Ask a Nutrition or health question


Hi everyone. Unfortunately i will not be able to participate in the next weeks coaches corner due to having to put on my previous career hat and help out for a day as a pharmacist Trust me i would rather be having some fun in the coaches corner thrashing out some helpful solutions with the team. Because its fun!

so, i was thinking IF it is helpful, if people have questions i can record a quick video blog of answers in a quick fire Q and As round. would this help? if so please ask a Question here, keep it short and specific and i will do my best to answer what comes up :heart_eyes::tada:



I like pizza, ice cream, and beer. Can I use it as recovery food? What about during my ride? Oh, I also like Dark and Stormys and Moscow Mules, but those are usually only had as pre-rides before SkillZ and DrillZ.

Seriously, though, quick question. I have been using Generation UCan for my racing over the last two years, all for 70.3 distance. At ITU Worlds, the distance is 3K, 120K, and 30K, so a bit more than 70.3 but not 140.6. I usually train and race in the heat, but this race will be in Denmark, so pretty much the opposite of heat. Would you recommend adding a bar to the early portion of my ride and then switch to the UCan later? Or should I add another UCan pouch to the mix? I am a little concerned about empty belly syndrome along the way, especially later in the run, even though I know the liquid fueling is sufficient. Thoughts? Thanks.



Thinking about it, I guess the easiest way to phrase that for mass consumption is, at what point do you see the need to shift from liquid calories to a solid and liquid calorie plan? Thanks.


i was about to ask are you taking the piss… :slight_smile: but maybe we can invent the bike equivalent of the beer mile race.

re generation UCan i tried it for a while sold by the claims but i just didnt find a benefit and found i wanted a gel as well. i did give it a good trial. but went back to what i do for the 70.3 which is cliff chews on the bike, Born PROTEIN PEPTOPRO® RECOVERY on the bike AND 2 nuun in a second bottle (so i get electrolytes, some protein in amino acid form and quick carbs), born banana gels as needed on bike and run, and i have some salt stick chews (top up electrolytes), and dates… i nibble my way through what feels right. i have a target for my carbs requirements also. i am terrible to eat running so i have to be on top of this on the bike. but its what works for me. i dont force food in running… i just take what i need from a gel and sips

people are so individual. whether you prefer some solids on the bike or not is individual BUT if you do, eat them early on the bike and then go onto liquids and gels and chews etc or eat something solid and then return to UCan. you may or may not need additional electrolytes and water. but as you say temperature are cool. so fluid requirements not mega. you must make sure that you meet your salt requirements which are higher than most standard products. hence i chew some extra salt stick chews. i also have tried the precision hydration electrolyte drink but it made me feel like i was on something (VERY weird and i dont know what that was all about but it happened twice and it wasnt good and i wont be doing a froome on it). these are the born products. i like them because of the pepto pro which is easily absorbed and i know the company in holland

i would say that yes you will need something solid on the bike. my boyfriend actually takes a protein drink in T1 and T2 but most people cannot stomach this and this is IM distance. i would say get comfortable on the bike, then have some fluids, then have something a little more solid (small bites of a bar that is formulated for sport) or some jellies or sports chews, or banana or potatoes! then transition on to gels or UCan and keep on gels/UCan/ on course nutrition for the running. add water and electrolytes or sports drink (not at same time as food) as needed and based on your requirements. you are going to have to test this out and see what works for you in training …

PS i totally get the reasoning behind UCan but havent see it play out. sports scientists are very against its claims but i do think for gastro issues it has merit. as regards stable blood glucose levels? in a race we need all that we can get!! unless you are the rare person that has issues with rebound hypo.
hope this helps


it is so individual! i think olympic is liquids, 70.3 it depends, and IM some solids… but… some people can do the whole thing on liquids and gels ie most pros. its so individual.


I like the idea of a Zwift beer mile. Maybe a beer Epic KOM?


Sometimes after a very hard and intense session (over 2hs), I feel so tired and fatigued that I a almost useless for the next few hours following the session. I am almost light-headed… Could this have anything to do with what I am eating post-workout?


Theia i guess you have to investigate a few things.

  1. how were you going into the session? fuelled, feeling good, good sleep? well recovered (what you eat after the previous session is almost more significant than what you eat before the session).
  2. phase of menstrual cycle (e.g. days 14-28 we can need more glucose and more salt and which days is individual)
  3. length and duration of the session and intensity relative to did you need to take anything on the bike or just water? was it a low blood glucose or could you have needed more salt?
  4. what was eaten after the session

what i would first suspect is that the session gave you low blood glucose and then eating can have a delayed reponse where you feel terrible. try to eat some protein and fat with the carbs before your session. e.g. oats and greek yogurt and nuts/ nut butter. egg and rye and avocado…

we need to build a bigger picture with more investigations

also any changes in morning HR or HR variability? any difference in HR while training? is it going higher or lower than normal?


Thanks Andrea- I think it might be the lack of protein/fat with the carbs before the session. I was eating mostly only carbs- will try that! HR seemed normal.


I know this was an old post but I’m trying to catch up and this question had been on my mind! I try to drink a green smoothie daily and I’d love to hear your feedback! I drink it because I don’t get enough vegetables/use it for my salad replacement/feel like I need the small iron intake/get in a dose of superfoods. It’s for either breakfast or lunch, depending on schedule. Estimating amounts, I start with 3/4c of almond milk, 2/3c cucumber, 1/2 apple, 1/2 banana, heaping teaspoon tumeric, 3/4c frozen blueberries, 3-4c of kale/spinach mix. What changes would you make to give more bang for the buck?! I took out sweetener (honey or dates) so I feel I need the fruit to counter the bitterness of the greens but is it really too much fruit? I tried adding beets but it became way too earthy. Open to any suggestions! Thanks! -Angie


what you are doing looks good. just check that the almond milk doesnt have carageenan thickener in there. and mix between this and pure coconut milk or even organic probiotic yogurt or kefir if you can tolerate it. I know what you are saying about the fruits. yes they are sugar containing so it depends on how active you are and also some is helpful for sweetening. i like adding some lemon or lime zest for sweetening and sometimes 1/2 orange or pear or peach or nectarine works well as a sub for 1/2 apple. celery is good, rocket, cabbage… whatever looks good to be honest and wash the leafy produce well. cinnamon or ginger can give a twist. and aim for colours… but nothing wrong with what you have. oats instead of banana can be good option too or other whole grains like millet or buckwheat when you need a little more. or some vegan or whey protein if you need a protein boost. try to not reply on smoothies all the same. and do play around with fats from some avo or nuts and seeds on occasion.


Andrea, I absolutely love coconut milk (pure and organic from a can). In fact, I love all things coconut (of course, growing up in Brazil…) Is it OK to drink coconut milk every day or is it too rich?


Theia I think when you balance everything out across the day this would be ok. clearly body likes it!! if you were gaining weight then i would be perhaps a little more concervative


Is there benefit in having a protein recovery shake after each workout or does it depend on the intensity of the workout? I used to train at a local watt bike lab and they were always trying to pedal (excuse the pun) shakes after a 45min session - didn’t know if this was good science or a revenue raiser!


Obviously, @cullenac will have the best answer, but I think it depends on your pre-workout feeding routine, how intense the workout was, the caloric value of the shake, and how you integrate it into your nutrition plan. I am like a child and don’t like to eat many vegetables. However, I have kale, broccoli, and carrots, as well as some fruit, in my shake, so I use it as part of my overall nutrition plan. I know that I will get at least a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables via my shake.


Real food is the best option whenever possible - good protein, carbs, some healthy fat- the amount of each depending on the type of session. And yes, @cullenac will have the best answer :wink:


Yep. Real food is the best. I make my shake with real food. I add a little shake poweder, Vega One chocolate, but the rest is real food.


For the record Ian, I’m a firm believer in beer as a recovery staple. Fluid? Check. Carbs? Check. I’m also convinced that the mild alcoholic content, acting as a vasodilator, helps to clear lactic acid from the system. In fact, the only things missing are fats and protein but the pizza fills that gap nicely.


Serious question for @cullenac here. I’ve always struggled with muscle cramps in longer events. I’m one of those people who looks as though they’ve been rolled in icing sugar when ever I’m racing in warmer weather. Over the years I’ve gradually increased the sodium concentration of my in-race sports drinks until I was hitting up to 1,000 mg/hour and still occasionally experiencing some severe muscle cramps on the bike. Prepping for last year’s ITU long course in Penticton, BC, someone pointed me at Precision Hydration. Checking out their website and extremely unscientific, rule-of-thumby online test, they suggested I increase my sodium intake to a whopping 1,500 mg/hour. I admit that I broke the most basic rule in the book - never do anything new on race day - and tried out some Skratch Labs Hyper Hydration mix prior to the event (surprisingly tasty and not actually salty tasting at all) and chased it with a whopping 23 salt tablets over the course of the event. Massive increase in sodium intake for me but… no muscle cramps during the event despite 34C (93F) temperatures. This was, of course, supported by plenty of fluid intake as well. What is your view of hyper hydration strategies for people like me who lose a lot of sodium in their sweat? It seemed to work but…


coaches this is a good topic maybe i will touch on it next week?