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Signs you might not be eating enough to support triathlon training

Jun 30, 2022

 

How do you know if you’re eating enough to support training for three sports? 

The body is smart. It will give you some warning signs if you’re not fuelling properly. Some warning signs will be a light touch like a feather, others will be harder like a brick being thrown at you or, louder still, like being hit by a truck !!

Did you know that your body fuels training first, before spending energy to supporting our daily bodily functions – like breathing, digesting, growing, living!!??

Here are a few signs you’re not eating enough:

  • You’re not training well and/or your motivation to train is low
  • You’re not recovering very well or quickly enough
  • You keep getting annoying niggly injuries 
  • You continuously get sick or can’t seem to shake things
  • You have weird or exacerbated gastrointestinal issues
  • Your menstrual function is light, irregular or completely absent (if not overridden by contraception)
  • Your sex drive is reduced
  • You...
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What is a Hydrogel? Does it improve endurance performance?

Jun 23, 2022

Hydrogel technology is making a wave in the sports nutrition scene with products like Maurten hitting the market.

But what is a hydrogel? And is it beneficial to endurance performance?

I asked Andy King, exercise physiologist at the Australian Catholic University, to join me on a recent podcast episode. Andy co-authored the review paper on all of the research to date on hydrogels and their effect on endurance exercise performance. So there was no one better suited to answer these questions for us! 

What is a hydrogel?

  • Basically an amped-up carbohydrate drink

How does a hydrogel work?

  • Delivers sugar through the stomach and intestine into your bloodstream to your muscles
  • In gel form, it moves the carbohydrate mixture through to your intestine quicker - approx. 40% faster

Are there any negative effects of using a hydrogel compared to regular sports drinks and gels?

  • May negatively impact some athletes with gut issues
  • Athletes may need gut training to be able to absorb more...
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Real food ideas for on the bike

Jun 16, 2022

Are you sick of sucking back gels and sports drinks all the time?

Are you looking for more real food options to use during exercise?

Over the years, I’ve definitely seen a movement away from commercial sports nutrition products to more real foods on the bike. But what types of foods are going to help your performance?

 

When is the best time to use real foods in training?

During the off-season is a good time to try new options – tweaking your strategies as your fitness, training and racing evolves

 

What types of real foods are good for on the bike?

Carbohydrate foods should be your focus

Try adding some savoury options to avoid flavour fatigue

Something easy to prepare pre-race or the night before

Something the right consistency and texture (so it’s easy to get out of the container, but doesn’t crumble or fall apart)

A good balance of energy/ nutrients - carbohydrates with some healthy fats and a little bit of protein

Something that provides a...

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Tips for food prep and organisation for the time poor athlete

Jun 09, 2022

 

Eating for optimal health and performance doesn’t happen by accident. Think of the food choices you make when you’re time poor or in a rush…

  • You’re more likely to get takeaway or eat out
  • You’re more likely to grab and go whatever is available, quick and easy to fill a hole
  • You’re more likely to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner
  • You’re more likely to smash a protein shake after a session and go to bed without ticking all of your recovery boxes  

I'm a black belt organisation ninja! Let me teach you some of the strategies I use to help my athletes eat better, even when they’re time poor. A little bit of time spent in preparation and organisation goes a LONG way when you’re trying to juggle training, work and family commitments!

 

Weekly Planning
  • This is the biggest game-changer
  • Don’t fly by the seat of your pants – get ORGANISED!
  • Involve the whole family
  • Whiteboard in the kitchen or pantry
  • Make...
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Eating for Immunity: Ideas to help you stay well this winter

Jun 02, 2022

 

Now that the colder months are upon us, it’s time to be proactive with our nutrition for the best immune system defence. 

For active people, immune function plays a role not only in fighting off infections but also in promoting tissue repair to recover from exercise and injury. To function properly, the immune system requires lots of nutrients – both macro and micronutrients. 

For a triathlete under a heavy training load, requirements are even higher - putting you at risk of a suppressed immune system if you’re not meeting your needs.

To help you stay well over the colder months, I’ve put together a few key points to keep you firing on all cylinders this winter!

 

1. Rest and Recovery is Key
  • Moderate training loads can support the immune system
  • Heavy training loads, particularly with high-intensity sessions, can compromise the immune system
  • Immune system down for 72 hours following high-intensity training making you more...
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Is caffeine beneficial for Endurance Performance?

May 26, 2022

 

Caffeine is a well-established performance booster. Is it beneficial for endurance performance? Heck yes!

But more does not equal better when it comes to caffeine supplementation. It’s about finding the lowest dose to give the greatest effect, without the negative effects. It’s also about finding out what’s best for you and your specific training and racing needs.

How is caffeine absorbed?

  • Rapidly – can be seen in the blood in 5 – 15 minutes
  • Peaks between 40 – 80 minutes
  • Maintained for 3 – 4 hours
  • Half life 3 - 5 hours
  • Is transported to all body tissues and organs

How does caffeine work?

  • Stimulant - physiological and psychological effects
  • Mechanism not fully understood
  • Crosses the blood brain barrier - main action is stimulation of the central nervous system
  • Lowers perception of effort
  • Reduces pain 
  • Improves performance 
  • Think of caffeine as a chemical that keeps the on switch on and blocks the handbrake

What are...

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Why every triathlete should be doing strength training with Exercise Physiologist Huw Darnell

May 19, 2022

I’m a big advocate for triathletes implementing strength into their training program. But not many do it!

Maybe it’s because you’re worried about getting too sore, putting on too much muscle mass and affecting your power to weight ratio, you have zero time, or maybe it’s because you have no idea what you should be doing!

As an Advanced Sports Dietitian, this is not my area of expertise, so recently I asked Exercise Physiologist, Huw Darnell, who specialises in strength and rehabilitation for triathletes, to join me on my podcast.

Huw is all about building bulletproof bodies that are injury resilient with greater capacity. Exactly what you need - to be strong and injury-free heading into race season!

Here’s a little of what he shared (and for the full story check out EP 42 of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy Podcast): Episode 42 - Why every triathlete should be doing strength training with Exercise Physiologist Huw Darnell

Why should every triathlete...

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How to mentally prepare for a race with mindset coach Trang Nguyen

May 12, 2022

 

As an endurance athlete, ahead of a race you’ve done everything else to prepare – you train your arse off, have your nutrition dialled in, have the fast wheels, shaved down, done all the things BUT if your mind is not in it, your race performance is not likely to result in what you’re truly capable of.

Who doesn’t need practical strategies to prepare mentally for race day? To quieten down pre-race nerves, get out of a dark hole during a race and ultimately achieve your goal.

My podcast guest, Physiotherapist, Running Coach, Strength and Conditioning Coach, qualified PT and Mindset and Performance Coach, Trang Nguyen shared some great strategies to implement to mentally prepare for a race.

Weeks and even months before

  • Be aware of the stories you’re telling yourself
  • Stay conscious and aware of how you’re going as a whole (don’t focus on the one or two things that haven’t gone well)
  • Gather and focus on the evidence that proves to...
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A Key Nutrient Endurance Athletes Need Every Day: Calcium

May 05, 2022

Most people understand that we need calcium for building and maintaining strong bones and strong teeth. But we also need calcium for:

  • Healthy muscle contraction, including the heart
  • Nerve impulses and transmission of messages
  • enzyme function
  • blood clotting


Where does the body get Calcium from?

Our body has two main sources of calcium – the food we eat and our bones.

99% of the body’s calcium is found in the bones, while a small amount is dissolved in the blood.

This blood calcium is essential for the healthy functioning of the heart, muscles, blood and nerves and is tightly regulated.

Bones act like a calcium bank. When we don't get enough calcium from our food, our body withdraws from that calcium bank (held in our bones) to keep our blood level within a certain tight control. If the balance gets tipped too far in the direction where we're withdrawing more calcium from our bones than we are depositing through our diet, over the long term, bone density gradually...

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How to maximise your triathlon performance in the heat

Apr 28, 2022

Have you got a hot race coming up? Ever wondered whether you should be doing any heat acclimatisation or heat adaptation?

On a recent Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast, I spoke to Physiologist, Avish Sharma. He was the lead Physiologist for Triathlon Australia in the preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which was always set to be a hot environment. He shared his practical, evidence-based heat adaptation advice to help with racing and training in the heat (that actually works).

We looked into:

  • Why would you want to heat adapt yourself?
  • Who is it beneficial for?
  • Are there any negative implications of heat adaptation?
  • How do you heat adapt yourself?
  • How long do the performance gains of heat acclimation last for?
  • Practical suggestions if you have a hot race coming up like Cairns or Kona
  • What to do if you live in a cooler environment but have to travel to a hot race? 
  • And he gave some suggestions for pre-cooling strategies you can implement to keep your core temperature...
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