Triathlon Nutrition Plan Part 4: Gels vs Chews vs Bars vs Liquid

Triathlon Nutrition Plan Part 4: Gels vs Chews vs Bars vs Liquid

November 8, 2019 23 By William Morgan


– Hey, what’s up triathlon traniacs.
Triathlon Taren here with
your daily triathlon video
helping you nail your training,
your racing, hopefully,
become a better triathlete
which then, hopefully,
results in a funner, more
daring and enjoyable life.
Sounds nice doesn’t it?
Today, in the fourth
and final video in our
“Figure Out Your Race Nutrition” series,
we’re gonna be talking about
where you get your calories
from and we’re gonna be
talking about the pros and cons
comparing the most common
places to get your calories.
Those being gels, chews,
bars or the new option,
primarily, liquid based.
Now, the first option we’re
gonna talk about is bars and
some of the pros to using bars during
a race is that it’s a solid food.
It tends to settle a lot
of people’s stomachs.
You also won’t get that feeling
of becoming hungry or having
like, that real sugary, gut
rotty feeling that you get
from just taking on really
processed, high sugar things
like gels and chews.
You’ve also got a ton of
options for different taste.
You can get sweet potato bars.
You can get gluten free
bars, soy free bars.
You have tons of different options
depending on what your palate likes.
Now, the cons however, is
one, you might not think about
this, but, it can be, depending
on the consistency of the
bar, tough to chew during a
race and with some certain bars
that are really chewy, are
really big in your mouth,
it’ll actually throw off your
breathing which can then,
lead to developing a side
stitch or some cramps.
In addition to that, some bars
aren’t packaged up well and
they’re not dosed in a form
that is really good for a race
where we’re trying to take anywhere
from 80 to 130 calories every half hour.
Some bars come and
there like 230 calories.
What are you gonna do with that?
The second option is primarily,
liquid based and you’re
seeing a lot of triathletes
go towards a liquid nutrition
solution in their races.
Lionel Sanders has done it and
that’s because it tends to be
the most customizable to your specific,
say, sweat rate or taste palate.
It’s also, probably, very
easy to digest because it is
customed designed for you
and because it is so new,
they’re coming at it with
a lot of new science,
so, it tends to be formulated
with things that are easy to
digest and process and
then, the last thing is that
it’s really easy to carry.
As long as you can fill up
some bottles and you can swap
them out easily and you’ve got
that dexterity on the bike,
it tends to be really easy to
carry and it’s an all-in-one
solution that boom, from
fluids, to electrolytes
to all the calories,
everything done, one bottle,
bing, bang, boom, thank ya.
The cons of this as an option
however, are that you might
potentially, have taste
fatigue if you aren’t able to
customize the taste to what you like.
The second, I mentioned in the
video yesterday that if you
end up somehow losing it or
you need to top up at the last
minute while you’re at a
destination race and you got this
super customized nutrition
solution and you don’t have
access to it anywhere,
could be tough to source.
The third downside is what
I talked about with the bars
is that because it’s all liquid,
you don’t feel like you’ve
really eaten anything
throughout the day and
you might feel a little
bit of an empty stomach and
that’s just a distraction from taking you
away from performing in that race.
The third option is chews
and I think that this is the
unsung hero of race
nutrition for a few reasons.
Number one, it’s a really nice
balance of easy to digest,
typically, very sugary,
high, dense calories
in a small little container.
It’s also, essentially, food.
So, it feels like you’ve
taken something on and
in my experience, gives you
that nice settled stomach
that you get from solid food.
Third thing, is it’s very
easy to dose because the doses
are anywhere from 25 to 40 calories each.
You don’t have to dose every
25 to 35 minutes with a chew.
You can do it every 10 minutes,
15 minutes, 12 minutes,
11 minutes because they’re so
small, you can get that amount
of calories you need
absolutely dialed into what you
specifically want and there
are dozens of flavors.
All kinds of chews that are
glucose based or fructose based
or tapioca syrup based.
There’s all kinds of different options.
So, you can even trade different
taste throughout a race,
so, that you don’t develop
that taste fatigue and the two
main downsides, however, to
chews are that, number one,
it does require that chewing
which can throw your breathing off.
They’re like (chewing).
Feel like a horse just
working through the chews,
developing a little bit
of soreness in the jaw,
distracting you from
performing in your race and
then, the other downside is
that a lot of these chews,
they unfortunately, come with just
a ton of air in the packaging.
So, if you’re stuffing
it in your jersey pocket,
you might be stuffing
like, only two packages in.
Clif Shot Bloks, I’m a big
fan of how they package it up
because it’s just like
a tube and then, you’re
(pop) and then, the final
gold standard of them all that
just about all of you know
about and rightfully so.
This is the option that
most triathletes go with.
It’s gels and it’s for
a number of reasons.
Number one, there are
tons of different flavors,
everything from Canadian maple syrup
to vanilla espresso coffee.
So, you can change up the taste flavor
throughout the course of a race.
Two, very easy to carry.
The packaging itself has no air in it.
Three, very easy to digest, typically.
Four, very easy to transport;
tape to a bike, shove in a
jersey pocket, you can
actually tape it to the top
tube of a bike in a way
that as soon as you grab it,
the top tab gets ripped off
and it’s opened for you and
they’re also easy to dose.
If you want 92 calories, you
can go and get a 100 calorie
gel and then, just leave a
little bit at the end and toss
the wrapper in the garbage and
you’re not carrying a ton of stuff.
The cons, however, of gel
are that they’re messy.
Some of my favorite gels
that I like all the time are
actually, really, really light
and they’re not even syrupy.
It’s almost like straight liquid and
it just gets everywhere.
That’s a downside.
Second thing is that old,
very traditional gels,
they’re the exact opposite.
They’re like chewy and you’ve
got to work your way through it.
It’s almost like paste
in your mouth and then,
related to that is because
a lot of these gels are very
syrupy, pasty in your mouth,
tends to stay in your mouth.
So, you get that fuzzy feeling
on your tongue developing a
little bit of taste fatigue even if,
you’re switching from
one taste to another.
Personally, how I like to
mix it up, is I’ll take a gel
before the race ’cause it’s easy to ditch.
I will get onto the bike and
my first bit of calories will
probably be chews because
they’re very easy to take on and
it’s easy to just slow roll
that start into getting nutrition.
My next nutrition will be solid
food with a bar to get that
solid food settled stomach
feeling in that’s gonna last
me through to the end of the
race and then, from then on in,
it’ll be a mixture of gels and chews.
Really just depending on
what I feel like at the time.
On the run, it’ll always be
gels because I can just be on
the run, take a gel,
squeeze it in, done, easy.
Guys if you haven’t done it
yet and you want to get the
guide on how you can figure
out the amount of calories that
you need to take, the scheduling
that you need to take them
in, guidelines on what type of calories,
what types of fluid are good
for you and how to customize
that based off of when you put on weight,
when you lose weight, exactly
how many calories you need to
take, what you need to
do in hot weather races,
if you have digestive problems,
all these things can be
downloaded by going to
triathlontaren.com/triathlonnutritionguide
and
over the course of four days,
you’re going to be walked
through start to finish,
how to nail your nutrition
strategy, so, that it isn’t
holding you back from
having your best race.
If you aren’t yet subscribed,
hit that subscribe button
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any of our daily triathlon videos.
You can check out the entire
race nutrition guideline
video series by clicking the
playlist here and if you just
want to see some really
good race coverage,
check out the Iron Man
corner video we did up here.
I think it’s my favorite.
Thank you for watching
this four part series.
I hope that it helps
you have better races.
If you have any questions, hit
me up in the comments below.