Triathlon training consists largely of aerobic type training gaining more importance with increased distance such as IRONMAN racing. When we go way back to the days when we had to hunt for food and risk starvation if unsuccessful our body was primed to use fats. Even today there are African tribes who outrun gazelles etc. over days at a consistent pace for several days until the animal dies from exhaustion. Humans are endurance machines and no creature is so specialized to work that efficiently over long durations.
Again, coming back to the hunting days few thousand years ago, our diet mainly consistent of protein in form of nuts, meat, seeds and so forth as well as fats with few carbohydrate content. Fast forward a few thousand years suddenly all the plates are packed with 90% carbs, little protein and absolutely no fats since “they are so bad for you”. We forced our carefully adapted body into a completely different system. Low mood, inconsistent energy levels throughout the day as well as food allergies are only a few of the results.
Let’s say you want to run a really fast pace over a short distance like a 5k run. The logical consequence would be to do a lot of speed work in order to run fast like that. If you are trying to prime your body to run efficiently over long durations while using as much fuel as possible from fats, you will have to integrate a high amount of aerobic type training such as low intensity long runs.
Taking in carbohydrates like a banana before your high intensity work out will not change the training effect of the session since the main source of energy delivery will come from carbohydrates anyways.
If you will take that same banana right before your aerobic training session (no matter which discipline) you actually teach your body to utilize carbohydrates for that session. Is that the message you want to send to your body? I believe not. It is called “fat burning” after all.
I am aware that there are various approaches to training and nutrition also in professional sports. It is proven that different people respond better to different nutrition. Some respond better to carbohydrates and some better to fats. World Champions have been crowned eating bread and pasta 24/7 but I wonder what they would be capable of if they included more healthy fats in their diet and before aerobic sessions.
So my take away:
Ditch carbs before your aerobic low intensity sessions, rather take in some healthy fats before such as nuts etc.
Ditch any sugary sports drinks during your aerobic training, you don’t need it and you actually hurt your performance and training. Take natural foods with for longer bike rides if you should feel like you need it. Some dates should do. Drink pure water (with added Himalayan salt if it is really hot or you are a salty sweater) or coconut water is always a great choice (natures best electrolyte drink, high potassium content next to other nutrients).
Include health fats in your diet such as olive oil, avocado, nuts. Especially before aerobic units.
Hope that helps,
Become the unstoppable you,