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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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3 Nutrition Rules Every Triathlete Should Abide By

Apr 21, 2022

When it comes to triathlon nutrition, there is a lot of crap information out there!

My passion is to cut through all the noise and give you practical, evidence-based information that actually works. To fast track your success as a time-poor triathlete. 

Triathlon can be a very expensive and tech-heavy sport. You don’t just need stuff for one sport, you need stuff for three!  There are lots of gadgets and everything is upgradable -  costs that can add up quickly if you’re not careful.

But when it comes to nutrition, people don’t value investing in their nutrition because it isn’t tangible. You don’t get a shiny new object for your money.

But I would argue your body is the thing you need to spend the most on. You have it for life!

There are so many things that can affect your long term health if you’re not putting the right things in.

 

In my recent podcast, I share 3 nutrition rules every triathlete needs to abide by…

1....

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The Key Ingredients You Need to Become a Successful Triathlete

Apr 21, 2022

There are many key ingredients to focus on if you’re wanting to train harder, feel better, and become the best triathlete you can be. 

These aspects will not only propel you to become a successful triathlete, but will also translate into having greater energy throughout your day to day life. 

 Ingredient One: Train with Purpose

  • The multiple discipline to train (swimming, biking and running) makes this an essential aspect to focus on, as this requires a lot of time and means you need to be smart with your training
  • Find someone that is qualified in the space who can help optimally periodise your training

     - Exercise physiologist

     - Triathlon coach

 

Ingredient Two: Find Your Community

  • Triathlon can be quite isolating, so having a squad, group, or training buddies can help mitigate the overwhelming and intimidating aspects of the sport
  • You'll be in a non-judgmental space
  • You'll be given the opportunity to ask questions...
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How to avoid the stress & overwhelm when it comes to triathlon racing

Mar 31, 2022

Are you someone that suffers from pre-race nerves?

Do you worry you’ve forgotten to do something important heading into race day?

There is A LOT to do, think about and organise when it comes to triathlon racing. Preparing for one sport is hard enough, but you’ve got to prepare yourself for three!

To help you automate your racing process and take away the stress that comes with toeing the start line, I’ve put together a Triathlon Racing Checklist that outlines a range of things you might want to consider in the lead-up, on race day and also suggestions for post-race too.

The week leading into an event
  • Tapering training
  • Adapt and practice your race nutrition – potentially carbohydrate loading, using your personalised Dietitian Approved race nutrition plan
  • Bike maintenance
  • Practice in any particular race gear you plan to use/wear on the day – don’t try anything new on race day!
  • Organise your pre-race dinner (don’t leave organising it to...
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Iron & Endurance Performance with Rebecca Hall

Mar 24, 2022

Do you feel tired, lethargic or fatigued and are not sure why? Maybe you need to get your iron levels checked…

As an endurance athlete, you should have a basic understanding of why iron is so important and know where you can get it from your diet. But iron absorption is a little more complicated, as what's actually in that food doesn't necessarily all get digested and absorbed.  

On the podcast, I spoke with fellow Advanced Sports Dietitian, Rebecca Hall to get the lowdown and her tips on all things Iron. Rebecca worked with some of the athletes competing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and recently submitted her Master's in iron supplementation for endurance athletes.

Why is iron such an important nutrient for active people?

Iron plays a key role in building the haemoglobin and myoglobin that carries the oxygen around the body. Think about haemoglobin as the transport vehicle - iron plays a role in creating the taxis that carry oxygen around the...

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Skin Folds: What are they? Why you should be doing them

Mar 03, 2022

In our previous episode with Gary Slater, we highlighted why scales are such a poor measure of body composition. (If you haven't already, make sure you go back and listen to that episode!).

In congruence with that, skin folds were mentioned quite a lot as a superior method for measuring body composition. Here's some info into what skin folds actually are, what they measure, how they are done and how to find somebody who can accurately get a measurement for you.

What are used for skin folds?
  • Generally performed using metal calipers
    • They look painful, but they really don't hurt as much as they look like they will!

What do skin folds measure?
  • The calipers measure your subcutaneous fat
    • This is the fat that sits on top of your muscles, just under the skin

How are skin fold measurements collected?
  • The measurement is collected in millimetres, so we get how many millimetres of subcutaneous fat sits on your bicep, thigh, quad etc.
  • Measurements are collected across seven sites of...
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Why you Suck at Carbohydrate Loading

Feb 17, 2022

 

I haven't seen one athlete that knows how to carbohydrate load until I've taught them to do it. Let me tell you, it is not just eating a bowl of spag bol the night before the race.

When it comes to the fourth leg of triathlon - nutrition, many try to wing it, which often ends in sub-optimal results on race day. One aspect of this is carbohydrate loading, when done right, can have a huge boost on your performance.

Here's some information on what carbohydrate loading is, what events it's appropriate for, why what you’re doing now may not be an effective strategy, and where you can find a plan that’s right for you.

To know what carbohydrate loading is, we must first understand…

What is muscle glycogen?
  • It is our storage form of glucose
  • There is a 3:1 ratio of water to glycogen
    e.g. for every 1g of glycogen stored, there is about 3ml water
  • Glycogen is stored in our muscles and liver
  • It is used as energy for exercise, and your brain
  • Think of muscle glycogen like...
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