Monday, May 07, 2007

Feed Me! (aka Nutrition Questions)

Okay, I have a problem. I like my Gatorade and gels, but it's just not working for me anymore.

Here's the issue and some background info. On Thursday, I cramped up during a swim. I thought it was just a fluke thing, maybe my wetsuit wasn't fitting right or something, so I didn't do anything to address it. During my brick on Saturday, I got a splitting headache while on the bike, and was feeling a little nauseated as well. This wasn't the first time I've gotten terrible headaches during a long bike. And then yesterday during Broad Street (10-mile run), I felt my legs cramping during the last 1.5 miles, and had to keep moving after the finish to stave off what I knew would be awful leg cramps if I stopped.

During Saturday's workout, I had diluted Gatorade in my bottles and had a gel (Raspberry Hammer Gel) after about 45 minutes. Speedy thought maybe the headaches were from a salt deficiency, so I had two Endurolytes during 'transition' and headed out for a short run. My headache seemed to go away and the nausea passed as well, leading me to think that there was something to the sodium deficiency theory.

During Broad Street, I had mostly water, plus a Rasperry Hammer Gel at about the halfway point and some sips of Gatorade at around mile 6 or 7.

I'm looking for some advice. My nutrition strategy, which is not even a strategy but more of a 'what do I feel like drinking today?' method, is not working anymore. What works for you, nutrition-wise? I tried Accelerade (orange) and thought it tasted awful. I'm not sure I could stomach it during a workout. I've heard good things about some different products, including Heed and Perpeteum, and Amino Vital, and also other flavors of Accelerade. Nuun looks like it could be good for maintaining the electrolyte balance, but it has practically no calories, so even if I try that, I need something else for calorie replacement. Same for Endurolytes. The problem is that this stuff is not cheap, and I don't really want to go buy five hundred different things only to find that Product X is gross or Product Y upsets my stomach. So for now, I'll ask those who have gone before me: What do you use and why? Where do you get it?


Jessi said...

Hammer products are definitely the good stuff. You just have to make sure you like the taste. In my opinion, Heed and Recoverite are pretty good, and I rarely hear anybody else complaining about the taste with those products.

That said, Perpetuem is NASTY. Do NOT buy a whole jug of that stuff before trying a single serve pack. At least, that's my opinion. :)

And speaking of single serve, if you look around you should be able to find single serve packs of all the Hammer products. I work at Triumph Multisport ( and we have 'em, so if you absolutely can't find them anywhere else I might be able to send you a few.

For racing, this year I'm going to try Carbo Pro along with some Thermolytes or Endurolytes. I can't do the Heed (or anything with taste) when I'm racing. Carbo Pro is awesome - truly tasteless, but with plenty o' calories.

IM Able said...

I agree with Jessi that Hammer is a great line of products. I learned about them with HEED, which I really like for my shorter distances. It's not overwhelmingly sweet, which I can't stand, and has yet to cause me any stomach cramps. In fact, I don't race now without it!

With my success with HEED, I decided to try Perpetuem. Jessi's right -- it tastes a little like arse. It's supposed to be orange popsicle flavor, but that's not really true. But let me tell you -- it does its job! I use it for my workouts that are over 2 hours and (sometimes) as a recovery drink. It gets me through some seriously hard sessions without bonking and I'm recovering more quickly and with less soreness than I used to.

But I did learn a lesson (for me) this week which is to travel with both Perpetuem AND plain water. The strong flavor of the Perpetuem doesn't fool me into thinking I'm hydrating, as well as "eating," which of course I am. Now I alternate between both.

I also have a seperate recovery drink (name escapes me) that I use after particularly hard sessions (3+ hours, hills, etc.) and racing.

I guess gone are the days were gels and Gatorade will do it, eh? Go team!

Bill said...

I'll jump in and agree with Jesse and Able.

Go with Hammer's Endurolytes. They're capsules that you carry with you and take when you need it (I take 3 every hour since I sweat like mad). That allows you to drink and eat whatever else you like.

Agree with Jesse's recommendation of Perpeteum. Try it in small amounts before you buy a jug.

I've been using Hammer products for 12 years and I've always been impressed with their product and service.

But one word of caution - I've read that if you mix the Hammer Gels/Drinks with others such as Gatorade, the different sugar composition (long-chain vs. short-chain) will really tear your stomach up).