long-distance triathletes will know, a hot topic and key consideration when fine-tuning your preparation for the Ironman World Championships in Kona is heat. The effect of the high environmental temperatures encountered at The Big Dance on our physiology, psychology, and performance is so pronounced that we are actually putting together an entire course dedicated to it – LDT103, for which enrolments will open in May 2020.
This blog will summarize a recently published study conducted at AUT by my PhD student Ed Maunder (5), which focused on how acute heat stress impacts substrate metabolism during endurance exercise (i.e. fat vs carbohydrate use). We like to talk about this topic a lot and the implications of this study nicely link back to the important principles we outlined in our online course Endure IQ LDT101: The Practical Application of Low Carbohydrate Performance for Long Distance Triathlon. It’s undeniable that, reserving our limited carbohydrate...
With the race season coming to a close, and the Ironman World Championships just around the corner, many athletes will be squeezing in as many key sessions as possible during this critical training period. But as we sit on a knife’s edge between training “too much” and “too little”, it’s useful to have some objective measurement to ensure we’re maximizing the adaptation from every training session we undertake.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to have contributed to a heart rate variability guided training study with lead author Alejandro Javaloyes (1). The study compared an eight-week cycling training programme prescribed according to either pre-defined block periodization (BP) or guided using heart rate variability (HRV). That is, subjects completed either a mixed programme set out in advance or a programme adjusted on a day-to-day basis via daily heart rate variability measurements using the smartphone application ‘HRV4Training...
In this video, Dr Dan Plews gives an overview of his latest research (12 week very low carbohydrate (<50g) sports performance study) involving low carbohydrate diets (<50g) in recreationally trained athletes. This study is unique, as to our knowledge, it's one of the longest Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) studies conducted.
Watch the video to get Dan's take on the Low Carb Triathlon training needed, and understand what this data means for those LCHF athletes training for Long Distance Triathlon!
Click here for more information on our online course Endure IQ LDT101: The Practical Application of Low Carbohydrate Performance for Long Distance Triathlon.
Fresh off the plane from Zurich, I’m still on a high after seeing my good friend and athlete Jan van Berkel finished on top of the podium at the last ever Zurich-hosted Ironman Switzerland last weekend in a blistering time of 8:17:04. Jan likes to call himself The Ketocop, so the title of this blog is very appropriate.
Jan led the field out of the water with a 51:38 swim, led the field off the bike after a 4:35:14, and romped home to a 6-min victory over countryman Sven Riederer after a 2:46:41 marathon. Jan’s victory seems like an appropriate time to talk you through the journey we have been on through his Ironman career to date.
Jan approached me in 2016 as a very talented triathlete with quality results in Olympic distance triathlon but he was struggling to transition to Ironman. He had, as many do, been consistently blowing up in the last 10-15 km of the marathon, full of gels but out of gas. Given his pedigree at the Olympic...
In this video, Dr Dan Plews discusses a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Ontario in Canada, led by Jenna Gillen and Daniel Moore.
This team of researchers can be considered experts in the topic of the research, which was titled “Low-carbohydrate training increases the protein requirements of endurance athletes” and recently published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Watch the video to understand why endurance athletes restricting carbohydrate around training sessions (e.g. low carbohydrate training and fasted training) have elevated dietary protein requirements, and why eating too little protein could mean failure to capitalise on those precious adaptations gained through training.
For our Endure IQ protein shake mentioned in the video please complete the form below to access the download.
If you would like to find out more information on the LCHF approach to long distance triathlon, check out our website...
Photo credit AsiaTri
By Ed Maunder and Dan Plews
Straight off the back of some great racing at this weekend's 70.3 Vietnam Asia-Pacific Champs, we thought it was high time for another blog post. Some epic racing from some of our athletes last week, and greatly deserved. Berks taking second to current back-to-back World Ironman Champ Patrick Lange, and Assad Attimimi and Merle Talviste taking age-group wins (& 2nd spots in the age-group overall).
In the previous two blogs we talked about our paper in Sports Medicine last year where we made estimates of fat and carbohydrate utilisation rates during Ironman Triathlon at different performance standards (8, 9, and 13-h finishing times). We also published the spreadsheet we used to do this online, where individual athletes and practitioners could plug in their own measured values from laboratory assessments to enable more precise estimates.
However, we understand that many individuals do not have access to the...
At the end of the last blog we talked about our paper published in the Journal of Sports Medicine. This paper showed that even at very high levels of fat oxidation, some exogenous carbohydrate is required during Ironman racing for professional and top age-group athletes even when fat adapted. However, upon publication, it was unfortunate that it seems the main message received by many was that Ironman triathletes at high-performance levels must ingest carbohydrate in order to meet their energy requirements, or risk bonking. However, this take-home message was incorrect. In fact, a better way to preserve those precious carbohydrate energy stores, through increasing our capacity to make use of fat as an energy source during exercise.
Our ability to make use of fat as an energy source during exercise can and will change with interventions in diet and training. Generally speaking, fitter athletes will have higher fat oxidation rates for a given speed or power output during exercise. For...
It’s Monday, and we’re fresh from some great racing at Ironman New Zealand. It was really great to be down watching some racing again (and yes, I did miss racing myself!).
While down at the event, Prof Grant Schofield and I were invited to present on the low carbohydrate healthy fat (LCHF) performance for Ironman.
The link to the presentation can be found in this closed Facebook group here (anyone can join), and we think it was quite well received with 50+ people attending.
However, as always around racing, one of the main questions we always receive is “how do I fuel my races with LCHF?”. Luckily, along with two of my endurance physiology colleagues at AUT, we discussed this very topic in a paper that used theoretical energy fuel requirements of Ironman triathletes at different performance levels (~8 h, ~9 h, and ~13 h).
This paper was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, and I’ve tried to summarise below. The science is quite heavy...