HPN 10: Custom Race Fueling Options, Recovering From Rundown, and More On Choosing Your Optimal Diet

October 25, 2019


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Welcome to episode 10 of Holistic Performance Nutrition featuring Coach Tawnee and Julie McCloskey, a certified holistic nutrition coach who you can find over at wildandwell.fit.

Michael says:

In Response to HPN 9 and Vegan Diets

Hi Tawnee and Julie,

As a long time listener to the show, I looked forward to a balanced, and informed view on plant-based diets for athletes. Instead it came as very one-sided. First, portraying a plant-based diet as being insufficient is not a valid argument, if you can’t account for plant-based athletes who excel at their chosen sports.

If a plant-based diet is inadequate for health, why does the American Dietetic Association claim the opposite? (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19562864/). In addition, how do medical professionals who specialise in plant-based nutrition arrive at different conclusions to the ones you reach? It’s also highly problematic to adopt the position of an omnivore diet as the healthy standard against which other diets should be measured. Why is it that you don’t mention any of the adverse health effects of eating meat, apart from a brief mention at the beginning of the show? The WHO has concluded that processed meat is carcinogenic, and red meat is likely carcinogenic. (https://news.un.org/en/story/2015/10/513662-new-un-report-links-processed-meats-cancer-humans-red-meat-also-likely-cause). In terms of supplements, using a B12 supplement is widely recommended for vegans. I think most people considering adopting this diet would already know this. 

An ethical and environmental point you mentioned relates to pasture fed animals. If animal welfare is such a concern, why is killing them acceptable? To me that sounds like a contradiction. In relation to the environment, animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change and deforestation. Take a look at what’s being said about the cause of the fires in the Amazon, for instance. You mentioned that this was not the focus of the podcast, but you then talk about how animal agriculture can be sustainable. This is a questionable claim. My view is that health, ethics and the environment should not be considered as unrelated. 

My last point is that if you’d like to present a credible argument, based on research, why not draw on a wider range of literature? If you’re not willing to, it would be an idea to inform listeners that what you are arguing is based on your own personal views, and some research and opinions which support this.

Finally, it would be great if you could host a plant-based medical professional and/or athlete to hear her/his views about what you discussed. 

All the best.

What the Coaches Say:

  • Our goal is to give our audience resources and tools. We are looking at longevity and longterm health, and that partially question explored how sustainable vegan diets are with keeping an open mind.
  • If your body is craving animal proteins be willing to listen to it.
  • Athletes require more vitamins and minerals than non athletes and omnivorous diets may really help with that.
  • Understand the WHY of adopting any diet and not just jumping on a bandwagon.
  • Utilization for vitamins and minerals is higher in athletes than non-athletes.
  • Highlighting the theme of this podcast to become healthier, empowering you to right the ask questions.
  • We are not here to say there is “one true way” nor “one diet to follow.”
  • Living in harmony with vegans and omnivores.
  • Athlete results don’t tell the whole story of one’s health (eg fit but unhealthy).
  • Omnivorous people make a lot of mistakes with diet as well. A lot of meat eaters are not getting it right either and risk deficiencies.
  • If our diet is limited we need to know where to supplement, and no matter what diet you tackle: 1) eat nutrient dense foods, 2) eat local whenever possible.


Shawn asks:

Healthier Race Fueling Options?

Greetings Endurance Planet!  I have a basic question. I’m looking for in-race fueling advice for my first 70.3. It’s the Muncie IronMan 70.3 in my home town and it’s July 11th 2020. I have already paid hoping to have that carrot as a great motivator through the winter.  My question is fueling during the race. I recently ran a couple half marathons. One on the trails and one on the road. I fell apart at the 10 mile marker in both race situations. It could be I need to increase my long run. My longest long run leading into the most recent road half was 12 miles. I ran a 1:42:00 but was planning to run a 1:39:00 or faster.  

During that last road half marathon I used Cliff gels. 1 before the race, 1 about 4 miles, and part of one around mile 9ish maybe. I hated taking them during the race. The goo gets everywhere and I’m not a fan of taking gels anyways. In the trail half I used cliff blocks. Less messy but still felt pretty weak at the 10 mile marker.  

So for the IronMan 70.3, am I just stuck having to take in gels and blocks or is there a better / healthier way…?  I train primarily at MAF and I try and to avoid added sugars most of the time. I’m guessing most of my fuel should happen during the bike portion of the race?

I would really appreciate your suggestions. I intend to spend the next 8 months building up my millage in both running and biking, nice and slow, at MAF for 99% of my efforts. So I should be pretty high in fat burning by July.  My MAF is 143, and I’ve seen heart rates over 190 during 5k / threashold efforts. It’s usually very hot and very, very, very humid here in Indiana during that time. The bike course is flat and nicely paved and fast. The run course is more like rolling hills and full sun.   

I will also be doing a practice Olympic distance in May and I have done several sprint distance races at this same location. The exact location of the IronMan.

What the Coaches Say:

Semi-homemade sports drink 1:

  • 12-20 oz water 
  • 1 Scoop UCAN (if a smaller bottle may use less ucan)
  • 1/16 tsp to 1/8 tsp high quality salt – add to taste, start with a little and add more to your palatability.
    • Note – 1/16 salt is about 250 mg sodium.
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • Adjust ratios as needed to find a palatable mix you enjoy.

Semi-homemade sports drink 2:

  • UCAN or Tailwind
  • “Fat adapted” gel or healthy gel of choice – Fbomb, Muir Energy, Spring gel, Justin’s nut butter, etc.
  • Water 
  • In your own bottle, 12-20oz handheld, gel flask like GoToob, or in a larger 10oz flask like those by Nathan. 

Homemade “power bars”

  • Homemade “power bars” with foods that agree with your gut eg soaked dates, sprouted grains like buckwheat, nuts, hemp, chia seeds, cacao powder. The goal is to incorporate as much real food as you can.

More insight:

  • A question to ask: do you want all calories in your bottle or to have a hydration?
  • The Lucho route with nutrition – choke down anything as long as it works, taste and enjoyment doesn’t matter.
  • Meanwhile Tawnee is more of an “enjoyer” with sports nutrition, it’s ok to want to like what you’re using.
  • Julie’s pre race breakfast for a 30k – UCAN, oats, chia, maple syrup, sea salt.
  • Gel alternatives for fat-adapted athletes like Muir Energy – incorporates more fats and natural sweeteners.
  • Absorption is key to assimilate and utilize your calories and avoid GI distress.
  • Homemade sports drink recipe:
    • The small amounts salt and honey/maple sugar help with absorption (not necessarily a calorie source to rely on).
    • Maple syrup lower in FODMAPs than honey.
  • Avoiding salt pills – too highly concentrated and can actually pull water into the gut and dehydrate you.
  • Skratch labs is great for finding a good osmolality for optimal absorption – use that as drink along with a whole food nutrition source on the bike.
  • Nuun tablet if you just want electrolytes and no sugar.
  • GoToobs – Use these food-grade silicone containers for homemade gels.
  • Simplification is key.
  • Julie’s blog post on sports performance product.
    • Gu not organic, and GMO issues which could exacerbate GI distress.
  • Spring Energy Gels – we’re a fan of ingredients, a lot of whole food based ingredients. But was initially curious about oil being used?
    • We found out that they indeed use coconut oil in their gels, which is great news. Hearing more success stories with these gels!
    • Use code “tryspring” for 10% off your first purchase at https://myspringenergy.com/

Ella asks:

Feeling Mega Rundown

Hi! I love your podcast. I recently listened to your episode about getting your period back and I learned a lot of useful information.

I do have a question. I have been running hard for about a year now, and I honestly feel like I am getting worse. I run commute 3 times a week and can see that my easy pace has gotten slower – even the pace I went out when I first started running (9:30mins mile) now feels consistently unattainable, and I am stuck at 11 min miles, even on easy pavement. I feel extremely tired all of the time, even though I try to sleep 9-10 hours a night. I might be imagining it but I’ve always had slightly downy hairs on my neck and chin (I’m a woman) but now these seem to be getting thicker and I’m having to pluck them! I really do try to rest and take 2 days off a week from running but even that is very stressful as I know I won’t hit my goals on such low mileage weeks. I feel like I constantly have the flu or there’s something stopping me hitting my mileage goals, and I don’t understand why I’m getting slower! Thank you!


What the Coaches Say:

  • Stress response is out of whack – a lot of pressure put on herself, like amenorrhea, super tired, getting sick often, getting slower at running, lacking nutrients, low vitamin D likely, not recovering well — all red flags.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – A, D and Zinc come to mind since she’s always sick
  • Management of Hirsutism
    • “Laboratory results may suggest either the ovaries or adrenals as the major source of androgen excess”
  • Appearing to exhibit Female athlete triad or RED-S
  • Amenorrhea vs. PCOS
    • Adrenal PCOS 10% of cases – irregular cycle and higher androgens
    • HPA axis dysfunction starts with signaling in the brain – based on our actions.
    • Symptoms are a window into what we need.
    • Adrenal PCOS – “This means that women who are under chronic stress not only have more opportunities for elevated ACTH and thus elevated androgens, but their hormones may also start to react more severely to stressful situations. It also suggests that a higher amount of DHEA could be the body’s way of protecting the brain from the long-term effects of chronic stress.” – Kresser
    • PCOS three criteria (must meet 2 out of 3):
      • Polycystic ovaries (must test)
      • High androgen levels (hair growth, acne, etc)
      • Menstrual dysfunction of some kind
  • To do:
    • Stress management
    • Eat more nutrient dense foods
    • Switch the run commute to a bike commute for a couple weeks
    • No restricting, no dieting, eating what you want and not.
    • If being very stringent on needing to run X miles per week, it’s time to let go of that.
    • Stop tracking and logging mileage and let go of training log, and/or leave the watch at home.
    • Redirect that energy to a gratitude journal.
    • You are more than miles. Body is asking for change. Let’s listen to what it needs.
    • Run a DUTCH panel to understand more about hormones and interconnectedness.
    • Time off to rest is key.
    • Stay away from cold smoothies and cold, raw foods. Focus on warm, nourishing foods like stews and soups. Be ok with carbs and real meals that are warming.
    • No low carb eating
  • Stress over food and guidelines you place on yourself can do a lot of damage.
  • Takes time to get health back in line.
  • Testing (like DUTCH) helps to own the reality and start the path to healing.
  • Being a driven person can help you in a healing journey.


One Comment

  • 143 Guessing says:

    […] HPN 10: Custom Race Fueling Options, Recovering From Rundown, and More On Choosing Your Optimal Diet – I’m guessing most of my fuel should happen during the bike portion of the race? I would really appreciate your suggestions. I intend to spend the next 8 months building up my millage in both running. […]

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