The three essential steps in sports nutrition: PART 1: Fuel up

Are you putting a lot of hard work and time into training for an event, but don’t know where to start with nutrition? 

Or perhaps you have tried some nutrition, but there are so many options out there you’re not sure what’s best, what you need and how to use it? 

Here at Bindi, I literally spend every day living and breathing nutrition.  It is my passion; my life’s work and I love nothing more than talking to athletes like you every day.  Because of this, I hear all these worries and more, and I understand that the last thing you want is for nutrition to let you down when you have put so much work into getting yourself fit and healthy and onto that start line. 

The basis of what we do here at Bindi is simple.  I use the latest science (I am a scientist first as I used to be a vet before deep diving into triathlon and creating Bindi) and distil it down in the formulas for our natural products. 

BUT… but what we see athletes truly struggling with is the implementation… that is, exactly what to take, how much and when. 

The great news is that it is simpler than you think.  You don’t need be overwhelmed or bombarded by the information out there… if you get the basics right which are actually really simple. Only then you can start to add in all the one percenters which really make you fly. 

So, to keep it simple there are three steps you need: fuelling up; recovery and nourishing your body. 

Today we will look at PART 1: FUEL UP which covers all things carbohydrates, electrolytes and hydration… Let’s break it down into simple steps for you:

1. What’s important before training: It’s vital you start every session well hydrated (that means light yellow urine) so drink plenty of water throughout your day. If you’re training for more than an hour, have a carbohydrate rich snack before you start; try a banana or sourdough with peanut butter.

2. What you need during training: If you are training for an hour or less, just water is all you will need. You’ll require roughly 750ml of fluid per hour, however this volume can very a lot depending on your size, sweat rates, intensity of session and climate.  This step takes practice to get it right. For sessions longer than an hour, you will need to include a source of carbohydrates in your fluids, as your body can’t store enough energy to get you through on just water.  Aim roughly for 60-90g of CHO per hour, which could be a bottle of Bindi Natural Sports Hydration plus a banana or gel for example.

3. Electrolytes are important too: A sports drink will also replace the electrolytes (such as sodium, magnesium and potassium) that you are sweating out, and will help with muscle function and cramping.  The correct electrolyte mix will also help you absorb fluid well across your gut which reduces the chance of discomfort and hydrates you more efficiently.

4. Add an extra carbohydrate source: For an intense or longer session your sports drink won’t provide enough energy, so consider adding to add some extra carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Try a banana, a vegemite sandwich or a natural sports gel for a quick hit of energy and work out what you can digest easily during training.

So, what does this look like in reality? 

For a 2-hour bike ride, this could be a breakfast of oatmeal with banana.  Then during the first hour of training it’s bottle of Bindi, a banana and extra water.  During the second hour; another bottle of Bindi plus an energy bar (or try a vegemite sandwich or 1-2 Vindurance sports gels). As you can see, there is plenty of room for personal preferences once you get the basic rules right. 

Practice makes perfect! 

Just as you train your muscles to get stronger, you can train your gut to absorb carbohydrates.  It is vital that you practise your fuelling strategies in training, because what you find works for you can then constitute the basis of your race day plan. 

Next week in Part 2, we will look at the super-important area of recovery and we will take a wholistic approach to this, including nutrition and other helpful strategies. 

Keep an eye out for all the info to come and in the meantime, send any fuelling questions our way!

Belinda x