New Nutrition / Hydration Plan Review

If you are a consistent reader of this blog then you know I am always looking for ways to improve my performance in the sport of triathlon.  I will test products in terms of recovery as well as during my training to find that extra edge.  It could something as simple as changing my breakfast pre-workout (which I have and now consists of rice cakes, nut butter, sliced banana, coffee and water) to something as big as an aero helmet.  The common thread is improvement.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't, but without testing it out I would never know what is the best way to go. [caption id="attachment_3086" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Look at all the liquid left in that Speedfil"]Ironman-California-Jason-Bahamundi[/caption] Yesterday I decided to make a change to my nutrition and hydration plan.  If you read my 70.3 Ironman California race report you will remember that I barely drank anything.  I have a Speedfil so getting liquid should be easy yet during that race the bottle had more color to it than it was empty.  I was dehydrated for the run and once in that state there is no way to get rehydrated and thus you are running on fumes. During the CapTexTri I had issues with my tube being being clogged and could not get hydration from my Speedfil and had to reach behind me to grab water.  Having only water meant that getting enough calories was going to be difficult. Nutrition, on the other hand, has not been a problem.  From the beginning I trained by cutting a PowerBar into 4 pieces and eating every 15 minutes.  I loved the fact that I could break the race into 15 minute segments and have the chance to eat.  A PowerBar has 250 calories in it so I was getting all my calorie needs met from food and I felt I was doing great and just needed to figure out my hydration. [caption id="attachment_3072" align="alignright" width="204" caption="Plenty of calories in liquid form for my ride"]Herbalife-24-Prolong-Nutrition-Facts-Endurance-Athlete[/caption] The change that I made was to get the majority of my calories from liquids and supplement them with some food.  What was going to be the combination of liquid and food you are asking yourself?  I decided to go with a Speedfil full of Herbalife24 Prolong and 1.5 HoneyStinger Vanilla Waffles.  The Prolong has 250 calories per serving and I could hold two servings in the Speedfil.  That equates to 500 calories, but based on needing 250 calories per hour I would need at least another 125 calories.  This is where the HoneyStinger Waffles come into play.  Each waffle is 160 calories and having 1.5 of them means another 240 calories.  In total I would consume 740 calories on the 2 hour and 30 minute ride. My plan was to drink every 15 minutes while eating half a waffle every 45 minutes.  This plan would work in terms of being able to wash down the waffle with the drink on that 45 minute interval.  The last thing I would want to have happen is to have a chunk of waffle lodge in my throat while trying to ride so this made total sense to me. Throughout the ride I stuck to my plan and was taking 4 sips every 15 minutes of the Prolong and eating the portion of waffle every 45 minutes.  I loved the taste of the Prolong (lemon) and truly loved the fact that the liquid even tasted great when it was starting to get warm.  Previous liquid hydration would tend to be gritty and sugary and as it got warm would not be enjoyable.  I found myself not wanting to drink because of that taste and would just grab my water bottle and drink water, which led to a lack of calories on the bike. One other item I noticed, that was a major change, was the lack of a bloated stomach.  I never felt like I had this stretched out stomach with food just sitting in it.  I was not concentrating on the fact that I felt full but needed to keep eating to get those calories in.  Drinking my calories allowed my stomach to remain normal and not distended.  Eating the waffles every 45 minutes allowed me to digest them before eating again. One lesson I learned from Jon over at SwiCycloRun (head over there and wish him good luck on Ironman Lake Placid in two weeks) was that if I did not feel hungry at the start of the run then I got enough calories in me during the bike and I have always used that as a gauge.  Today, when I transitioned from the bike to the run I made it a point to think about whether or not I was hungry and I certainly was not.  My stomach was not grumbling and I felt great and ready to run. [caption id="attachment_3068" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Speedfil Was Empty After My Ride & Able to Take It Off The Bike"]herbalife-24-jason-bahamund-cycling[/caption] My take away from this change in nutrition / hydration plan is that getting my calories from liquids is the best idea for me.  Supplementing with a great product like HoneyStinger works for me.  Besides not being hungry at the end of my ride and not being dehydrated at the end of the run I have some stats that show that this worked for me. Last week I rode this exact same course at the pace of 18 mph.  I ran the same course as yesterday at the pace of 8:15 / mile.  Under my new plan I rode at 19.2 mph and ran at 7:47/mile.  I am beside myself at what an improvement this is.  Can I place all of the improvement on the change in plan?  No I cannot because there is the fact that I have been training along with temperature and wind condition changes. What I do know is that I never felt full and that my stomach did not have a heavy feeling which allowed me to run well off the bike.  My take away is that liquid calories works for me and is how I plan on getting through the bike in all future races.   There are plenty of products on the market that will allow you to get your calories through liquid.  There is Infinit and Carbo Pro to just name two off the top of my head.  My suggestion is, if you don't have a race soon, change your hydration / nutrition plan and see what combination works best for you.  I am thrilled to know that this simple change has allowed me to realize that I don't have to ride and run while having that feeling of having just eaten a seven course meal.

[caption id="attachment_3073" align="aligncenter" width="176" caption="250 calories per serving is perfect for my needs"]Herbalife-24-Prolong-Endurance-Athlete[/caption]

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[caption id="attachment_3071" align="aligncenter" width="254" caption="Great Taste. Organic. Perfect Food For The Bike"]HoneyStinger-Organic-Vanilla-Waffles[/caption]

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[caption id="attachment_3069" align="aligncenter" width="224" caption="I was beyond thrilled with my speed and nutrition / hydration"]Herbalife-24-Jason-Bahamundi-Cycling-Endurance-Athlete[/caption]  

How Do You Fuel Your Training / Racing?

Have You Tinkered Around With Your Plan Until You Found That Right Combination?

Disclaimer:  I am sponsored by Carla and Eddie Weber of Nutrition Addiction which is an independent distributor of Herbalife.  My review of this product was not influenced by my sponsors.  I believe that the product helped me but I also believe that the calories via a liquid form is my biggest takeaway from this experiment.
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Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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