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Your nutrition for IRONMAN: Part I

12 August, 2013 | Written by Recuperat-ion Recuperat-ion

Recuperat-ion presents you a sports nutrition guide for preparing  your IRONMAN.


Article by David Padaré

The
concept of “nutritional conditioning” is a cutting-edge approach to
nutrition. Nutritional conditioning is to diet what physical conditioning is to
training. In each athletic discipline, physical conditioning is practised to
work on a particular “move”, perfect a posture or master a
technique—in short, to improve performance of a specific exercise. Nutritional
conditioning has the same goal. It helps us to develop a kind of nutritional
“autopilot”, improve our diet and acquire healthy habits that will
make us stronger during each training session and in the final challenge.


Ironman Conditioning: Carbohydrates
In
every sport (running, cycling, swimming, etc.), athletes often experience what
is known as “hitting the wall” when the glycogen stores in the
hardest-working muscle groups are depleted: the lower-body muscle groups
(thighs, calves and gluts) in cycling and foot races, and the upper-body muscle
groups (pectorals, back and arm muscles) in swim competitions. An average
athlete can store between 350 g and 500 g of glycogen. Unfortunately, muscle
groups cannot share their stores. Even if the muscle groups that are working
less (for example, the upper-body groups: biceps, pectorals, latissimus dorsi,
etc.) still have some glycogen in reserve, they cannot help the lower-body
muscle groups whose stores have been depleted during the cycling or marathon
stages.
Training
can help the muscle groups that usually work the hardest to progressively
increase their ability to store glycogen (as much as double the normal amount).
This phenomenon explains why there are substantial differences between
individuals (such as a sedentary person and a trained athlete) but also between
muscle groups (thighs-gluts and pecs-lats). Thus, in the case of a
long-distance triathlete, the lower-body muscle groups will have greater
storage capacity than the upper-body muscles as cycling and running account for
a large portion of the triathlon. This is due to the so-called “adaptation
effect”. And nutritional conditioning is something that enhances this
effect. A muscle that can store more glycogen per kg of body weight will have
greater endurance and performance ability. This explains the differences in autonomy
between competitors.
How
can nutritional conditioning complement the adaptation effect? The adaptation
effect is principally associated with the loading/unloading cycles of muscle
glycogen stores. The idea is to adopt a two-pronged approach throughout your
annual training programme. Every day, you should complement your physical
training with special carbohydrate-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 your storage capacity without accumulating fat. Before the race, your
priority should be to fine-tune your loading mechanisms (by following what is
known as a carb-loading regimen).


Priorities:
1)    Make carbohydrate intake an integral
part of your training sessions/races, bearing in mind the glycaemic index (GI)
of each specially adapted food or beverage you ingest, to increase the
storage/depletion capacity of the most heavily used muscle groups. In the 1st
recovery phase, prioritise your intake of average/high GI sugars, preferably in the form of sports recovery drinks. Later, during the 2nd phase, the emphasis should be on
low GI sugars: whole starches, whole-grain bread, dry pulses, etc.
2)    During the season, incorporate a few
carb-loading test phases (Scandinavian dissociated diet, high-carb diet) while
training for trials or less demanding races (trial events).

3)    Include total rest days in your
programme (at least one a week) and make sure that you sleep long and well each
night.

Information 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, nutricycle.comcourirdeplaisir.com, nutritiondusportif, traileur outdoor zsport.com…..
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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