If you read any sports magazine, attend a sports specific tradeshow, or speak to any type of athlete; nutrition is always a strong topic of conversation.
The sports nutrition industry is big business these days, with so many established companies striving to keep their market share, but also new start-ups attempting to wedge their way into the mix, but do we really need any of it?
In 2012, I competed in The Marathon des Sables, using traditional gels and energy bars; I was none the wiser, as it was my first race of any kind.
But, after completing the event, I thought there must be a better way to fuel my ultra-endurance adventures as I dreaded each time I needed to consume these sickly products. I began to look closely at the ingredients in these products, but alarmingly had no idea what they were or what natural source they came from; their imaginative “all natural” labeling just didn’t add up in my book, sound familiar???
As crazy as it sounds, I started experimenting using the foods I was eating on a daily basis while I was out swimming, cycling, and running, with astounding results!
I started experimenting in my kitchen, making bars using ground nuts, seeds, super food powders, and some fruit.
Instead of the artificial stomach cramping gels we have all forced down, I used roasted sweet potatoes, fresh & occasionally dried fruit, and heavily experimented with chia seeds as well.
Coming from an Exercise Science background, I understand the different sources of fuel our bodies need to perform at varying intensities.
There have been many mixed messages about fats and carbohydrates recently, and which energy sources you should use when exercising.
Here is my very simple and quick take on the topic, not only from my education, but experiments out on the road, trails, pool, and track!
Unless you’re pushing yourself to your near max (with your heart feeling like its about to pop out your chest), you can train your body over time to use fat efficiently as a fuel source. The more you use this way of fuelling, the more efficient it will become at using this nutrient dense energy source.
Eating more fat, and less carbohydrates is a good start, but there is a little more to it that just that…
Seeds, nuts, coconut products, olive oil, eggs, and avocados are all great sources of the fats you could start experimenting with.
But, if you are racing flat out, or competing in a longer event where you may need short, high intensity efforts, trickling in some carbohydrates to your fuelling strategy to give yourself a little extra boost of energy should be looked at as well. Nuts, root vegetables, fruit and buckwheat are all foods with varying amounts of carbohydrates I’ve tested and have worked for me.
I was shocked at the results of my self-experimentation, with not only my performance, but also my recovery improved once I removed all highly processed products.
It did take a few months for my body to get used to this revolutionary new way of eating, but well worth it in the end. The options I now have in regards to flavours and textures of my homemade sports nutrition feel limitless.
One of the main concerns I receive from people when I encourage them to simply test out the foods they eat daily, and use them during training is that of convenience. In an age when everyone is so busy, and wanting things immediately, baking, making, and creating your own sports nutrition at home can seem like an unneeded chore. If you are not the experimental type of person, and couldn’t be bothered making your own products, there is a real food sports nutrition company that I highly recommend.
The London based company has created two products; a chia seed based naturally occurring gel, and their signature product, the 33Shake. This conveniently packaged sachet of goodness contains vital macro & micronutrients, while providing an injection of many vitamins and minerals your body needs to perform & recover at its best.
I was so impressed with 33Shake, that after two years of using these convenient and tasty products, I accepted their offer to become an ambassador of the company, a role I share with Chrissie Wellington, (yes the triathlon Goddess) and also used both the gels and shakes throughout my 2000km in 12-day Ultimate Triathlon from Morocco to Monaco.
If you’d like to learn more about training your body to use fat as fuel, and open up your sports nutrition options to the types of food you love eating daily, I do phone consultations and provide online coaching across a variety of sports.
For real food recipes, sign up to my newsletter at www.luketyburski.com to receive a free Real Food cookbook.
Real Food doesn’t have ingredients,
Real Food is ingredients.