As I’m sitting down to write this blog, I can’t help but try to ignore lurking dull ache of my legs as I try and recover from a hot three hours ride in Brisbane’s North-West this morning. I’ve just started back training from 3 weeks break, and it goes without saying that I’m a lot less fit now than when I was when I crossed the line in 1st place at Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney three weeks ago. My break came just at the right time, I was really finding the training mentally tough, and with lots of back-to-back racing towards the end of the season my body was ready for a break.
I’ve had the last few weeks off to rest not just the body, but also the mind. I had an amazing week camping with my girlfriend Ash over on Moreton Island, and it’s also allowed me the free time to think about some important topics to discuss with whoever wants to listen. I’ve had a lot of people write to me throughout the year asking about what I do for nutrition, and what I would recommend. These kind of questions are always welcome, and I’m always more to happy to answer them. However for posterity, I will try and lump a basic reply here in this blog.
I’ve tried a lot of stuff over the years, and there’s certainly no lack of nutrition brands out there marketing to endurance sports like triathlon. There’s a lot of good products on the market, but many bad products as well. I feel the brand I choose to use is at the top of the chain & I’ve worn their logo proudly on my race kit all year. Instinct Sports Nutrition is a start-up company out of my hometown Brisbane and they have been trading for a little over a year now. Instinct got it right, first go. They have consolidated a small but robust product range, focusing on energy gels, hydration formula and protein powder. It’s perfect timing if you’re looking to try something new as they are running some Christmas specials on their website here. You Can use the code JA1 for a further 10% off your order.
My favourite of the products is the gels. Gels that you can get down easily without any GI or stomach issues are imperative in endurance racing. If you’re out there on course for 2+ hours, the reality is that you need to be taking calories on board to avoid meltdown. I’m sure every athlete out there has had some experience with a bad nutrition product that has played havoc with there guts, rendering them to a long grovel to the finish line, or worst case, a DNF. I rely on Instinct gels because they work effectively, every time. I’ve never heard of anyone complain about issues digesting the gels, or keeping them down, and I’ve never had an issue either. I use one of the gels prior to race start, and then another every 20-25 minutes once I get out of the swim. The only occasions I’ve blown up this year on the race course are from simple over-exertion and neuro-muscular fatigue, not from caloric deficiencies. There are two flavours in the gels; berry & caramel. I find berry is the best for racing, and caramel for training. The caramel is exactly what I’m after in a long training ride & craving something salty, and the subtly sweet berry gel is perfect to put down the gob whilst racing. A new flavour should be coming soon, so keep an eye for that by following Instinct on Facebook here, or Twitter here.
Three days out from a race I start loading up on electrolytes. The best way to do this is with the Instinct hydration mix. Two sachets a day leading into the race is the dosing I stick to. These sachets are designed to mix with the 1L bottle available in the online store. The berry flavour is really smooth and not too overbearing. It has no added sugar, and it’s works better than any other hydration product I’ve tried. I used to spend days popping effervescent hydration tablets into bottles, but I find it’s much easier and convenient to take two sachets of this product daily, which will supply all the sodium and electrolytes required to toe the line in the best possible shape. There are also is new flavour in the works, I believe it will be out in the new year.
The last product Instinct offer is a really nice organic brown rice protein. Improved from their first formula, this product is key to my recovery after quality training sessions. I try not to supplement protein every day, only after those tough sessions where the body has been stressed to the limit. I like to mix a scoop of powder with a bowl yogurt, with added berries and nuts for a little extra nutritional value.
Click through the logo below to go to the store, or read about the science behind the Instinct products.
After the long & tough races are done, when the work is finished and the body is spent, I like to have a couple beers with my friends, family or girlfriend. Just as it’s important to fuel the body correctly, I feel it’s necessary to celebrate our achievements as athletes with the special people we surround ourselves with. Cellarbrations is the leading independent liquor retailer in the country and they are big supporter of triathlon, sponsoring races such as the Nepean Triathlon, and pro athletes including myself & Annabel Luxford. Their stores are found Australia-wide, and it’s where I choose to go when it’s time to cellarbrate. Merry Christmas all, I hope to see you on the racecourse in the new year.