Episode 101 - How Chris and Kelly are Saving more than $550 on Supplements Each Month!

How Chris and Kelly are Saving more than $550 on Supplements Each Month!

It blows my mind how much money people spend on the wrong nutrition advice and supplements! Triathlon is an expensive sport as it is without flushing your money down the toilet on things you don’t need or that simply aren’t effective.

Joining me for this episode are two Triathlon Nutrition Academy athletes, Chris Tubbs and Kelly Estes. They both candidly share how much money they are SAVING each month since joining the TNA program. I was honestly blown away by the full extent of it! 

For both of them, they are saving more money than what the entire program costs!! Just insane!

So if you’re looking for some clarity around the right sports foods and supplements you should invest in, vs the ones you can save your money on, come and join us inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy!

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It’s for you if you’re a triathlete and you feel like you’ve got your training under control and you’re ready to layer in your nutrition. It's your warmup on the path to becoming a SUPERCHARGED triathlete – woohoo!

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Episode Transcription

Episode 101: How Chris and Kelly are Saving more than $550 on Supplements Each Month!

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:36

Joining me today on the podcast is two Academy athletes. We have Kelly Estes and Chris Tubbs, who are both based in the US actually. Chris just completed Chattanooga and Escape from Alcatraz and he's prepping for his fourth Ironman Cozumel later this year. And Kelly has been dabbling in lots of Olympic distance races, a 70.3 and is gearing up for his very first Ironman in California in October later this year. So welcome, lads!

Chris Tubbs  01:07

Hey, Taryn. Hey, Kelly.

Taryn Richardson  01:09

So both of you, I've asked you to come on the podcast for me because as a side benefit of joining the Academy, you are saving more money than the whole program is costing you - which just blows my mind. And I know that you're not alone in how many things that you took, like pills, potions, supplements, sports products that you maybe thought you needed, or things that you're using that just aren't quite right for you. And Chris, like, I remember so clearly, when you were thinking about joining the Academy, one of your biggest hesitations was that if you joined, if I could help you, you know, make sure I could get everything that you needed from your food, because you were so worried that I'd take all of your supplements away from you and you'd be left an empty shell of a human.

Chris Tubbs  02:02

Yes. I couldn't imagine not having all the supplements and all the bottles around and the organisation of those pills. So you absolutely did it.

Taryn Richardson  02:12

So what sort of things were you taking that you are no longer taking?

Chris Tubbs  02:17

Oh, gosh. I wrote a list down for this one because I was curious. Supplement wise, I was taking lots of vitamins, K2, D3, magnesium, because I cramp quite a bit and I thought magnesium would would help with that. B complex, vitamin E. So that was the supplements. And then the additions like protein collagen, I was using collagen every day in things. Supplement called Athletic Greens for more vitamins and plant based stuff. AltRed, basically a vasodilator. And then ketones - I had bought into the idea about taking ketones would make me a better athlete and clearer minded. That stuff is so expensive. And all of those things, I've been able to remove them by eating food. As simple as it sounds, it didn't occur to me, I didn't know how to do it then beforehand. But eating food has allowed me to remove it all. And I think the only thing that I'll probably dabble with adding back is the magnesium for the cramping on the long sessions that I'm outside. It's really hot and I'm sweaty - I've got to make sure I've got enough of the salts and I think magnesium will help with that, too.

Taryn Richardson  03:28

Maybe. But there's no evidence that magnesium does anything to assist with muscle cramping, the exercise associated one. So perhaps hold the phone on that one. And it's not something I would tend to pull someone off but it's not something I'm going to recommend for cramping. Because for you, we figured out that you're probably a pretty heavy sweater and hydration is one of the first things we need to dial in first and see how that goes because it could be as simple as that. And if that's not working, we can look at some sodium and sweat testing. And then if that's still not working, we get you stronger, and do some more strength in the gym. And if you're going to do a hilly course, you run on hills. And then maybe if that's not working, then we can look at magnesium.

Chris Tubbs  04:14

Step seven.

Taryn Richardson  04:15

Yeah, priority: bottom.

Chris Tubbs  04:18

And this is why we're here.

Taryn Richardson  04:19

This is why we're here. So how long did it take you to remove those things? Was it like a cold turkey overnight? Did you slowly remove things piece by piece? How did that work?

Chris Tubbs  04:29

It was a gradual shift. As we went through the periodisation of eating and then adding foods that were whole in nutrients, I began doing that. I just stopped taking them. And then I found that my energy levels were good. And I didn't take some of these other things like the AG1's or the AltRed, the ketones. So they just went away and I liked not having to spend that money. So I didn't force it. You know I was uncomfortable not taking it. I worried how I would perform but I wasn't racing. So it was just in training, it was experimental. It felt good. So I continued to do it and now I don't.... I'll just use up what I have at some point and I won't buy any more.

Chris Tubbs  04:29

And so you have raced a couple of times, on not all of that magic concoction of pills and potions. And how did you go?

Chris Tubbs  05:22

Oh, man. I was... I felt like I was full of jet fuel. It was amazing! I actually had to hold myself back on the bike, I felt so good. I had, you know, a plan for how much power I was to hold and cadence. And while I was riding, I would ride above that and it felt so good. I had to remind myself "Now you still got to run afterwards. Slow down, buddy. I don't care how good you feel."

Taryn Richardson  05:22


Chris Tubbs  05:24

I've heard stories over and over again of people doing that, you know, riding, feeling great. And then when they get to the run their legs, it's like, "I quit. You blew me out on the bike and so I'm done". I didn't want to do that to myself. I felt good, I wanted to continue that - fueling that way through the whole race, see if I could continue to maintain the proper nutrition and stay that way through the red carpet.

Taryn Richardson  06:09

Yeah, amazing.

Chris Tubbs  06:10

I did.

Taryn Richardson  06:11

Amazing. Could be another reason for your cramps so, too like absolutely smashing yourself on a bike. Because you're feeling so supercharged. 

Chris Tubbs  06:19

Yes. I'm sure that contributed greatly to that.

Taryn Richardson  06:22

So I get another vote for some hydration and training over magnesium.

Chris Tubbs  06:27

Yeah, yeah.

Taryn Richardson  06:29

Okay, so do you have a dollar figure then for how much you're saving on a monthly basis from removing all of those things from your diet?

Chris Tubbs  06:37

Yes. It's roughly USD$350 a month.

Chris Tubbs  06:41

Yes and that's embarrassing. That is embarrassing to me because it makes me think well, what else am I wasting money or not being financially responsible and tight with, you know - my controls? But it absolutely paid for the time and the course that you had very quickly and I'm ahead now. So you're under charging, Taryn.

Taryn Richardson  06:41


Taryn Richardson  07:02

Ah, thank you. It's definitely a side benefit I didn't kind of consider. Like one of my passions is to teach you how to eat - now for performance, but also long term health. And yeah, the amount of money that you're saving, that's more than what the Academy costs on a monthly basis in US dollars. So that's just insane.

Chris Tubbs  07:20

Yes. I will also say it's actually more savings than that because the way that I buy groceries and what I prepare is less expensive than what I was buying before - just helter skelter buying things and going to restaurants. Now I'm much more conscious of the quality of food that I eat. And I even prepare in bulk over the weekend so that I, it's much less expensive but it's more fulfilling and satisfying when I eat it. So there's some of that is quantifiable, some of that is not really quantifiable. So it's in excess of $350 a month.

Taryn Richardson  07:54

That's insane. That's insane. So you're saving money by spending money and investing on your nutrition.

Chris Tubbs  08:02

Absolutely. And becoming a better athlete. You know, that's really the goal. I didn't go into this to save money on food. I went into this to learn how to become a better athlete and perform at a higher level. I was already spending the money. So this is a benefit that I didn't expect and I love it.

Taryn Richardson  08:21

Yes. Thank you. So good. All right, Kelly. Kelly is an engineer and he tells me he has a spreadsheet. So I'm really excited to hear about Kelly's detailed spreadsheet. But what type of things were you taking before that you're no longer taking or just don't feel like you need to?

Kelly Estes  08:42

Some of it was vitamins for daily, multivitamin and calcium and magnesium primarily. And then there was the sports drinks, I had a drink that I would have before exercise. And then there was a drink for after exercise, there's actually two different kinds of drinks for after exercise. And then there was a drink throughout the day. There was kind of this shake type thing that just had the advertisement is that it had all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you needed for the day.

Kelly Estes  09:12

And so those things, I was really relying on those every day - building those into my exercise routine - that I had all these different products that I took.  Some was vitamins, alot were these sports supplements and drinks that I was taking that was adding up. I mean, the stuff was really expensive. It was costing a lot of money. Similar to the ketones, you know, the products are really expensive - that I wasn't really paying attention to the cost as much as I was paying attention to, "Am I doing the right things to help my performance?" You know, thinking that I was doing the right things. But that's what led me to your program was ...there's all this information out there that was really confusing about what I really need to be doing. What do I really need to be taking, so that I can, you know, optimise the money I'm spending because eventually you're going to run out. You have a certain amount of money you make, you know, you got to be careful.

Taryn Richardson  10:01

Well, you're retired, so you're not making any more money. So yeah, you kind of have to watch that. But I love that you have a spreadsheet. I have a full confidence that you can manage that.

Kelly Estes  10:11

And now I spend money on other things, you know, the triathlon toys, and not the supplements.

Taryn Richardson  10:20

Yeah, I think that's a really interesting mindset shift, too. I know a lot of triathletes, we want to do as best as we can. We want to perform as best as we can. And so anything that is advertised to us or marketed to us, we're like, I don't want to miss out so I'm going to try that. And so you do end up like getting all this stuff that you feel like you should take because you don't want to get left behind. But then, like you lose food out of that equation by doing that, and you just end up taking all these pills and potions all day long.

Kelly Estes  10:50

Right. Because in addition to taking all those pills and potions, I mean, you're still as a triathlete trying to understand your nutrition. So you're still out there searching and reading and asking people's advice and doing anything you can to know what you need to do to optimise your performance. So there's still all this nutrition stuff that comes into play. And for me, I was thinking the supplements and these sports drinks and recovery, and shakes, were all part of the nutrition that was going to get me where I needed to be. But I didn't know, I really didn't know with any certainty until I came along to your program. And that's been really beneficial to help me understand with certainty of what I should be doing. That I didn't have that before.

Taryn Richardson  11:30

Bit of confidence and less overwhelm and confusion. A lot of triathletes build their pyramid from the wrong way up. Like they build the tip first, which is the one percenters, the supplements and things like that and have no idea how to eat on a day to day basis. They have no idea how to do recovery properly and pre training nutrition. And what are you doing in training? How do you eat for different types of training days? Like those foundation's just don't even exist. But you're wasting USD$350 a month on stuff that you think is going to make you perform better but we know that we get the best bang for your buck out of the small consistent habits that you do on a day to day basis. It is recovery, it is periodisation, it is fuelling for the work. Like I know that that happens and that's one of the reasons why I built the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program - is to teach athletes from the ground up and you two are a great testament to how good you can feel when you get that right. How much money are you saving on a monthly basis?

Kelly Estes  12:31

Between $450 and $550 a month is how much I'm saving. And like that might be a low number but it's certainly at least that much. And you asked Chris, you know, how do you transition did you just cold turkey or what not? For me, it was pretty much cold turkey because a lot of things that I've done over the years - when I try sports nutrition for different kinds of tri then you kind of feel like it's working or it's not. And so I just if I think it's not working, I just quit taking it and you never really notice a difference, right? And then you try the next thing. And so for me, I just quit taking, or stopped using, this sports nutrition stuff and I haven't noticed a difference.

Kelly Estes  12:33

In fact, as I've mentioned in a previous Power Hour that we had is ... is that my energy levels were to the point that in Phase 1 that I didn't need to take naps anymore because I used to come back from my morning exercise routine.

Chris Tubbs  13:26

Oh, wow!

Kelly Estes  13:27

And one of the things that I built in is I would come home, I would eat or drink something. But a lot of times I didn't feel hungry after exercising because I didn't understand the value of post exercise nutrition. So I'd come home, I'd lay down, take a nap for an hour or something like that - it would make me feel good. Then I would get up and kind of continue my day and maybe eat something down. But with your program, you know, I understand the nutritional targets for pre exercise, during exercise and post exercise to where my energy levels were such that I seldom think about a nap. I mean, it's just not there anymore. I don't have to worry about that.

Taryn Richardson  14:05

That's crazy. And the other thing that I remember clearly from the beginning for you is that we have our own community group and there's a lot of food photos flying around because I encourage it but it's awesome. But your pre training fuel in the beginning was like a Ucan bar and something else that was like a package supplement type thing. And it hit your targets but it was getting you to think more broadly from something like that into more real food and now, like, look at you go! What are you using pre training now, Kelly?

Kelly Estes  14:14

So some kind of carb, typically some kind of a bagel or carb. Maybe some peanut butter, banana, honey type things depending on what it is. They will be a little different when I move into carb loading for races. But just my day to day stuff that's a typical breakfast for me. And then I have targets for carb consumption during exercise that I practice all the time that keeps me energised throughout my exercise routines. And then afterwards, I have the post exercise targets for carb and protein intake that helped me stay right where I need to be where before, I might think about, well, I better take some gels with me on the run or on the bike.

Kelly Estes  15:15

But I didn't know how much, you know. I was all kind of just trying to figure out what do I need to do to feel good or feel like I have enough energy without knowing if I'm hitting the right amount. So it's trial and error. With your program and the targets that I have, it's a no brainer that my nutrition is now just as as simple as my training program for the run, bike and swim. I have some daily schedule I do that helps me optimise my performance for training. Well, you've provided that same thing for nutrition to where all I have to do is follow your guidance. And my nutrition is on target - aligned with my training.

Taryn Richardson  15:51

Amazing. How good is that? Without having to keep digging through Dr. Google and wasting all that time fumbling around trying to figure it out for yourself?

Kelly Estes  15:59

You know, when I was looking for your program, it was something that I was hoping to find. And the Triathlon Nutrition Academy provided everything in a one stop shopping. You provide everything I needed to get me where I needed to go. So I don't have to go off and read nutrition articles, nutrition books. I don't have to ask advice. In fact, whenever I see people asking advice, I just kind of rub my hands together and think, "Man, I know what the answer is to that", right? I know what I should be doing. For me anyway. I know what I need to do for me.

Chris Tubbs  16:29

And one of the things I realised recently and going into the race/last race was I felt freer, because I wasn't worried about what choices to make and what I should do. I knew. So it was just a matter of planning to do it and the timing of it. So I would say that that was another unexpected piece is the freedom - the mental and emotional freedom of knowing what to do rather than worrying all the time or being uncertain.

Taryn Richardson  16:55

Yeah. So I'm glad we went with Chris first because Kelly, you just blew his number out of the water. So I actually had no idea what your figures were before we hit record. So basically, what you're saying is I should increase the price of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy because you guys are saving money per month. Like you're saving a couple of USD$100 a month Kelly by joining the program. So, amazing!

Kelly Estes  17:20

Part of it, though, is convincing people of the savings. It's kind of hard for people to swallow at first to realise that there there is going to be a savings. And so I think there is something there that should be appealing to people. But you know, most people don't know that upfront. They're going to be a little skeptical until they're in the program. But here you have two guys on your podcast today telling you that the proof is there. And you probably could ask about anybody and see that they're saving money - it's just to, kind of, quantify it as easily as we have.

Chris Tubbs  17:54


Taryn Richardson  17:55

Because it is an investment - it's an investment financially, it's an investment in time. And I wanted it to be like that so that the people that are inside are committed. Like I don't want flaky people that like dip in for a week and then like, it's too hard or can't be bothered, so they're out. Because you don't get results unless you do the work. Just like you have to train your muscles to do the distance. Food and nutrition is training as well - it really is the fourth leg of triathlon. So you've got to swim, bike, run, and intersect that with the perfect nutrition to maximally support your training. But I can't do that for you. There's no magic pill or potion. I can't spoon feed you. I can't cook for you either, though I get many requests for that. But I can equip you with the knowledge and skills to manage that for yourself, which honestly is so much more powerful.

Kelly Estes  18:45

So I'd like to add also that the Academy, you know, starts off with you providing a lot of meaningful information and you start doing it and then eventually, you know, like Chris and I, you back away from the supplements and the sports drinks and things like that, and you gain this confidence that this is working. And it just continues to be this transition that goes on for the entire three phases of the program and probably beyond. Because I can see that, for me, I continue to look at healthier things to eat, better meal choices. I eat out at a restaurant maybe once every two or three months. We're used to - I would eat out more often but I know at home, I'm getting the things I need that's going to give me the energy that I want just through the shopping I do at the grocery store. And so it's ongoing to where, you know, I can see over the next few years, I will just become more disciplined in the nutrition just like I'm more disciplined in the swim, bike and run that it's all going to just continue to get better and better - with using what I've learned here in the Triathlon Nutrition Academy.

Taryn Richardson  19:47

Chris, you are the same. You used to eat out a lot just because you travel a lot for work. And what have you done to help manage that more yourself?

Chris Tubbs  19:57

So I still travel a lot for work. When I eat out, I don't go for what my mouth wants. I go for what is going to make my body feel satisfied and feel good. So I cut back on a lot of the extra salty, rich foods that I like to eat and very little alcohol. And when I'm at home, I prefer to go buy groceries and prepare food. Where I know what's in it and what it's going to taste like and I know how I'm going to feel afterwards. The worst thing for me now is to eat something really heavy and it tastes good but I know I don't like it. And then for three days, my body feels like shit. And it takes a while to like expel all of that and start to get back to, you know normal - what I consider normal now. But before that was normal. So I do that. And it doesn't feel like a sacrifice from cutting and restricting myself foods. I'm eating what I want to eat and what makes me feel good and energised and light. And that's my preference.

Taryn Richardson  20:59

Yeah, it's amazing how good you can feel when you know what to do and then you can feel that. But otherwise, you're just like in this little mediocre gray zone of feeling rubbish all the time but you just think that's normal.

Chris Tubbs  21:11

Right? So I have to be very mindful when I'm on the road. And sometimes, I won't ... if there's nothing that I want to really put in my body, I'll just get some water and I just won't eat for a while. I just I'd rather be hungry than eat the garbage.

Taryn Richardson  21:25

Yeah, well, that's huge for you. Hey, what one of the things I wanted to do on the website - you know how you see those like, kilos lost - how much weight people have lost. And for me, it's not about that. I want you to be like better humans, better triathletes. But what I think we need to do is put a scale on the website that says dollars saved by joining the program. Because you can't be the only two. Like you've got significant savings but there'd be more for sure. I think we just probably need to share your spreadsheet around, Kelly.

Chris Tubbs  21:57


Kelly Estes  21:58

Yeah, no, it's there. The savings is there for probably everybody. I think it's a good idea. You should because it's something you can't deny.

Taryn Richardson  22:05

Yeah, amazing. And increase my pricing is the other thing I've taken from today. But I'm not going to do that, I'm not going to do that. Thank you so much for sharing those figures with me. I am actually blown away. Like I knew you guys were saving some money, but I honestly didn't think it would be that significant. Like we're hundreds of dollars above what the Academy costs on a monthly basis.

Taryn Richardson  22:26

All right, we do have doors to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy open on the 8th of July to the 16th. So if you're in the US like these two, that's the 7th to the 15th. But unless you're living under a rock, you should see that across socials, emails, podcast, all the things that you can't miss it. It is the last time that we're opening doors for 2023. I can't believe I'm saying that, honestly. We won't open again until January 2024. So if you want to feel like a supercharged triathlete and save cash on things that you just don't need and have clarity around the things that you do, then you want to head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. It is an investment, yes, absolutely. But if you're like these two, then I'll be saving you more money than the program costs on a monthly basis. So it's basically you're losing money not joining, right?

Chris Tubbs  23:19

That's right.

Taryn Richardson  23:20

All right. Thank you so much. I'll see you at Power Hour soon. Good luck to your upcoming races this year. I'm excited to see how you go.

Chris Tubbs  23:27

Great talk with you Kelly and Taryn.

Kelly Estes  23:27

Yep. Thanks Chris. Thank you Taryn.

Taryn Richardson  23:28

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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