How To Plan Your Race Or Sportive Nutrition With Asker Jeukendrup

How To Plan Your Race Or Sportive Nutrition With Asker Jeukendrup

November 7, 2019 65 By William Morgan


– Hello and welcome to a
very special edition of
GCN’s How To… with
Professor Asker Jeukendrup,
who has very kindly agreed to give us
some of more of his time after
we did that ask with him.
And we got loads of questions
from people on how to really
personalise their nutrition
for their particular problems.
Professor Jeukendrup, thank
you very much for having us
in your beautiful office again.
– Thank you for having me.
– I’ve mentioned before your
numerous achievements, but
you’ve worked in the field
of sports nutrition and
performance nutrition and
exercise science for many years.
And I know that you’ve worked
with some very high level
sports teams in football, cycling.
You’ve worked with Chrissie Wellington,
Haile Gebrselassie, tell us
a little about your role in
with high level athletes, advising them
in nutrition I think.
– I think it’s a relationship
that works both ways.
So I listen carefully to
what elite athletes tell me
and then they tell me
what their problems are.
And those are things that
we’ve taken to the lab,
to try and find the answers.
And then hopefully, I can then
help them with these answers.
And that’s how I’ve
worked for many years and
indeed I had the opportunity
to work with a number of
great athletes and I have to
say that I have learned a lot.
I hope that they learned a bit as well.
– Yep and I think they have,
but you should know that
Asker’s also himself
a very keen triathlete, cyclist, runner,
so he knows about the user end
of sports nutrition as well.
So anyway, let’s get down to business.
We had quite a few
questions from people who
wanted to know about
nutrigenomics and whether
they should go out and get DNA
testing to find out precisely
what they should be eating in their event.
So we thought we’d come
and ask you about that.
– [Asker] Yeah, alright.
– [Interviewer] So, can you tell us about
what you think about that to start with?
– Yeah, I think first of
all, I think personalization
is the future in this field.
For me there’s no question about this.
Every individual is different
and we need to address that.
Nutrigenomics has been suggested
as a solution for this,
for this problem where you measure
genes and then out of
that roles some advice.
And I think some of that
comes from the medical world,
where we see a lot of this
where based on your genetic
makeup you may or may,
yeah you may be prone
to certain disesases or you may respond
to certain medication.
That work in the medical
field is all based on
a very large number of studies.
And also the studies
themselves are very large,
sometimes 10,000’s of people
that were followed in time,
some people that get the disease,
some people that don’t get the disease and
based on that you can see
then that certain genes
send people in different directions.
– But it’s a statistical correlation.
– It’s very much based on
statistics so it’s probabilities.
– Yeah.
– And now in nutrtion we see similar,
now this is not sports
nutrition now, but just in
general nutrition we
see something similar.
We have fewer studies there, but
still the studies are very large.
When we come to sports
nutrition there’s a little
different picture because
there we have actually
very few studies and the
studies that we have,
they don’t have 10,000’s
of people, typically
their studies have six or
eight or ten people at best.
And it is very very
difficult to draw conclusions
from those small numbers of
studies with small sample sizes
to do a really complex question.
– A similar problem to in
sport science in general where
training protocols are
tested on quite small groups
of people and it’s very hard
to generalise to elite level
or to people in general.
– Yes, that’s correct.
– Yeah.
So at the moment you’d
say that maybe a DNA test
is not the solution.
That it’ll tell you bam,
take this bar, this gel, and
that carbohydrate drink, its more —
– Yeah, I think there’s several
reasons why I think that
that it’s not the solution yet.
First of all, because the
field is, we have so few
studies to base this on
and it’s too early days.
But also, the real reasons
why you need to eat somethin’
to perform are probably not
so much dependent on genetics.
– Yeah.
– So for example, the exercise
intensity and the duration,
the type of sport you
do determine much more
what you need, then your genome.
– So the reason that I
don’t respond the same way
to bar x or gel y as my
friend does is more to do with
how hard I’m riding or
what I’ve trained myself
to eat as well.
Presumably that plays a part as well?
– Yeah.
Or even what your goal is.
– Yes.
– Right, if your goal is weight loss
or your goal is to perform tomorrow,
you’re eating differently.
– Yeah, that’s a good point, yeah.
So there is, one should try to
personalise one’s nutrition,
but maybe not based purely on DNA.
– Yeah, that’s correct.
And maybe in the future it’ll
start to play a bigger role.
There are some examples where
maybe this is useful already,
but it’s very very early days.
– Yeah.
– Like an example is caffeine.
We know that some people are
much more sensitive to caffeine
than some other people.
That is, you can trace
that back to the genome.
– Oh really?
– You measure that.
So that’s one of the few things
that we can already do today.
– Oh right, I thought that
I was not very sensitive
to coffee because I drink too much of it.
But it’s partly my genes, okay.
(Asker laughing)
It’s good to know.
Given that there are all these
different variables about
exercise intensity and goal and
well just personal preference,
can you tell me how we as
cyclists should go about
planning our nutrition for
either training or racing
or whether there’s some
interaction between those?
– Yeah.
– There’s so much information out there,
feels like sometimes
there’s too much information
from many different
sources and it’s very easy
just to try and copy what
other people are doing.
Where’s the starting point, do you think?
– I think for me the
starting point is always
understanding the sport itself.
– Yeah.
– What is it that determines
the performance in that sport?
I think it’s almost going back to basics.
– Yeah.
– Like what is it in
this particular sport,
that determines performance.
In cycling for example,
that’s gonna be different,
of course, in mountain stages
than it is in time trials.
And so it really depends, but you have to
go back to that basic.
Once you have a good
understanding of that,
I think the question to ask is okay.
Now with your training, what
are you trying to achieve?
What are your main goals?
So that for me is the next step.
And as I said earlier, if
your goal is weight loss.
Your programme will look
quite a bit different
than when it is purely to perform.
So goals is next
and then it is about what
timing are we talking about.
Are we talking about the 24-hour
diet?
– [Interviewer] Oh, yeah.
– [Asker] Are we talking about
what to eat before training?
Are we talking about what we eat during?
So that’s the other component.
– So if we were to take say,
a cyclist who’s fairly experienced
but they’re taking on
a big event this year,
for example like a long
sportive, let’s say five to seven
hours long, a major undertaking.
How would they go about knowing
how to time their nutrition?
There are, I believe
there are guidelines for
how much carbohydrates
someone should take in.
if they’re working above a certain level
for a certain amount of time.
Especially if there’s a
key goal, is what to keep
eating as much carbohydrate
as you can really.
– Yeah, not necessarily.
– Okay.
– ‘Cause that depends
on what your goal is.
– Yeah.
– If what your goal is to
perform at your maximum.
– Yeah.
– The advice will be
slightly different than when
your goal is to reach the finish line.
– Yeah.
– And to complete the event.
And if your goal is to complete the event,
you probably don’t need as much.
– Yup.
– So that’s one factor,
the other factor is
your absolute levels.
– Yeah.
– The power that your power
output is really important.
So if someone produces 300 watts
versus 150 watts on average
that’s going to be a different demand.
– Yes, yep.
– That’s important to
understand and I see a lot of,
a lot of athletes who
maybe take longer,
who fuel the same that a
professional rider would do
and that’s not necessary.
– No, overdoing it on carbohydrate
is an extra on the body
that it can’t cope with
under high perform loads and
if you’re trying to digest
and put out power at the same
time it’s not always a great.
– Yeah, that is definitely a challenge.
– Great, thank you.
So, how would we go about
knowing about how much
carbohydrate to take in, during an event?
– We do have some guidelines for that and
the amount you need to
take in probably depends on
the duration of the exercise.
So if it’s only an hour, two hours,
you need smaller amounts.
If you go over two
hours you need probably,
say between 30 and 60 grammes
of carbohydrate every hour.
– Yeah.
– If you take this really seriously,
your power output is high
and you’re goin’ over
2.5 to three hours, this
is where you may even think
to go higher than 60 grammes per hour.
– Okay.
– And up to 90 grammes per hour.
But, this is where it gets
a little tricky because
your body can absorb, most
peoples bodies can absorb,
up to about 60 grammes per hour
of any type of carbohydrate
and so that’s not,
that’s no problem.
If you go higher than 60 grammes,
then that may be a problem
in terms of the absorption
unless you take the right
types of carbohydrate.
– Okay.
– So I would always advise, do not go
higher than 60 grammes per hour.
– Okay.
– Unless you know about this.
– Yeah.
– And you know which
carbohydrates to select.
– Yup.
– The carbohydrates you
need to select to go higher.
– Yeah.
– Are a combination of
glucose and fructose.
– Yup.
– Or maybe maltodextrins and fructose.
– And those are the easiest to absorb.
– Yeah, so that combination, they and,
the technical side of that story is
those are two types of carbohydates
that use different
transporters in the intestine.
And if you only use one transporter,
it just gets saturated
and this is why you cannot absorb
more than 60 grammes per hour.
If you use the two transporters,
then that means that you can
absorb glucose and fructose
at the same time and we’ve
shown that you can then
go up to even higher
than 90 grammes per hour.
– So you’ve got like a
two lane road instead of
of a one lane bottleneck.
– That’s correct, yeah.
– Thank you.
What about, so we had
questions from people saying
obviously that fat is much
more energy dense per gramme.
So if you could, why not take
on 60 grammes of fat per hour
and you’ve got way more energy.
It’s not as simple as that
though is it in terms of
absorption into the body.
– No, it’s not.
Unforunately, well there’s two issues
with fat during exercise.
One, is that the liver is very slow.
– Yeah.
– Whereas carbohydrate is
absorbed really quickly
and is in your blood within minutes.
And with fat that’s a different story.
And this may take hours.
So by the time the bulk of
the fat actually gets absorbed
you may be done with your ride.
So it’s not the ideal energy source.
– More energy for the party yeah.
– It’s not a problem to take a little bit
of fat on during exercise,
but it’s not a good fuel.
– Okay, thank you.
And then I come to the question of
what kind of carbohydrates.
So you mentioned fructose,
glucose, maltodextrin.
What about these energy
bars that are slow release,
based on oats or I know
that obviously there are
really different carbohydrate
chain links and that
affects the absorption time.
Personally, I really like
eating flapjacks and oat-based
products, I have a soft spot for those.
What do you think about
those and in sort of
high intensity events?
– [Asker] Yeah, in high intensity events,
that wouldn’t be my first choice.
– [Interviewer] Oh well, yeah.
– In training and lower intensity
event it doesn’t matter.
It’s not about delivering the
energy as fast as possible.
But in high intensity events and races,
this is where you want
to deliver the energy
as quickly as possible.
You also, at the same time,
you want your intestine
and your stomach to be
as empty as possible.
Because you want that, the
carbohydrate to go through
that as quickly as possible.
So you only get that
unfortunately with the…
– With the sugars.
– With the faster sugars.
– And oats have too much fibre and protein
and a little bit fat so
they slow the stomach too.
– And often the products
that have them also,
they have a little bit more
fat, little bit more protein,
they are all things that slow
down the gastric emptying
and thus the delivery of the carbohydrate.
– And slowing down
gastric emptying can also
lead to stomach cramping
I think if you have
too much food just sitting in your stomach
when you’re trying to
basically pedal hard.
– Yes, that’s right.
– I’ve experienced that for sure.
– Yep.
– It’s pretty unpleasant.
– Great, thanks Asker.
So we’ve got this rule of
thumb or general rule for
how much carbohydrate
on average for an event
when you’re working hard.
But, in cycling events there
are obviously obstacles
in that there are mountains,
descents, corners,
you know maybe there’s
a sprint coming up or
a place you have to be at the front or
portions of the course where
you know you’re gonna be
working very hard and then
portions when you’re not.
How do we adapt our nutrition to fit into
the practicalities of a cycling course?
And that maybe sometimes
you just don’t have
a hand free to eat anything?
– Well there’s two things
you can do of course.
You have to be very
clever with where you eat.
So we can say that from a
laboratory it’s easy, right?
So you can say, oh every
15 minutes you need to
take on board something and that’s usually
what we do in the lab.
But, if you’re riding outside
and there are mountains
and hills and corners it’s,
it’s very tricky sometimes.
It is important to think
about this beforehand.
And in the work that I do
with professional cyclists,
we do this, we sit down, we
say okay, this is the plan.
This is what we need
to consume in the race.
What are the best moments to do this?
And they can usually tell me
where the best moments are
because they’ve ridden those races before.
And then we plan it out that way.
The other thing that is imporatnt is that
you do need to get to your
target of carbohydrate.
But, we’ve also shown that
it doesn’t matter so much
whether it comes from a
drink or a gel or a bar,
but that it’s low in fat
and fibre and protein.
So you can mix and match
and usually it means that
in the early parts of races, for example,
when the intensity is a little bit lower
and you can still eat,
use more solid food.
In the last couple of hours
of races, it’s mostly gels because that
only takes like a few seconds
to take so those are things
that you can play with.
So pick the right moment
and pick the right products
at those moments.
– Yeah, that’s certainly
what I would find,
that I would study the
race course beforehand
or nowadays maybe a
sportive course and work out
where I’d have a hand
free to eat anything.
So, not on the descent for me, but also
I wouldn’t eat a massive
bar on the bottom of a climb
where I was gonna go hard because it would
come straight back up
again, which is not pretty.
– Yeah, but you see that
people do make those mistakes.
Sometimes just the beginning
of the climb is a time
when you can actually eat
but then you’re still chewing
when at the steep parts.
– Yeah, you don’t wanna be
chewing when someone attacks
and you’ve gotta go in
them, it’s very messy.
Great, thank you very much.
I know that you’ve
developed a way, a tool for
athletes to plan their nutrition
during events and during training,
can you tell us a little bit about that?
About what it’s called and how it works?
– We call that programme
CORE, what CORE really is
is that you have a
sports nutrition scientist in your pocket.
You can personalise
your own nutrition plan.
What you get is all signs based, but also,
at the same time based on you.
It is also very practical
because it uses the products
that you want to use.
So you get a plan that is just bulletproof
and you can go into your event
knowing that this will work.
– When I used CORE to
plan my race nutrition,
I actually wrote the plan on a bit of tape
and stuck it on top tubes so that I knew,
not that it was very
complicated, but it reminded me
that at times of 40 I should
eat this and drink this.
Or have consumed that by
then rather than on my go,
it was really helpful.
Thank you very much, this
was really interesting.
I think that’ll be really
helpful for some of our viewers
who have questions about how
to plan their race nutrition,
their training nutrition even.
So I hope that helps answer
some of your questions.
If you would like to check
out some of Asker’s other
huge knowledge on sports nutrition
you can have a look at
this video down here
where we put your questions to him.
And a lot of questions about
personalised nutrition came up
which we saved for this
video, but there’s lots
of really interesting
discussions down there
in that video.