Beyond the Hype: Exploring 6 Endurance Sport Myths

As you can imagine, I get asked a lot of questions about training. What’s the best type of training to improve VO2max? How much protein do endurance athletes need? Do I need to do strength training? How early should I taper? These are all great questions, and I love working with athletes to find the answer.

Alongside questions, there are a number of assumptions – or myths – that come up again and again when working with athletes, that I work hard to bust. In this blog, I am going to try and bust six of the biggest endurance sports myths.

Myth #1: Training the gut enhances carbohydrate use.

“I consume carbohydrates at high rates during training, to train my gut to digest and absorb carbohydrates at higher rates. That allows me to get more energy from sports drinks and gels during racing.”

Gut training – the practice of consuming carbohydrates at very high rates during training – has been investigated by researchers. The idea behind gut...

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Are Carbohydrate-hydrogels the next great product in sports nutrition?

- By Dr. Dan Plews & Ed Maunder

From time-to-time, there is a flurry of research interest into a new product in sports nutrition, as researchers seek to determine if they have discovered the next great ergogenic aid. Recently, that product seems to be carbohydrate-hydrogels (1, 2, 7, 8, 10). In this blog, we are going to review what is a growing literature on this product, and assess if hydrogels are something you should consider adding to your race-day bottle.


What is a hydrogel?

First things first, what is a hydrogel, and how does it work? A carbohydrate-hydrogel is a regular carbohydrate-containing sports drink, only with pectin and sodium alginate added. Pectin and sodium alginate have little effect until the drink reaches the high acidity of the stomach, where it forms a gel-like mixture. Supposedly, the gel-like mixture allows for faster pass through the stomach into the intestine – what is called ‘gastric emptying’ – and speeds the rate at...

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