Nutrition Guidelines for IRONMAN: Part III

11 October, 2013 | Written by Recuperat-ion Recuperat-ion
Ironman Conditioning: Proteins

Article by David Padaré.
exertion and the repetition of high-intensity training sessions are factors
that can cause general debilitation or fatigue. Our body has approximately 10
kg of protein stores (in the muscles, red blood cells, organs, etc.), and part
of those reserves—branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine)
and glutamine—can be broken down and used as “back-up” fuel in
situations of extreme, prolonged physical exertion (up to 10% of energy
consumption), when training on an empty stomach, or during intense, high-impact
repetition of such sessions or a series of prolonged training periods or
competitions (3/4/5 h), or failure to take rest days, can eventually lead to
hypercatabolism (excessive metabolic breakdown of the body’s reserve tissue). Hypercatabolism
is associated with an increase in cortisol production, repeated mechanical
fibre tension and a drop in the production of testosterone (an
“anti-catabolic” hormone). The consequences are 1) muscle wasting and 2) a decrease of branched-chain amino acids
(BCAA) in the bloodstream


symptoms 1) of muscle wasting are impaired
muscle performance, loss of energy, lower muscle recovery capacity, frequent
muscular injuries, chronic fatigue and an overly delicate state of health due
to the weakening of immune system defences (lower levels of glutamine, a white
blood cell precursor). 
primary symptom 2) of dropping levels of
BCAA in the bloodstream
is general fatigue; in other words, weariness, loss
of motivation and less drive and competitiveness. Both conditions are related to
an increase in serotonin production (facilitated by less competition between
tryptophan and BCAA for uptake at the blood-brain barrier level).
these warnings are far from hypothetical… Nutritional conditioning will allow
you to clear all these hurdles, and it should be an integral part of your
annual training programme. Every day, you must complement your training with
special protein-rich products to help you achieve your specific goals, even
when you are working to strengthen your upper-body muscle groups (weight
training, core strengthening, etc.) that are not worked intensely during
training but will be needed during the race, in order to improve endurance and
muscle tone. During the pre-competition phase, your priority should be to
optimise your body’s ability to store branched-chain amino acids in the muscle
1)    Make protein intake an integral part of
your training sessions/ competitions, choosing protein sources with an optimum
biological quality and absorption rate to improve muscle endurance and recovery
(protein supplements may also be used occasionally).
2)    If you are a highly-trained cyclist,
during the season take 1 or 2 BCAA and glutamine treatments when an important
race is coming up. This will improve tissue strength and capitalise on its
shock-absorbing effect (these nutrients prevent drops in muscular pH levels,
which leads to muscle fatigue).
3)    For the race itself, you can bring
along a supply of snacks that are rich in branched-chain amino acids (energy
bars, etc.). During the race, these can help to prevent general fatigue. After
the race, they help muscles to recover more rapidly.
4)    Include total rest days in your
programme (at least 1 per week) and make sure that you sleep long and well each

About the author:

David Padare is a dietician nutritionist specialized in preferred disciplines such as endurance sports and outdoor running, trail running, cycling, triathlon, swimming….
He accompanies many athletes in their diverse and varied challenges: ultra trail, trails stages, marathons, 100kms, 24h….
Member of the AFDN (French Association of Dietitian Nutritionist) and the nivernais network RESEDIA for the management of DIABETES and OBESITY, he also put his knowledge to the treatment of pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, food allergies…
Find David in magazines such as Running Coach and Cyclo Coach Cyclosport, Running attitude trail magazine, running 100%feminin,, nutritiondusportif, traileur outdoor…..
Nuteoconsult is the structure founded to bring together expertise from various backgrounds (diet, coach, mind trainer…) for one purpose: to provide simple and clear answers to each level of practice.

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