Fueling Up For A Triathlon: Before, During, And After

Submitted By minman253
Words: 992
Pages: 4

Zack Dzingle
EXSC 318

Fueling up for a Triathlon: Before, During, and After How much does nutrition really have on performance in a triathlon? It effects it mightily, if you properly fuel up before one of these competitions you will have the ability to reach your peak performance. Now one may ask well how do I properly fuel up for one of these competitions? In this paper I will try to answer that because there are many different beliefs out there that claim they are the truth. I will discuss the purpose and examples of a good before meal, during meal, and after meal when performing in a triathlon. The most important of the three is the meal before your triathlon. Powers (p. 501) concludes that the purpose of a before meal in a competition is to provide adequate hydration, to provide carbohydrate to “top off” stores of carbohydrate in the liver, avoid sensations of hunger on an empty stomach, to minimize GI tract problems, and allow the stomach to be empty at start of competition. The one thing I can relate to out of these is the huger feeling. I have worked out before without a meal beforehand and I felt awful. I believe that it feels worse to workout on a full stomach than on a very empty stomach. Some people believe that it is proper to not eat anything before a workout but as shown above by Powers it is most necessary. Jeukendrup (p.165) discusses the idea of carbohydrate loading. He found that carb loading indeed does have a positive effect on performance. However this process is put in effect days before, for the purposes of this paper the proper time frame for before competition is the day or morning of. Jeukendrup (p. 165) also discussed carb ingestion 3-4 hours before competition. He found that it also enhances performance by increasing muscle and liver glycogen stores prior to exercise. He concluded by the proper distribution of this should be a high carb, moderate protein, and low fat meal. Powers (p.501) adds to that by saying the meal should be 500- 1000 kcals. So a good example of this meal would be a turkey sandwich with low fat yogurt and a banana. Following this before a race will help with feeling at best level before the race begins. However during the race, there are nutritional needs as well or performance will suffer. The next component of nutrition during a triathlon is what to fuel up on during a race. According to Cox (p. 299) an athlete must prepare a something with carbohydrate during competition to help replace what they’ve lost. Jeukendrup (p. 168) adds that carb ingestion during exercise improves endurance capacity by maintaining blood glucose levels and carb oxidation. The popular trend of carbohydrate ingestion while exercising has been the gels, which provide the extra carbohydrate and calories. These are popular because they are easy and quickly consumed. The last thing you want to do during a race like this is to have to stop to ingest calories. The biggest thing about during a race however is hydration. Fluid replacement is huge here. During the swimming phase of the triathlon is impossible of course, so immediately following this is when fluid ingestion and calorie ingestion happens. Jeukendrup (p.170) explains that peak performance was happening when 1.5 L of water was consumed per hour. Some athletes use sports drinks such as Gatorade to get the carbs they need and some fluid for hydration. If one doesn’t properly follow proper ingestion during a race, their performance and well being (dehydration) will surely suffer. The race doesn’t just end at the finish line. Most people would go eat a chocolate cake or something in that area when they would finish a race of this magnitude. But a true athlete will know that fueling up after a race like this is just as