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Nutritional advice

When should I and can I use sports nutrition? For many triathletes who regularly train and do competitions, this is an important question and where the answer is not always clear. Everything stands and falls with a healthy and balanced basic food. Only then comes sports nutrition and then any supplements.

An important structure of sports nutrition during a training or competition is an essential part in the easy and performance -oriented achieving of the finish/finish line, since you ultimately only have a limited stock of carbohydrates in your body.

Carbohydrates will always be used for the burning of fats as an energy source. In addition, it is good to know that the body can only absorb a maximum of 60 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

An example has been worked out below:

You participate in a 4 -hour training or competition. In the first hour you burn 70 grams of carbohydrates through exercise. However, in that hour you only get 50 grams of carbohydrates through sports drinks, energy giegel or an energy bar. You have built up a shortage of 20 grams of carbohydrates. You cannot supplement this shortage the next hour (if you keep driving). After all, your body only absorbs a maximum of 70 grams (and you have used it again in the 2nd hour). You will keep this shortage during the entire training or competition. If this happens again the next hour you will get a shortage of 40 grams. So on a trip for more than 4 hours you build up a considerable shortage. And then the man comes with the hammer around the corner ...

If you prepare the training or competition well, you can prevent this energy shortage.

For the effort

In the preparation, a distinction must be made in two different times:

  • Period of months and weeks before the competition
  • Period of 6 days before the match

In the period of months and weeks the emphasis is on building the overall condition and speed. Preferably this based on a training schedule. There must be enough room for recovery in this schedule. Also use this period to experiment with sports nutrition.

You can already use sports supplements to improve the overall condition. Also recovering the training sessions well and practice tours will ensure that you move forward faster. This includes the use of recovery drinks and protein bars or drinks.

The 6 -day period before the main objective is dominated by the reduction of intensity and duration of the training sessions in combination with the "stacking" of carbohydrates. This is also called "tape". The effect is that your body has stored extra carbohydrates that you can use during the competition at the end of this period.

Stacking carbohydrates can be done through special sports nutrition that is rich in carbohydrates. Special drinking mixes in particular are suitable for this. With this sports nutrition you can take much more carbohydrates in short food compared to normal food.

TIP: Do not drink a sports drink with sugars before the effort itself. The fast carbohydrates that you take in advance ensure an increase in your blood sugar level, after which a large dip takes place. You get very weak legs and feel lifeless. Take a thirst quencher with only salts and minerals.

During the effort

If a training or competition lasts longer than 60 minutes, you can improve your performance by eating carbohydrates during the exercise and supplementing moisture with sports drinks.

However, carbohydrates may not be supplied in unlimited quantities, because on average no more than 1 to 1.2 grams per minute can be processed by the body. A maximum supply is therefore approximately 60 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per hour (rule of thumb is 1.2 grams/hour/kg body weight). Taking more does not necessarily lead to higher combustion.

So it makes no sense to take a lot of sugars or drink very syrupy drinks, because that increases the risk of gastrointestinal complaints.

The effort period is therefore dominated by regular food. Take around 70 grams of carbohydrates combined with around 750ml sports drinks per hour until you.

Do you only drink water during a trip or training? Realize that you also lose minerals and salts (electrolytes) through sweating. These are essential for arranging your moisture management.

After the effort

After you have trained heavily, did a competition or have completed a tour, it is important that you give your body the right building materials as quickly as possible to be able to recover.

Quick recovery ensures that you are quickly fit again to do the next training or competition.

Make sure you eat sufficient recovery -promoting drinks or food within 30 minutes of the effort. These are drinks and bars that contains a correct combination of proteins and carbohydrates. As a result, the muscles used will recover faster and new muscle mass can be produced, without the body having to use other parts of the body for this. If you do not use enough proteins after your training, you will remove proteins (protein) from other muscles from your body to facilitate the recovery. This will be restored in the longer term, but is certainly not optimal for an athlete who wants to improve his performance.

Recovery drinks and bars can incur this problem. The carbohydrates ensure the addition of the glycogen stock, while the salt helps retain the absorb moisture.

Time is also an important factor in the recovery phase. Depending on the situation (the effort made, the muscle glycogen stock at the start of the effort and the power afterwards), the complete recovery can take 10 to even 36 hours. Enough rest is therefore essential to optimally restore an effort. A sports massage can also speed up the recovery process.

TIP: Which brand of sports nutrition you use is very personal. So don't just go on the advice of your friends. Try various brands during training so that you know what you like and how your body reacts to the chosen sports nutrition.


Extra tips from Matthias 
  • Avoid sugars such as white, brown, reed and grape sugar. These are quickly absorbed in the blood, which increases the insulin content and a "sugar dip" lurks.
  • Avoid saturated fats.
  • Eat more fish, because fish contains good fats.
  • Choose semi -skimmed or low -fat milk.
  • Use nuts and seeds as snacks. Nuts and seeds are important food sources for trace elements and multiple-saturated fatty acids.
  • Antioxidants prevent cell and tissue damage due to the free radicals that are released during (heavy) efforts. They accelerate the recovery process after a heavy effort, reduce the injury sensitivity and prevent aging. Therefore often put food that is rich in antioxidants on the menu: carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes and cauliflower.
  • Cooked vegetables are healthier than raw. The tough cell walls are made soft by cooking, so that the antioxidants are better absorbed by the body.
  • Raisins contain a lot of carbohydrates and also fiber, iron and potassium.
  • Caffeine stimulates fat fire and has a performance -promoting effect.