Episode 25 - Behind the Scenes of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy with Nic Hipkin 

Behind the Scenes of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy with Nic Hipkin

“I wish I did this 7 years ago when I first started in the sport”.

I’m giving you a peek behind the scenes and showing you a little insight into what the journey to become a SUPERCHARGED Triathlete looks like.

You’re going to hear first-hand from Nic who has been showing up and doing the program since day 1.

Why did she decide to join? What has she learnt? And what has been the biggest changes to her nutrition so far?

From feeling tired and fatigued all the time and lacking direction to transforming into a confident and energised triathlete who can now do double session days…this is Nic’s story.

Take a listen!

Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast

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Episode Transcription

Episode 25 - Behind the Scenes of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy with Nic Hipkin

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 00:43
Hello, and welcome. Today, I wanted to give you a little bit of a peek inside behind the scenes of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program. So instead of banging on about it myself all the time, I've got one of our athletes Nic here with me just to give you a bit of insight into what we've been up to. So welcome, Nic.

Nic Hipkin 01:01
Hi, thanks for having me.

Taryn Richardson 01:02
Oh, you're welcome. I'm excited and thanks for you know, going in the deep end and jumping on a podcast with me.

Nic Hipkin 01:08
Yeah, yeah, it's a deep end, it's a new experience, I'm going to say that.

Taryn Richardson 01:12
You'll be fine. So I've known Nic for quite a while now actually, she came to see me privately many years ago for triathlon nutrition, and she was actually the very first person to sign up to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy when doors first opened in September 2021. In fact, she clicked on the cart and purchased before doors even like officially opened so she was keen beans. Nic, how do you pay for your triathlon habit?

Nic Hipkin 01:39
Oh look, I'm very thankful in terms of the job that I have. I'm an executive officer, and I've been with that now for just over 15 years, so I've swapped and changed, but it's the adventure of triathlon I love, I think I'm kind of addicted to it. I've been doing it now for about seven, eight years. So it's an expensive sport, it's not just one sport.

Taryn Richardson 01:59
Yeah you've got to pay for three.

Nic Hipkin 02:00

Taryn Richardson 02:01
So do you train with a squad or a group?

Nic Hipkin 02:03
Yes, I train with Southbank Tri Club. So there's a group of us throughout the week that would train. There is also a group of us that will generally get together on the weekend and got into park run. I'm heavy into park run now, never used to be and then even Sunday's there's that long ride there is somewhere.

Taryn Richardson 02:18
It's a great little group Southbank, a nice like Brisbane local group, a really nice community feel that one.

Nic Hipkin 02:24
Yeah, massively and that's probably the main thing I loved about it. It's actually one thing I love about triathlon itself, the community is amazing. Doesn't matter who you see at races or who you see training with, there's always new faces, but there's also the same old people you know you see, and it's just amazing to see people's progress and challenges that they're taking on.

Taryn Richardson 02:44
Southbank has a really good beginner program if anyone is listening and looking to sort of get into the sport. It's a nice sort of low barrier to entry group to start with, there's no expectations, no judgement if you have no idea what a cleat is, or what a trisuit is or you know, you're turning up on a mountain bike. So it's a really nice welcoming community if you are looking at getting into triathlon to start with.

Nic Hipkin 03:07
Yeah, we've actually got one starting very soon. So looking forward to seeing the growth of those guys come in. It's a little bit of my jam at the moment that I'm loving. I just took on a coach’s course, so I'm looking forward to using some of those skills now in triathlon for the new beginners coming through.

Taryn Richardson 03:24
There you go. So Nic, what made you actually want to join the Triathlon Nutrition Academy?

Nic Hipkin 03:29
Probably in 2020, when COVID kind of first hit, when we first knew all about it, I had just done my first half Ironman in 2019. Things were okay, I managed to scrape through that race but probably needed something a bit more in the background, because actually all I did was rely on an Olympic plan that you had done for me and went Nah, I need some more.

Nic Hipkin 03:53
And just generally, I'm in my 40s I'm not going to lie, and things are changing, things are moving and I wanted to just sink my teeth into something in nutrition. I've been told and I've done exercise for a long time, I used to play hockey for years, I played that for 20 years, you know, and people said, just, you know, look after yourself, eat the right things. But this sport or three sports, you just got to work out what you actually got to eat and actually really be rigid with it to some degree. So I really wanted to just take that on and find some more energy again to do another half Ironman.

Taryn Richardson 04:28
Yeah amazing. One of the things you told me I think when you first started is that you're just so tired all the time. And a big part of that is potentially just not the right nutrition.

Nic Hipkin 04:37
Yeah, that was that was probably a little bit of COVID fatigue, and just fatigue, in general, had started to creep in. And yeah, I just wasn't feeling as up and ready to go for, you know, I had to get up at 4:30 for our 5:30 starts and I just wasn't feeling it again, I didn't have the same energy. I don't know how I trained through winter for my half Ironman, let alone trying to get up and go in again. So yeah, it was literally the nutrition and just all of that I just wanted to do a complete overhaul.

Taryn Richardson 05:08
So you've only been in the program for a short period of time, yet we're not quite through all of the stuff that we're going to go through. What do you think, just out of what we've done to date, is the biggest change you've made with your nutrition so far?

Nic Hipkin 05:21
The biggest thing and probably the biggest thing mentally as well is eating more. I am literally eating before training, making sure I'm religiously trying to eat my breakfast and have my right carbs and protein after breakfast because I train a lot in the morning.

Nic Hipkin 05:38
I struggle to train in the afternoon, it's only recently that I've been able to get back into my double sessions a day during the week and actually have some energy to continue on. It's that eating more and when I say mentally it's because you're told when you go to the gym, cut back, eat less, eat more veggies, but then train more to lose weight. I'm struggling a little bit with that, but mentally, that's also the change I think that's coming through because I am getting that energy back again yeah.

Taryn Richardson 06:08
A lot of females come to triathlon with that sort of dieting mentality, you're not alone in that. I'm sure there's people listening that are like, "oh that's me, too". We always feel like we have to cut back to drop fat and I don't know many females that don't want to lose body fat. I think most people out there, there's a few that really struggle to keep on weight, but probably 95% of females that I see want to drop body fat, and so I see them, and they're not eating properly before and after training. They're kind of cutting out nutrition where they need it the most and then falling into a heap in the afternoon because they haven't supported their training with the right nutrition.

Taryn Richardson 06:27
And your right, it's a total mindset shift to kind of get your head around eating more. Because you're trying to lose body fat, so why would you eat more, that doesn't make any sense. But sometimes if we eat more, we actually do a better job of body fat loss overall, because we're not craving sweet and reaching for the cookie jar in the afternoon and making poorer food choices when we're just so tired. Sometimes you know, focusing on eating more can help you to actually reach your goals faster than coming from that dieting restriction pullback, pullback mentality.

Nic Hipkin 07:22
Yeah, totally.

Taryn Richardson 07:23
So the biggest change you've made so far is eating more, which is interesting. So it's nice for other people to I think hear that. To know that you are eating more and still heading towards the goals that you want to achieve.

Nic Hipkin 07:36
Yeah, yeah. Look, I remember when I came and saw you all those years ago. I think it was 2015, it was actually my first ever Olympic.

Taryn Richardson 

Nic Hipkin 
I was struggling back then to even do double sessions and I think you said eat more then and even then I went, "no, this will be fine, I'm, you know, I'm eating the right things" and you know, you didn't change a massive amount of my diet back then. But I didn't add in the extra carbs, I didn't add in the extra protein and I suppose that is one of the things in terms of why I jumped on this time.

Nic Hipkin 08:04
And I think I even said to a couple of the other people in the academy that if I had this tool, back then seven years ago, or an avenue to go here, stick with this for 12 months and learn the techniques, I think my triathlon definitely along the course would be completely different and my nutrition would be completely different. I think there'd be a different type of fatigue that I'd be looking out for, it would be just literally being in my 40s and going yeah, you know, you're doing three sports still in your 40s, yeah.

Taryn Richardson 08:34
Again, you're not alone in that thought. A lot of people want to try and wing it on Google first or just ask their buddies or they think, oh, it's not that difficult, I can do it myself. And then they fumble around in the dark for ages and wing it and really like sometimes you just got to commit to yourself to get a bit of direction, get a bit of framework, and really fast track your success.

Taryn Richardson 08:54
I know that sounds a bit corny, but you invest in a physio you might invest in massage, you have invested in a coach and a training program and my blood starting to boil talking about this, but people just don't invest in themselves. Like nutrition is probably a lot of the piece of the puzzle for most people. Like yes, you need to train, but you also need to interlock that with the right nutrition to support that and that's going to make you the best triathlete that you can be.

Nic Hipkin 09:18
Yeah, totally agree, now having been with the program for at least, what? Six months. Learning different things as we go and so you can adapt to that and that's been really handy because I'm now moving into the Mooloolaba phase for the Olympic and so, I can't wait to see what the end result for that's going to be. But also just yeah, I can't believe I haven't looked at this earlier and looked at my nutrition and done a complete overhaul. When really it's been probably the main thing I needed to do because yeah, I found my physio, I found my other people I needed to see but just not my nutrition, it was the last thing I've left.

Taryn Richardson 09:53
It's okay, you're here now. It's all good, we've got you covered.

Nic Hipkin 09:57

Taryn Richardson 09:58
So Nic, is there anything that you've got out of the program that you just weren't expecting to get out of it?

Nic Hipkin 10:02
It's been a learning curve. I think it's adapting on to what I already know, in terms of nutrition and what you've learnt, but really honing in how that can really work for you. And I think the biggest thing is you haven't said, chuck everything out of the cupboard. Like, you know how some people will go, just get it all out of the cupboard and start fresh, or go do this.

Nic Hipkin 10:27
The main thing is you haven't changed any of the major, spending habits or eating habits it's just adapting to; maybe add this to your plate, maybe change this to your plate, maybe think about this instead. Or have this as a pre and you've given us so far all the tools and examples of what we can do for you know, our pre and post nutrition. Now we're moving into the phases of the meal preparation and other bits and pieces, so it's just a step by step plate.

Taryn Richardson 10:57
I don't like wasting food, so I'm never going to tell you to throw your whole cupboard out. I'm actually glad you said that. I haven't heard anybody voice that to me in a while. But one of the fears I see people face when they come in to see me, or work with a Dietitian, is that we're just going to say you can't eat anything anymore, or you can't ever have alcohol, you can't ever eat chocolate, you can't, you know, ever eat takeaway or eat out and I guess that's not my methodology, or it's not how I work, because that sucks. Like, find a Dietitian that is going to let you have a glass of wine if you want to or can eat that chocolate, but I guess I have a mentality of more balance because that is long term lifestyle change.

Taryn Richardson 11:36
I'm not about quick fixes and diets and following the next shiny new thing. Like, everyone's doing intermittent fasting at the moment, because that's the new kid on the block and it's not even new. But I think that's one of my biggest take-homes from the academy is that people get that knowledge and information from a credible source. It's evidence-based, and I kind of am trying to weed through all the bullshit that's out there for you. So that I'm just telling you, this is good, this is worth looking at this is just a load of bollocks, don't worry about it, but give you the structure and the framework to make those decisions based on you. Because you're all individual and you all like different things and work different ways, so it's just about figuring out what's going to work best for you.

Nic Hipkin 12:20
Definitely, that is one of the things that I've always liked about your approach is exactly that. I enjoy my glass of wine and so I don't I want to chop that out. I've had PTs and other people say just don't drink it, it's like, hold on a moment. So yeah, it is that balance and that's what I have really liked and really enjoyed along with that process.

Nic Hipkin 12:43
And having us look at food labels as well. I mean, we haven't looked into that massively, but just looking to the back and well, okay, how much of that milk has got protein in it? Or how much of that particular bread that you usually get has got this particular carb in it? And do you need to buy another brand? Or do you need to look at another option? Or how many slices does that equal that? And that's been really useful to go, Oh okay, now I can see why x and y is going to give you this outcome.

Taryn Richardson 13:15
Nice. So bit of a shameless plug... just be careful because I'm not allowed to use testimonials as a Dietitian, but do you have any advice for someone that's thinking about joining the Triathlon Nutrition Academy?

Nic Hipkin 13:26
I think like anything, if you're hesitant, ask the question. But if you're nearly like 80 - 90%, thinking I should, just do it. It's like anything, it's like when you sign up for that race, and you go, oh, why did I do that for, that means I've got to do all this preparation and training. It's the same thing. You're just adding the nutrition to help you get through that preparation of that race. So if you're someone that will just sit there with a group of friends, and encourage people to sign up for a race and then you end up the only person end up doing it, then yeah, just do it.

Taryn Richardson 14:02
Don't use your half-ass, use your full ass. It'll change your life, hey, Nic.

Nic Hipkin 14:06
Yeah, yeah, and look and as I said if I'd known some of the things that I know from seven years ago, when I understood that plan further, even more, that race plan that you gave me back in 2015. I look back at it now, I've still got it. It's still printed and I’ve still got it available and says have this much carbs and I'm like, what do you mean this much carbs? And now I've got a much better understanding what that means.

Taryn Richardson 14:29
That would be one of the key differences between the academy and private one on one consulting, is that in private consulting, I do your plan for you and I give it to you. Yeah, we talk about it, we figure out what's going to be the best option for you and I do educate you a little bit. But nowhere near as deep as we have the time for within the Academy so you can really understand why we're doing something and then how to practically apply that to you and your situation. So that would be the main difference between the two for anyone that's wondering.

Nic Hipkin 14:57
Definitely, Yes. 

Taryn Richardson 14:59
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me, Nic,

Nic Hipkin 15:01
Thank you for having me, it's been great.

Taryn Richardson 15:06
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 could 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 at @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 smash it in the fourth leg - nutrition!

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