Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nutrition Testing

I started doing some testing with maltodextrin this weekend at the suggestion of fellow blogger Mike. Maltodextrin is a common food additive containing easily digestible carbohydrates, yet is cheaper than sports powders. It can be purchased online or at your local brewing supply store, since it is a common ingredient used to brew beer. My local brewing supply store is 40 minutes away, so I ordered a pound online so I could experiment. There was no calorie label on the package but doing a little googling, it looks like a cup contains about 360 calories.

I had a long brick work out scheduled for Saturday for which I planned on mixing a one hour bottle and a long ride Sunday for which I planned mixing a four hour bottle. My first attempt was one cup of maltodextrin, one scoop of Gatorade powder and one tablespoon of salt. I mixed that up, took a sip and promptly poured it out :-). The Gatorade flavor was way too strong as was the salt taste. My second attempt was one cup of maltodextrin, one Succeed S!CAP for electrolytes and a little lemonade flavored Crystal Light for flavoring. The taste was pretty good so I went with it for my first test.

On the plan for Saturday was a brick workout consisting of an hour swim, an hour ride, and an hour run. Unfortunately, lap swim didn't start until noon and the temperature was forecast to be in the mid 90's with the heat index being over 100. If nothing else, it would be a good nutrition test. If you can take in calories in the heat and keep it down, it should work in just about all conditions, right? The workout went fine, nutrition seemed to taste good and sit well but I did cut the run short due to the heat (5k instead of a 10k). Cutting it short had nothing to do with nutrition. I didn't want to hurt myself and risk missing the long ride Sunday.

With that success, I decided to make a four hour bottle for Sunday. I mixed three cups of maltodextrin, three S!CAPS, and lemonade flavored Crystal Light again. Maltodextrin is easier to mix hot, so i mixed the bottle Saturday night and put it in the fridge. Sunday was a little cooler than Saturday, but not much. I set off on a four and a half hour ride with ~1100 calories in one bottle and a second bottle of water only. My plan was to take a sip of calories every 15 minutes and drink water to thirst. This plan seemed to work ok. A couple times I skipped a calorie drink because I was feeling a little bloated. This worked out so I finished the bottle four hours in. I think finishing it in three hours would have been a little soon. I did notice a slight after taste a few times, but nothing stomach turning.

The last half hour of the ride wasn't pretty. I was exhausted and over heated and stopped at every water fountain to pour water over my head. Afterward I think I hopped in the shower too quick because when I got out, I started sweating, got the cold shakes, nausea, and really light headed. Let me tell you, its tough to shave when you are about to pass out (and probably not a good idea). I laid down for a while and felt better. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since I weighed seven pounds less than when I started. I don't think it had anything to do with nutrition, I think it had to do with heat exhaustion. I guess when I do a full IM, I need to find a cool one.

With four and a half weeks until my 70.3, I'm running out of time to experiment. I did run to my local brewing supply store and buy some more maltodextrin and plan to try mixing some powdered Gatorade instead of Crystal Light for my next long session. Speaking of which, my next long ride is scheduled for Sunday, but I'll be in Cohasset, MA for a family visit and a little racing. The race should be challenging as it will be a cold ocean swim and ill be riding a borrowed bike. I'll try to fit in a long run while I'm there and a long ride when I return.

The goods :-)

 

15 comments:

Michael said...

Interesting! I have been working alot on my nutrition lately. It's really alot harder than you would think. I use Hammer Perpeteum on my long rides and it gives me no stomach upset at all which is great. My main problem is I just don't feel like I get enough of it in.

Kate said...

Nutrition was my biggest fail at Dirty Kanza. I'm hoping to do better at the race this weekend. 12 hours to practice...yea...

I'm definitely interested to see your take on the maltodextrin (?) after more experimentation. With all the pre-race testing, you''re definitely doing this much smarter than I do.

Jill said...

Will be interesting if you take the bags of maltodextrin on the plane for your trip and end up getting one of those random searches. Try explaining your way out of that one! :)

I say bypass the mixing and whatnot and just plop a beer in your water bottle cage, seems it has the right amt of carbs along with some maltodextrin... win-win!

I have issues with my stomach during a marathon sometimes...not so much now when I'm running so dang slow but when I race it harder, I have bad stomach problems. What works best for me is a pb&j sandwich bites on white bread...but it's a royal pain in the ass to carry. Sticky! There are some gels with the maltrodextrin in them...Hammer products perhaps? I forget which ones. Unflavored gels work okay for me, too.

Good luck with the out of town race this weekend...an ocean swim sounds like fun. If you don't swallow any of the ocean in the process! :)

Patrick said...

Let me know how that gatorade formula works. I might try it for the MR340.

Teamarcia said...

Amazing really the impact heat has when we exercise. It can be so darn dangerous. I hope you get the nutrition piece of the puzzle figured out soon. Enjoy your trip and your race!

Kathy said...

I'm a big fan of Hammer products which have maltodextrin. I think it's great that you're experimenting with you own fuel combinations.
Hmmm ... Mike's Hard Tri Fuel ??? ;)

Kepa Wong said...

I used to look for gels and sports drink mixes with maltodextrin. I never thought about mixing my own. I wanna give that a try too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I thought the exact same thing as Jill, wondered how this would go taking it on the plane

Christie said...

This stuff is interesting and it is funny that you blogged about it because the other day my dad brought up that I should buy it to make my own drink mixes to save $$. I hope you get the perfect mixture figured out within the next four weeks. You had asked about my nutrition plan awhile ago...
this past weekend I finally feel like I have a solid plan down. I have been using Ironman Perform in my water bottles that I mixed with poweraid Zero instead of water. (drink 1 a hour) then I switch between GU gels and Dates (100 cals worth) every hour. Have you tried dates to fuel before? I love them because they are so so light on your stomach, easy to eat quickly, and all-natural of course:)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I definitely need to start experimenting for my ultra - so far my nutrition has been minimal.

JFord said...

I am interested in the recipe with Gatordade since I hate lemonade. Nutrition is something I always struggle with! Good info!

Anne B said...

Interesting experiment! I am glad you survived the horrible hot weather after that epic brick.

ajh said...

Have you done an ocean swim before? That sounds scary to me. Good luck at it and I hope you get your nutrition figured out.
Hope it cools down for you too!

Raina said...

Very interesting! Is this to try to increase your carb intake while riding? I can't remember if maltodextrin has more or less carb than sugar.

Jill's comment about the airport cracks me up! That would be tough to explain.

The Green Girl said...

That's really interesting. My boyfriend drinks some carb powder drink the night before a race - I wonder if that is one of the ingredients.