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“Big” Vegan, and Finding the Real “Game Changer” for Your Endurance Performance

- Professor Grant Schofield and Dr Daniel Plews 

 

We’ve watched  the battleground in diet shift recently from debates around saturated fat, and eating more healthy whole grains, to a largely vegan agenda. The ideology of the Garden of Eden diet, is close to the vegan ideals driven primarily through the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and touted as a recruitment strategy (or “health ministry”). Recently, it's gone to greater levels. The Netflix doco “Game Changers” has seen widespread discussion around this topic, and we’ve been fielding a lot of questions around this of late. This blog is our attempt to sum up our thoughts.

We’ve listed the pros, neutrals, and cons of adopting such a diet for general health and when in the context of sports performance. There are many ways that you can approach this topic, from health, sustainability, moral and personal perspectives to a sports performance perspective. We'll be tackling a few...

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Why a Ketogenic Diet is Probably NOT Optimal for Performance in Endurance Athletes

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2019

Given that we have put together an extensive course on how low carbohydrate diets optimise performance in long-distance triathlon at Endure IQ, we’re sure that title got your attention!

Throughout our Endure IQ LDT 101 online course, we outline the reasons why adopting a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet to become ‘fat adapted’ may help us to perform at our best in an Ironman triathlon. This dietary approach drives adaptations that allow us to tap in to our effectively unlimited fat energy stores at a much higher rate than ingesting a traditional mixed diet would, in order to support energy expenditure during exercise.

This effectively reduces the energetic burden placed on our body’s finite endogenous carbohydrate fuel stores, which become depleted to very low concentrations after long-duration vigorous exercise, a phenomenon linked to the dreaded bonk. However, when talking about fat-adaptation, we receive a lot of questions about whether we should be in...

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Should I Train With My Race Supplements?

- 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...

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Will my Carbohydrate Usage Change in Kona? How Heat Impacts Low Carb-Heathy Fat Diets - Part 2

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...

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How Heat Impacts a Low Carb Health Fat Diet - Heat Spins Glycogen - Part 1

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...

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HRV Guided Training: Maximizing your Training in the Last Phase of the Season

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...

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VIDEO: Low Carb Triathlon Training - Latest Research Findings from Dr Dan Plews

 

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.

 

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Jan Van Berkel: The Ketocop on the Low Carb Healthy Fat Diet

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...

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VIDEO: Protein Requirements and Low Carbohydrate Availability Research

 

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...

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What is your Maximal Fat Oxidation Rate?

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...

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