Tri-Ripped Recovery


April 7, 2014 | Posted in General, Injury Prevention, Nutrition | By

Benefits of Recovery

Before you say that recovery methods have been covered time and time again and you know everything there is to know about having your recovery shake right after a tough session you will read some stuff here that is ‘street smart advice’ that you have never heard before. We will be going over every trick you can pull out the bag to aid recovery and tools to monitor your recovery.

There are multiple reasons why recovery is important:

  • The main reason is that your adrenal glands are asked by your body during tough sessions to pump out adrenalins and make adrenal steroids which stress out your body in the ‘fight or flight’ state. You can’t ask your body to tear them out 24/7 and you need to refill your stores and give those glands a break. If you don’t recover you are going to deplete you body’s testosterone levels and produce a massive amount of cortisol which is inhibits your body in recovery and producing growth hormone decreasing the ability to recovery as quickly as you would like to.
  • During intense training when muscle fibres tear you get calcium leakage and produce prostaglandins which makes your body send white blood cells and fluid to the damaged area to start the healing process. You can’t throw in another workout until the inflammatory process has taken place and gone away. A chronic injury is this process never going away (i.e. a lack of recovery). There may be underlying biomechanical issues that cause the issue but a lack of recovery makes it chronic.
  • Your body has a finite storage of fuel (carbs for example) and you need to give it the opportunity to refill these or you are will be sub-par in training due to this lack of recovery. Also, there is a mental motivational component to consider. You need a break to allow yourself to come back and perform to the best of your ability in your sessions.

There are so many things that recovery gives you that a lot of people miss out on. Mark Allen said that “you are better to be 10% undertrained than 1% over trained”. It is discipline in itself.

Markers for Recovery

Use one, some or all of the below markers which provide you with indicators which will allow you to make an informed assessment of your state of recovery before undertaking your days training:

  1. Resting HRelevated morning pulse is from an overworked nervous system which is a good indication that you are over trained. But, if your heart rate is over low you will have other symptoms if it is due to overtraining and it is probably being a result of becoming fitter. Many people find this difficult (especially after being woken up by an alarm clock), You can iPhone apps for tracking your heart rate or something like a fitbit.
  2. Body Mass – If you are losing weight (2% in one day) is usually a sign that you have a loss of hydration combined with a loss of body mass is a warning sign that you could not be recovered.
  3. Quality of sleep – when you are not recovered properly you testosterone is down and you’re not recovered. Waking up but not needing a big wee is a sign that you are not recovered. Waking up early or not falling to sleep early can be signs of not being recovered. You could be just hungry so have a banana dipped in peanut butter and if you are still struggling to sleep it will be probably due to lack of recovery
  4. Performance – Having dead legs often, noticing that you are not getting faster (if already doing interval training), performance in your sessions is down on the previous days performance (pace, speed, watts) are sure fire ways of your body telling you to take a rest and recover.
  5. Oxygen Saturation – 96-99% is the banding you are looking for. A Finger Pulse Oximeter & Heart Rate Monitor will allow you to determine this to assess your recovery.
  6. DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) – this is a normal reaction to training (especially following interval training) but if persistent it is a good indicator that you are not recovering properly.
  7. Hydration – the colour of your pee is a great and easy way of reviewing your hydration. If you are peeing yellow you are dehydrated and hydration is key to recovery
  8. Appetite – your appetite goes down if you are not fully recovered or not recovering properly.
  9. PAMS (Profile Of Mood States) – score you mood, when this is low and you are anxious etc. it can be indicative of lack of recovery or overreaching in training. Well-being and happiness is a good sign of decent job of recovering.


You want to give the body more of the tools it needs to naturally speed up the recovery process. When you take Ibuprofen, or the like, that can stop the body sending white blood cells to the area and shuts down the recovery process. If you treat the area with ice and little bit of heat to get better blood flow to the area gives the body what it needs to speed up the recovery rather than covering the issue up with drugs.

Supplements, Diet and Recovery Aids.


An anti-inflammatory diet includes foods that naturally contain flavonoids and polyphenols. Foods that have those compounds are dark fruits (e.g. pomegranate), dark leafy green (e.g. bok choy, kale) and cumin, turmeric’s and other Indian type spices. Thai and Indian food with curries in your diet help your body shut down inflammation naturally.

Night Shades; potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are high in alkaloids which can inhibit recovery. If you eat a ton of these they will hinder your recovery. However, the Night Shades pale into insignificance compared to sugars and starches (high carbs, fruit juice, scones, crackers, pizza, pasta, biscuits, and bagels based diets) is are one of the worse things you can do to stop your body being set up to repair and recover as it poses natural anti-inflammatory potential.

Sugar and Starchy foods should be replaced with less starchy foods and a high fat food diet (e.g. avocado, oily fish). Don’t be concerned about your energy levels as although pasta is energy, you could take the white pasta and replace with quinoa or rice pasta or substitute with squash, cauliflower, beans lentils, sweet potato etc. which will still give you fuel and energy and glycogen to burn but are not as inflammatory as wheat based starches.

Recovery Shake; It seems to be a general consensus that after training you need to have a protein and carb rich meal with 30 minutes! However, most of the studies that have been done to underpin this claim were done on athletes in a fasted state with low blood sugar levels. If you are training in this state (i.e. before breakfast) it is applicable to use the “30 minutes window”. Otherwise what you are eating during the day is enough to keep your body fuelled. You need to ask yourself whether you fuelled before your session, if so, there is no need to rush to find a banana and protein powder. If you are eating when you are hungry and eating healthily your body will restore its glycogen stores within 8 hours so if you plan on working out again within this time frame fill up your body stores within the 30 minutes window, if not just eat your normal diet.

Eating before you go to sleep; if you are trying to lose weight, you may be better served by going to bed hungry without pumped up insulin levels which will store the energy as fat. If weight loss is not an issue you will get a bit of a release of growth hormone to aide recovery if you eat before bed. If you do not want to eat but still want the increase growth hormone you can try gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) before bed. Deep sleep also aides repair and recovery during sleep which can be aided by using magnesium.


Free radicals are produced during exercise which hold back the recovery process and your body needs help after training with anti-oxidants. You need different anti-oxidants to do this. You want to combine eating a healthy diet with taking anti-oxidant that is as full a spectrum of anti-oxidants you can find meal replacement from Living Fuel (Super Berry or Super Greens) assuming you are eating plenty of nuts and seeds and fruits and veg in your diet. Mt. Capra Solar Synergy Sports Drink or Synergy Natural Organic Super Greens Powder are also good alternatives.

Calcium leakage occurs during exercise. Magnesium displaces calcium which rapidly alleviates post workout soreness. Oral use of magnesium is good for sleep but spray on magnesium is far superior for post race / workouts. You can find a number of option at amazon but my favourite is Better You Magnesium Oil Original Spray.

Protolithic enzymes, which are a blend of extract from meat, pineapple and papayle, such as Quest Enzyme and Health Plus Digest Plus Digestive Enzyme Supplement. Also, taking amino acids before your workout can stave off the use of amino acids from your muscles during exercise. Eat steamed chicken, yoghurt or take an amino acid powder .

Protein – Protein powder should be considered as a real food which can be mixed with coconut milk, oatmeal or quinoa in the morning for example. Protein powders are very very good at giving your body what it needs for repair and recovery but it’s importance seems to have been blown out of proportion which is maybe crossover from body building to the world of endurance and triathlon. Most people eat more protein than they actually need which can cause problems for the liver and kidneys with the production of additional ammonia and toxic bi-products. Best way is to take on a bunch of protein is right after your workout as this is good way to send a big recovery message to your body. Eat just enough protein to give your body what it needs to repair and recover (about 0.8-1.0 grams/lb per day or 1.8-2.2 grams/kg per day) but no more … meat or protein powders during the day, amino acids before a workout and most of the rest of what you eat should come from high amounts of fat and a smart amount of carbs injected when appropriate. Total percentage of your daily calorie intake should be 25-30% protein.

During training sessions it is also a good option to choose gels / liquids that offer Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) in them (Gu Roctane). BCAA can decrease levels of post workout soreness, help you to recovery faster and go harder in the session.

Compression Gear – allows your body to milk fluid and inflammatory bi-products up out of an area much easier as it pulls blood from the area you have inflammation and shovels it up towards your heart. With 110 Compression Wear you can put ice packs in which compresses the blood vessels a little bit which dilates and increase blood flow and secretes post workout soreness and recovery. Good for increasing recovery but don’t get too excited as they won’t increase performance. However, if you wear them during an Ironman (for example) it will help with your muscles being constantly jarred especially towards the end of a marathon. You won’t go any faster but you’ll be less sore during and the next day.

Electro stimulation – a component you attach to the muscle with a pad that simulates massage and forces the muscles to contract and get the blood flowing and increase recovery and reduce soreness, especially if you are going to be sitting down pretty quickly after finishing.

Massage or foam roller or muscle stick – can be used to reduce muscular adhesion after exercising. This allows the muscle to move more freely and to increase blood flow. Compression wear and a foam roller are massive for recovery. If you are getting a massage don’t time it right before or right after a tough session or race.

A Bath – A cold bath after exercise can be used it no compression/ice is not available. Magnesium / Salt baths the day after exercise (but not right after) can really help absorb some of the calcium and soreness.

Ice baths – they can help with soreness after a long run or bike. Fill the bath with ice before you set off and jump in for 20 minutes (grit your teeth and stick with it). Most professional sports teams now use ice baths so that alone speaks for itself.

Swimming for recovery – is good the day after hard workout days and races and is really good as it is non weight bearing and increases blood flow (Just don’t over do it!). Active recovery is good if it isn’t weight bearing and increases blood flow; walking, riding bike, swimming etc.

How do you track your Recovery?

Of the markers for recovery above the favoured ones are morning resting heart rate / oxygen saturation, a comparison of how your legs feel against the previous days session and your pee colour. Also, make sure to pay close attention to sleep (8 hours a night optimal like a log). Pay attention to appetite (if not hungry you are not recovered). Additionally, pay attention to sex drive; if it is down in the hole you are probably be down on your recovery.

Restwise – is an online software programme were you answer questions online which will assess your recovery.

You do not want to be tracking recovery intensely so much so that you are not enjoying training. Just pick a couple of parameters above and monitor how you progress. It can’t be stressed enough how important recovery is and 90% of athletes are not recovered on the start line of any race and they are pretty much screwed before the race has begun.

You invest so much time on your training you also need to spend a huge amount of time on your recovery.






Tomato Pasta

March 21, 2014 | Posted in Nutrition | By

How to defy conventional diet wisdom and get your best body ever

For years now, you’ve probably heard that you should eat bigger meals earlier in the day. The reasoning behind this seems pretty intuitive – by taking in the majority of your calories in the morning or early afternoon, you’ll have more hours available to burn them off. Which is why so many popular nutrition programs advocate front-loading your food and limiting calorie intake –especially carbohydrates –after dark.

So for those who’ve followed this approach for years, here’s a reality check that might blow your mind: It may make more sense to consume the majority of your daily calories, including carbs, between dinner and a late-night snack. Here are four reasons why.


Ancient man spent his days tracking, hunting, and gathering food, and his evenings relaxing and feasting on whatever he’d caught. Instead of going against evolution, why not spend your days “hunting” – in the form of work and training – and eat the majority of your calories at night in order to refuel, recover, and prepare for the next day’s battles?

But won’t all of those nighttime carbs make you fat? Not according to a 2011 study from the Obesity (Silver Spring) Journal, that compared a feast-style dinner pattern with a more conventional dietary approach. The study found that the experimental group, which ate most of its carbs at dinner, experienced greater weight loss and sharper reductions in abdominal circumference and body fat than the more conventional control group.

How can that be? Let’s take a look at the math


Eating the majority of your calories, including carbs, seems to run contrary to most nutritional programs. But does it really?

Even if we consume five to six small meals and snacks a day, rather than eating three square meals, most of the time our dinner winds up being larger than breakfast or lunch. If we add a late-night snack to the equation – which most of us should, to avoid a muscle-wasting 12-hour fast between dinner and breakfast – then it’s easy to see how we might get half of our calories after 6 p.m.

If you train after work, or even after dinner, the numbers shift even more dramatically towards the nighttime. Your post-workout recovery meal –even if it’s just a shake or smoothie –is going to tilt your daily calorie total even further toward the evening.

When it comes to carbs count goes, backloading might be the best idea out there. By saving your natural starches (like yams, sweet potatoes, and brown rice) for dinner and eating lighter, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables during the day, you maximize fat-burning hormones while you are active during the day. This gives you a longer stretch of time where you are burning fat more efficiently.

Plus, when glycogen stores are depleted after training and (or at the end of a day of lower-carb eating), nighttime carbohydrates restock your energy reserves first before spilling over into fat stores. Think about it: If you drive your car around all day and the gas tank is empty, you need to fill it up for the next day. The only way you can get into trouble with this approach is if you really overdo it, and those carbs overflow the tank.

So think of every 24-hour span as two distinct nutritional periods. Eat lighter during the day so you remain in your natural fat-burning, energy production state (hunt mode). During the evening hours, provide your body with the raw ingredients it needs to build and maintain muscle, store energy reserves, recover from the demands of the previous day and prepare for the next one (feast mode).


Another human instinct is to overeat in order to stockpile energy for times of famine. This made sense during caveman times, but not in the modern era where food is readily available.

We need to structure our diets in a way that satisfies this natural urge to feast without chronically overeating. The human brain works on a sacrifice/reward pattern. Most people can cut calories, eat light, and make better food choices during the day if they can reward themselves with a satiating meal at night.

The reverse is not true, however. It’s much harder to reward yourself with food all day and then try to sacrifice by cutting back at night. How many nights in a row can you “just eat a salad” before Ben & Jerry start showing up in your dreams?

Once you grow accustomed to it, however, it is easy to eat light during the day. Adrenaline kicks in making you more alert and efficient in tackling daily challenges. Food becomes an afterthought while productivity improves.

Contrast that with a large lunch that leaves you tired, lethargic, and with an inability to think or focus.

Save that larger, carb-loaded meal for dinner, when you naturally want to relax, eat big, and hit the sack a couple of hours later. Carbs trigger serotonin release, which makes us feel content and induce sleep. Many athletes that train hard and try to cut carbs at night complain of insomnia. Now you know why.


As long as you account for total calories and food choices, meal frequency and food distribution is less relevant in terms of fat loss, though it makes sense to eat more at night. The key is to make the diet fit your life, not the other way around, to give you the best chance of succeeding.

Most of us are not full-time athletes. We are part-time athletes with full-time jobs. Optimizing food distribution patterns is a key factor in establishing a nutritional program that’s a functional, long-term lifestyle plan as opposed to an unsustainable, quick-fix diet.

Think in terms of being like a caveman during the day. Emphasize lighter meals and snacks based on lean proteins, veggies, whole fruit, and small servings of nuts. Save starches for dinner.

Then, when night comes, go Japanese village-style. Eat a bigger, satiating dinner based on lean proteins, veggies, and some natural starch foods like yams, potatoes, or rice with servings based on body size and activity levels.




Ironman UK Tri-Ripped Training Programme Week 3


January 28, 2014 | Posted in Nutrition, Training Plans | By

NB – Due to time constraints with work at the moment this post will be a lot shorter and to the point.

Weight: 15st 2lb / 212lb / 96kg
Hours Sleep: 6:16
Planned Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped – Warrior Body”
Actual Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped – Warrior Body”
4 sets of 10 reps of Pushups, Body Weight Squats, Narrow Grip Pushups, Standing Cable Rows, Reverse Lunges, ‘Little Bigs’, 50 Jumping Jacks
Can be found here
Maintained my weight which is a little disappointing but as with any attempt to lose weight it is not always a straight line to your weight goal. I am trying to adopt the low-carb diet as described in my previous post Paleo / Low Carb diet for Ironman UK Training so hopefully will continue to lose weight in the coming weeks.

6 hours sleep is just not enough and you will see through the week that this is a common theme and has definitely had a negative impact on my training when I reflect back.

Gym session completed to plan completing 4 circuits x 12 reps with the 500m rows in-between. A nutritional ratio of 26/32/42 Carbs/Fat/Protein which is testament to my attempts to follow the Low-Carb Diet.

Hours Sleep: 7:08
Planned Training: Swim, Bike
Actual Training:
Cycle to and from work on MTB concentrating on maintain as high a cadence as possible.
Can be found here
Again sleep is down on the on my target. I need to start forcing myself to go to bed earlier. I biked to and from work and actually drove to the swimming pool to attend a Tri-Club swim session which I had found had been moved to a Thursday when I get there. I took this extra time to go to a nearby supermarket to stock up on my Low-Carb goodies. Nutritional ratio of 42/16/42 Carbs/Fat/Protein predominantly due to having a couple of smoothies during the day. Need to cut the carbs in these. I will look for some recipes and report back.

Hours Sleep: 7:38
Planned Training: Run – A-B-C’s
Warm-up for 10 minutes, 2-5 rounds of the following; 20 yards ‘A’s’ Marching, 20 yards ‘B’s’ Skipping, 20 yards ’C’s’ butt-kicks, 100 yards running at 85% with relaxed cadence.
Actual Training: Run – A-B-C’s
Training undertaken as planned. I can definitely feel the change in my explosive power in my legs due to these, hills and leg weights.
Can be found here
Sleep time a lot better today and I felt the benefit of it during the day. I am feeling good and getting (at least feeling) quicker when running. The stiffness in my legs has now all but gone after sessions as a result. Nutrition was split 33/28/39 which is better than the previous days but still too high on Carbs.

Hours Sleep: 6:11
Planned Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped Fighting Cables”
Actual Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped Fighting Cables”
4 circuits x 15 Reps of Cable Straight Arm Pulldowns, Cable Chest Press, Cable Torso Twists per side, Cable Waterski Row, 500m max effort Row with 1:47 average 500m times.
Can be found here
Sleep massively down on the day but I completed my training as planned. My nutrition ratio was a lot better again today with the ratio of 22/24/54 carb, fats and protein.

Hours Sleep: 7:08
Planned Training: Day Off
Actual Training:
Cycle to and from work on MTB concentrating on maintain as high a cadence as possible.
Can be found here
7 hours of sleep again still below the mark. This was partly due to my wife only letting me know in the morning that I had to cycle to work as she needed the car! Carbs intake was increase as I had few beers with friends at a house warming. A 42/43/15 split of carbs, fats and protein in woeful but it was my cheat day prescribed in the Low-Carb Diet.

Hours Sleep: 5:52
Planned Training: Swim, Bike
Actual Training:Day Off
Can be found here
Low amount of sleep due to the parting going on until around 5AM. I had rearranged my training and had planned a rest day for today. Nutrition was 28/47/25 carb, fats, protein which did include for a KFC in the morning and two buffets at a cousin’s 30th birthday party and a friends wedding. I did not drink at the wedding so I could complete my Sunday morning training which I am very proud of.

Hours Sleep: 8:29
Planned Training: Run, Tri-Ripped Machine Muscle
Actual Training:
Run: Hills Session
Can be found here
Late to bed and a lie in before my mornings hill session. The hills were really tough this week as I undertook them on my own (due to friends being hungover from the aforementioned wedding. My times stayed pretty constant but I felt like a recovered a lot better in-between each repetition. I had planned to do a bike session on the turbo but due to family commitments I had to miss this session. This would normally make me feel disheartened and demotivated but I am content with my progress of late. On the nutrition front 18/54/28 split of carbs, fat and protein was in good spirits with the Low-Carb Diet even though the amount of fat does make me feel uncomfortable.

Another good weeks training following the Tri-Ripped training programme. The volume remains lower than I used too but the intensity is really high, my legs are now starting to feel the benefits as I progress through the weeks. The Tri-Ripped programme really does take all of the guesswork out of it and is very customisable regardless of how many weeks or months you have before your A Race. You can find out more about Tri-Ripped Training Programme. I will continue to provide these updates as they really help me to focus in on my training, nutrition and recovery. If some of the info in here is a waste of time or there is something that you really want to see let me know and I’ll incorporate the changes.

Hope you training is continuing to progress


I am doing the IMUK2014 for Scope. You can sponsor me at



Paleo or Low Carb diet for Enurance Athlete or Ironman UK Training in my case

January 22, 2014 | Posted in Nutrition | By

I am doing to IMUK 2014 in July to support the charity Scope. You can raise money for the charity at

I have entered my 3rd week of the Tri-Ripped programme feeling comfortable that I have been following the training and the diet required to achieve my goal at the Ironman UK 2014. However, constantly looking to tweak, change and ultimately improve I have been looking at my diet in a bit more detail. The fad at the moment is Paleo or Low Carb Diet?

Which diet is best for Ironman / Endurance Training?

There are literally hundreds of diets out there in the public domain and market. My usual google search for ‘diet’ returns Weight Watchers, 4:3 Fast Diet, 5:2 Fast Diet, Atkins Diet, Diet Chef and Dukan Diet in that order on the first page.

Time to get more specific and look at ironman / endurance training diets. My searches resulted in an interesting array of results with various views on the diet, fuelling and recovery. My very very high level summary of my understanding of the current consensus is that ‘old school’ theory was that an endurance athletes’ staple diet included pasta, bread, rice, bagels and anything else white and sugary to ensure that carbohydrate levels are constantly topped up to support the volume of training that is being undertaken. The ‘new school’ is that your carbs come from ‘clean’ sources such as vegetables and you need to ensure your body does not have an excess supply of carbs. This allows the body to be trained into using your virtually unlimited source of fat as a source of energy. You do need to use carbs to fuel sessions longer than 90 minutes and ensure your daily protein intake is in adequate amount and sufficiently timed for recovery.

The above narrows down the options for the ‘diets’ to the Low-Carb or Paleo type diets. This aligns with the current eating plan I am following in the Tri-Ripped Training Programme. Undertaking a bit of investigation work I came across a number of interesting Ironman and Endurance Athletes that follow such plans. I will outline these below and finish with a summary of the plan that I will be following going forward.


Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

What is Paleo?

I think that Low-Carb is self-explanatory but I wanted to put an explanation of what The Paleo Diet is which I taken from the website

The Paleo Diet is based upon everyday, modern foods that mimic the food groups of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. The following seven fundamental characteristics of hunter-gatherer diets will help to optimize your health, minimize your risk of chronic disease, and lose weight.

  • Higher protein intake – Protein comprises 15 % of the calories in the average western diet, which is considerably lower than the average values of 19-35 % found in hunter-gatherer diets. Meat, seafood, and other animal products represent the staple foods of modern day Paleo diets.
  • Lower carbohydrate intake and lower glycemic index – Non-starchy fresh fruits and vegetables represent the main carbohydrate source and will provide for 35-45 % of your daily calories. Almost all of these foods have low glycemic indices that are slowly digested and absorbed, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.
  • Higher fiber intake – Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and despite what we’re told, whole grains aren’t the place to find it. Non-starchy vegetables contain eight times more fiber than whole grains and 31 times more than refined grains. Even fruits contain twice as much fiber as whole grains and seven times more than refined grains.
  • Moderate to higher fat intake dominated by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats – It is not the total amount of fat in your diet that raises your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, but rather the type of fat. Cut the trans fats and the Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats in your diet and increase the healthful monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats that were the mainstays of Stone Age diets. Recent large population studies known as meta analyses show that saturated fats have little or no adverse effects upon cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium intake – Unprocessed, fresh foods naturally contain 5 to 10 times more potassium than sodium, and Stone Age bodies were adapted to this ratio. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly. Low potassium is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke – the same problems linked to excessive dietary sodium. Today, the average American consumes about twice as much sodium as potassium.
  • Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid – After digestion, all foods present either a net acid or alkaline load to the kidneys. Acid producers are meats, fish, grains, legumes, cheese, and salt. Alkaline-yielding foods are fruits and veggies. A lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure, and increased risk for kidney stones, and may aggravate asthma and exercise-induced asthma.
  • Higher intake of, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phytochemicals – Whole grains are not a good substitute for grass produced or free ranging meats, fruits, and veggies, as they contain no vitamin C, vitamin A, or vitamin B12. Many of the minerals and some of the B vitamins whole grains do contain are not well absorbed by the body.


And Here’s What I Eat During Ironman!

I came across an article from an Ironman athlete call Nell Stephenson at her blog site titled And Here’s What I Eat During Ironman! Nell is an avid Paleo follower and the diet that she describes on race day can be followed any typical training day when preparing for an Ironman. The tweak that would need to be changed depending upon your training for the day would be the gel bars during exercise. Below is a summary of the article:

-Breakfast is Nell’s ‘signature’ smoothie: banana, egg protein powder, 8 oz water and raw almond butter with leftover roasted yam or sweet potato with a black coffee and, of course, plenty of water.

– First PowerBar gel 10 minutes before the race start adhering stringently to the 4kcal/kg body weight/ hr of endurance training & racing for bouts lasting longer than 90 minutes. For Nell, at 116 pounds, (52 kg) this equals 208 kcals or 2 gels per hour. That’s all she eats for the entire race, whether it’s a marathon, a 1/2 Ironman or full Ironman. Nell also uses while racing MetaSalt tabs, one every 30 minutes. (I use and recommend salt stick caps (ensure you keep them dry) or cramp block).

I must jump in and add two points here. One is that there appears to be no Paleo option to fuel sessions longer than 90 minutes with gels constituting the preferred option. Secondly, Nell can go for a whole Ironman on nothing but gels. In previous years I have opted for energy bars on the bike to feel full. I have tried nothing but gels but will be experimenting. I am currently 97kg so using the above method means I need 388 kcals or 3-4 gels per hour (assuming about 27g of carbs per PowerBar gel).

Race Day Fuel

IMUK Race Day Fuel. Make sure you practice your fuelling.

-Recovery is covered by HOMEBREW which is stated as being a must do for recovery for The Paleo Diet for Athletes is a must do for recovery. It’s a formula based on body weight of a high glycemic fruit, like banana, glucose egg protein powder and a pinch of salt.

-Then, it’s a gradual shift back to Paleo eating, keeping in mind that recovery time = length of workout time.


Another article in on the website titled Paleo’s Latest Converts. This again is based upon the paleo diet and its use by endurance athletes. Again I will summarise below:

Endurance athletes find success with paleo diets.

The article is based around a professional cyclist Dave Zabriskie, ultramarathon runner Timothy Olson, and triathlete Simon Whitfield, who are additions to an increasing list of elite endurance athletes that have pushed away the time-honored plate of pasta in favour of a “paleo” approach to nutrition. Zabriskie has dialed down the carbohydrates and replaced them with copious amounts of healthy fat. And as multitudes of paleo converts claim (and anecdotal evidence suggests), this may be the key to optimizing performance and extending careers into the late thirties and beyond.

The 34-year-old American cyclist started working out at conditioning coach Jacques DeVore’s Santa Barbara gym in October who tempted Zabriskie to experiment with the Paleo diet. (Zabriskie is no stranger to experimentation, Zabriskie competed in the 2011 Tour de France on a mostly vegan diet.) Once he overcame his initial lipid phobia (cyclists live in horror of gaining even trivial amounts of weight), Zabriskie upped the fat in his diet to upward of 60 percent of his caloric intake.

A typical daily food diary entry listed 3,800 total calories. His meals for the day included coconut oil, avocados, eggs, almonds, cashews, chicken breasts, beef jerky, string beans, onions, and protein powder. The nutritional breakdown was 323 grams of protein, 239 grams of fat, and 147 grams of carbohydrate.

I very important point made in the article is that Zabriskie coupled his new dietary approach with high-weight, low-repetition resistance training in the gym, as well as hill repeats, jumping squats, and other forms of high-intensity interval training. The idea behind eating and training this way is to gain strength without gaining weight, train the body to run on fat as a primary fuel source, and naturally maintain high levels of testosterone.

Over the off-season the 6-foot cyclist dropped his body weight from 168 lbs to 154 lbs while improving his dead lift from 150 lbs to 245 lbs. This while increasing his power on the bike by about 15 percent! (This gives me great confidence as the Tri-Ripped Training Programme so far has me adopting this type of approach to my training.)

The article then moves on to Mark Sisson, former Ironman triathlete and author of the bestselling ‘The Primal Blueprint,’ and hence badged as a Paleo guru. Sisson used to think that it wasn’t possible to be a world-class endurance athlete on a paleo diet – that you just couldn’t overcome the need for copious amounts of glucose in the form of carbohydrates without crashing and burning. But now he has changed his mind. He says that one of the problems with the few studies conducted on low-carb performance to date is that they were done on athletes who had not yet fully adapted to burning fat as a primary source of fuel, a process that can take weeks, if not months.

Dr. Stephen Phinney, a professor emeritus at UC Davis, who has spent three decades studying low-carb performance states that the mainstream consensus has been that you need carbs to do anything other than very moderate intensity exercise. But after a period of adaptation, the body will switch over from carbohydrate to fat as its main fuel for exercise with equal or better performance. That makes an athlete essentially “bonk-proof.”

Phinney cites the example of Timothy Olson, who won the 2012 Western States 100, a 100-mile footrace through the High Sierras, in record time on a low-carb, high-fat diet: “He’s so but even if he’s seven or eight percent body fat and only weighs 140 pounds, he still has 25,000 to 30,000 fat calories. If you’re about to undertake an event that’s going to cost you 14,000 calories, which tank would you like to be hooked into?”

Another benefit of the paleo diet is that it may help extend athletic careers by counteracting the deleterious effects of aging, Phinney says. Typically, below 50 grams of daily carbohydrate intake, the body responds by producing a fuel source from fat called ketone bodies, which also have anti-inflammatory properties that combat oxidative stress.

Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield says thinking about his old dietary habits ”I was like, ‘If low fat is good, then no fat must be better.’ I thought carb loading was the way to go.”

Now his diet includes such paleo staples as coconut oil, bacon, and ghee butter, with a focus on quality fats and proteins and “adequate” carbohydrate supply. He credits the switch with much of his professional success, which consists of 10 consecutive Canadian Triathlon Championship titles, gold in the triathlon at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and silver in 2008. It’s also played a role in his athletic longevity.

Final word on Paleo

Continuing on the theme of the Paleo diet I found another couple of interesting sites that you might want to check out but I will not be going into more detail here they are an interview from 2011 with amateur Ironman Triathlete Tristan Jenkins at the and a blogpost also from 2011 from ironmom title Countdown to Ironman: The Paleo Ironman.

Again these follow on from the above stating low carb, natural food as their basis with no alternative other than gels for longer sessions. To note these two article both state that they are keeping their volume down when training whilst increasing intensity. One thing I will show below is Tristan’s favourite food:

What is your favourite thing to eat…

… before a race?

A Paleo Breakfast of Champions: Bacon and Eggs, with Lots of Avocado.’ I’ve never tried avocado in this way before. I don’t know if I am grossed out by it or not but will certainly be trying it.

… during?

I have yet to figure out a healthy Paleo option for race nutrition. As a result I use an energy gel called CarbBoom and I put a Maltodextrin powder in my water called CarboPro for added calories.

… after?
A green smoothie. Often consisting of avocado, celery, cilantro, banana, fish oil, almond butter, an egg, and any other healthy food I find in the fridge

… anytime?
My favourite things to eat are yams, cubed, and baked in the oven covered in salt and pepper, coconut oil and cinnamon. AMAZING! I struggle to find Yams in supermarkets in the UK (I can’t even find them on amazon!) but you always substitute with Sweet Potatoes (which include anti-inflamatory properties which Yams don’t).

An alternative view

Whilst doing the research for this post I received an email from the infamous and well respected Ben Greenfield which looked like this:

I’m not Paleo.

I personally think it’s a little silly to exclude
certain plants, grasses, dairy and grains…

…when in fact, many of these kinds of
foods you can actually digest if you make
sure you ferment, soak, sprout, etc.

But if you don’t have the TIME to do these steps,
then eating Paleo is an excellent choice.
Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes

The aim of the email was to promote a book which I am familiar with which is the Low Carbohydrate Diet for Triathletes ($17.00  or £13.13 in eBook version). There are a large amount of links in the book that could be clicked in the eBook version but obviously not the printed edition so hence I recommend if you buy the book go for the eBook version. There is a lot of good information in the book mostly with different recipes and meal plans. One thing that is really useful are his recommendations for race day nutrition. This book is great if you are looking for a bunch of recipes. It has lots of great recipes and sample meal plans. The book is quite brief (around 30 minutes reading in totality but it does have a number of great links to the website and other internet links.

Slow Carb Diet

Now I cannot talk about a low carb diet without bringing up The Four Hour Body (£14.99 reduced to £10.39 at time of print) by a guy called Tim Ferriss.This book is not about Low-Carb but a Slow-Carb Diet.

The book is not a back to front read, instead the reader is encouraged to ‘pick a chapter and have a go’ depending upon their goals and what they want to get out of the book. Some chapter options include:

  • Losing fat
  • Gaining muscle
  • Improving sex
  • Improving quality of sleep
  • getting a six pack
  • Controlling body using temperature

Ultimately the diet is broken down into five rules:

1. Avoid “white” carbohydrates (e.g. sugar, white rice, white bread, potatoes). It is advised to emphasize high protein foods, legumes, and vegetables.
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again.
3. Don’t drink calories.
4. Don’t eat fruit.
5. Take one day off per week and go nuts. (I love this!!!)

My Ironman Training Diet Plan

In summary, all current research and evidence, either through testimonials or my own experiences of trying to implement the change of the last couple of weeks, are leading me down the path of the Paleo or Low Carb diet.

I will not be going Paleo as I do not like the whole approach of dictating what you can or cannot eat based upon what was available to our ancestors. It just doesn’t feel right! I will however, be making a conscience effort to reduce my carbohydrate intake in-between training trying to implement as much of the advice as I can from the Low-Carb /  Slow-Carb and the Tri-Ripped Diet Plans as I can. This will mean that my typical day (minus training) will look something like this:

Breakfast: 4-5 egg omelette on wholemeal toast

Lunch: meat (chicken, beef, ham etc) with salad / vegatables and some sort of legumes (lentils, black eyed peas etc).

Dinner: Meat and two veg, optionally brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato etc.

Snacks: protein shakes / protein bars, smoothies (reduce/remove intake of fruit)

One thing that I will additionally be concentrating on is my water intake and ensuring that I initially get 2 litres per day in outside of the amount I drink during training. Pre, during and post training I will ensure that my pre meal will align with the intensity of the upcoming session (i.e. slightly higher on the carbs if high intensity to ensure quality of the session). During the session I will drink nothing but water unless working-out above 90 mins in which I will experiment with gel intake using 4kcal/kg bodyweight/hour. After the session I will have a protein shake with a 3:1 protein to carbs ration to ensure I am on the path to recovery as soon as possible. I will continue in recovery mode for as long as the session itself lasted before reverting back to my ‘slower-carb’ diet.

I will experiment with the 24 hour day-off from the diet to keep myself sane and allow for a couple of beers on the weekend. However, if I am not continuing to lose weight after a couple of weeks I will abandon this approach until I get to me goal weight.

I am happy with this intention and feel that this is not a ‘diet’ but a mechanism to ensure that I am aware enough to make smart food choices during the day but have the incentive of the ‘day-off’ to talk myself into holding off on eating a pie until the weekend.

Sorry if I have waffled on a bit on this one but there was a lot cover. Hope it has been on some help. It has definitely helped me to educate myself on the subject and give me confidence that I am going the right way about it by reducing carb intake whilst increasing intensity of training.

All the best


I am doing to IMUK 2014 in July to support the charity Scope. You can raise money for the charity at

You can also raise money by using this link to when making any purchases from amazon . A small percentage of each sales will go to the charity if you do.


Tri-Ripped Ironman UK Training Programme Week 2


January 20, 2014 | Posted in Nutrition, Training Plans, Uncategorized | By

Below is a summary of Week 2 of my Ironman UK Training following the Ben Greenfield Tr-Ripped Training Programme:

Weight: 15st 4lb / 214lb / 97kg
Hours Sleep: 6:42
Planned Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped – Warrior Body”
Actual Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped – Warrior Body”
4 sets of 10 reps of Pushups, Body Weight Squats, Narrow Grip Pushups, Standing Cable Rows, Reverse Lunges, ‘Little Bigs’, 50 Jumping Jacks
Can be found here
Lost 2lbs week on week which I am happy with as my legs have been put to the test so I would have also made some good muscle gains too. As mentioned last week, I am aiming to get over 8 hours of sleep each night by trying to force myself to go to bed earlier. I failed on Sunday night as the double header of the final episodes of Season 3 of Game of Throne were on TV (I know I’m 6 months behind). I’m starting to enjoy the gym sessions now and the cardio at the end of each circuit really gets the heart pumping. With the regular change of machines during the circuit sometimes the order of them need to be changed to accomodate other gym users who are on the machines, this isn’t too much of problem. Nutrition was good with a split of 29/33/38 of carbs, fat and protein. Overall good start to the week.

Hours Sleep: 7:26
Planned Training: Swim, Bike
Actual Training:
Indoor Row – 20* 30 secs effort, 30 secs rest
Run – A-B-C’s in the middle of a 10k run home from work).
Can be found here
Still down on my sleep from my 8 hours target. This was due to having to get up earlier than normal for work but should have been offset by going to bed earlier. My morning indoor rowing sessions was yet again tough but I rowed an average of 4 meters per 30 secs further on each effort which is good progress. I ran home from work at night but forgot my Garmin so had to run on feel rather than HR and pace. I averaged 10 mins/mile which is about average for a Z2/3 run for me. I really felt the benefit of looser legs following the A-B-C’s (described in Wednesday’s planned training below). Following my bonk last Thursday my nutrition was higher on the carbs today due to the split sessions with Rego following each with a 41/24/35 spilt of carb, fat and protein for the day.

Hours Sleep: 7:32
Planned Training: Run – A-B-C’s
Warm-up for 10 minutes, 2-5 rounds of the following; 20 yards ‘A’s’ Marching, 20 yards ‘B’s’ Skipping, 20 yards ‘C’s’ butt-kicks, 100 yards running at 85% with relaxed cadence.
Actual Training: Bike – Wattbike
10 min warm up to Z2, then 20 mins alternating between 60 secs easy at 60-70 rpm cadance and 60 secs low resistance 100-110 rpm high cadence (HR Z3). 2 times 4 mins ‘climbs’ with 50-60 cadance remaining in Z3. (planned on doing 5 but was cramping up).
Can be found here
Again slightly down on my sleep. I’m not sure if this is mental or not but I really felt tired as a result. I found the Wattbike session very very tough having to stop the session short due to constant cramping of my calves on the simulated ‘climbs’. Nutrition was pretty sound today with a split 34/32/34 carbs, fat and protein split. I really need to concentrate on the amount of water intake I have during the day.

Hours Sleep: 7:57
Planned Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped Fighting Cables”
Actual Training: Gym “Tri-Ripped Fighting Cables”
4 circuits x 12 Reps of Cable Straight Arm Pulldowns, Cable Chest Press, Cable Torso Twists per side, Cable Waterski Row, 500m max effort Row with 1:47 average 500m times.
Can be found here
Decent night sleep getting almost 8 hours in. Again, I enjoyed the gym session and find them quite challenging. It is nice in the gym when you have a number of ‘gym goers’ who are happily sitting on the stationary bike or eliptical machines while your pumping in sweat running all over the gym. My nutrition OK again today with the ratio of 41/34/25 carb, fats and protein. I think I need to drop the carbs a little when not performing endurance training.

Hours Sleep: 8:00
Planned Training: Day Off
Actual Training: Day Off
Can be found here
8 hours of sleep exactly which I can really feel the benefit of. I completed my rest day whilst watching what I ate in the day. Carbs intake was increase as I had a couple of beers with friends at night (I only had 3 bottles rather than the usual 8). A 37/31/32 split of carbs, fats and protein was seen for the day.

Hours Sleep: 6:10
Planned Training: Swim, Bike
Actual Training:
Run – Hill Sprints, Local Hill: 2x bottom to top (500m), 4 x halfway and 6 x 80m sprint
Swim – W/up, 10x50m @T-Pace, w/down
Can be found here
Late to bed and an early rise for the mornings hill session. The hills were really tough again but I really enjoyed them. I improved my times from last week on each of the distances and hope to continue to see the upward trend. My swim session later on the day concentrated on technique concentrating predominatley on my streamlining, catch and pull. Nutrition was pretty evenly spread again 37/37/25 carb, fats, protein. I am aiming to bring down carbs. I did eat out on saturday night and chose a lower carb option even though I had a few too many beers to follow!

I am conscience that I am not updating with calories, if this is something you want to see just let me know.

Hours Sleep: 8:19
Planned Training: Bike, Tri-Ripped Machine Muscle
Actual Training:
Gym: “Tri-Ripped” Machine Muscle – 4 circuits of 12 reps of Machine Chest Press, Machine Seated Row, Machine Shoulder Press, Assisted Pull-Up Narrow Grip, Machine Leg Press, Machine Leg Extension, Machine Leg Curls, Hanging Bent Leg Raises, 60 seconds max effort Bicycle
Bike – 30 minutes in Z3 right after Machine Muscle gym session.
Can be found here
Last day of the training week. I get a good nights sleep in (with a nice lie in). I finish off the week with a gym session followed by 30 mins on the stationary bike in Z3. Again I feel great after the end of the another good week in which volume remains lower but intestity is high. On the nutrition front I maintained 38/36/25 split of carbs, fat and protein.

Another good weeks training following the Tri-Ripped training programme. The volume remains lower than I used too but the intensity is really high, my legs have not been a tender as this for years. Some days I am struggling to get up and down the stairs but at the same time I can feel the gains that I am making. The Tri-Ripped programme really does take all of the guesswork out of it and is very customisable regardless of how many weeks or months you have before your A Race. You can find out more about Tri-Ripped Training Programme. I will continue to provide these updates as they really help me to focus in on my training, nutrition and recovery. If some of the info in here is a waste of time or there is something that you really want to see let me know and I’ll incorporate the changes.

Hope you training is continuing to progress


I am doing the IMUK2014 for Scope. You can sponsor me at


Ironman Training: Is it OK to skip training sessions?


January 10, 2014 | Posted in General, Injury Prevention, Nutrition, Training Plans | By

Well I started training on Monday, overslept on Tuesday so tried to move my morning planned morning run session to the evening then had to work late and skipped the session altogether. The second session of my masterplan to knock at least an hour off my IMUK time and I skipped it! This made me ask the question “Is it OK to skip training sessions?”.

This has had me playing catch-up for the rest of the week having to skip my Friday day off to fit in a Swim Threshold Test. This has got me to thinking how common of a scenario is this and what is the best thing to do in this situation? Double up? Continue on ignoring the past?

This led me to doing some investigation on Google in which I found a couple of articles with, not quite conflicting, but slightly differing views on how to react in this situation, especially around higher intensity sessions. There is a lot of great info here for you to make an informed choice in this situation.

Ironman Training Plan

Ironman Training Plan

First article that I came across is an article by Chris Carmichael titled Missing in Action  in which he described how there is no one size fits all it answer to this issue it depends on your situation. I have summarised the key points from the article below:

Missed Endurance Workout – with endurance rarely being the limiting factor that prevents athletes from achieving their goals, missing the occasional endurance workout has only a minor impact on your progress. Let it be and move on with your training schedule

Missed Interval Workout – if you’re in a phase of training where you are working on intervals at aerobic or lactate threshold intensities, shifting the interval workout forward will usually result in a two-day block (Tuesday/Thursday becomes Wednesday/Thursday). Since you’re getting more rest by not training on Tuesday, the two-day block can be quite beneficial. Just monitor your fatigue levels afterward in case you need a little more rest following the block. Don’t try and squeeze in consecutive VO2max sessions as this will have a lingering negative effect on your next week of training.

Missed key interval session in training block – As training gets more focused, you start using more two- and three-day blocks to increase overall training stimulus. If you need to miss a session remember that in the long run, recovery trumps intensity and each block is dependent on the previous one and impacts the next one.

Recovery Times – you can’t achieve two days’ worth in just one day. It’s better to preserve your scheduled recovery periods than it is to sacrifice recovery for additional intensity.

The article gives a real-life example: An athlete had a schedule of hard interval workouts on Wednesday and Thursday (two-day block), easy recovery sessions on Friday/Saturday, and another block on Sunday/Monday. On Friday he learned he had a meeting on Monday that nixed his workout plans, so he moved the interval session to Saturday, making the two-day block Saturday/Sunday.

It didn’t work. By prioritising intensity over recovery and eliminating one of the two recovery days between his training blocks, he was too fatigued to complete a high-quality workout on Sunday (now the fourth day of intervals in five days). He would have been better off keeping Saturday a relatively easy day and moderately in- creasing the workload in Sunday’s workout.

When you’ve missed 3+ consecutive days – If you are more than two months out from your event repeat the week and adjust your plan accordingly.

If you are less than two months out from your event you need to have the confidence in the training that you have done to write off a less than perfect week and continue with you peak and taper programme.

Ankle Injury

Don’t over do it in your ironman training. Have a recovery strategy in place

Secondly, I stumbled across an article from the site Coach Gordo titled Golden Rules For Your First Ironman which, although aimed at first timers, is a good reminder to all abilities alike of what you need to consider when training for an Ironman Triathlon. I have summarised the main points below:

Rule One: You don’t have to kill yourself in training.

You’ve signed yourself up for an Ironman. You know it’s a grueling race, so you better toughen yourself up by signing up for two marathons, half a dozen Century rides and a three-mile rough water swim. Not recommended!

Endurance training is exactly like turning a Styrofoam cup inside out. So long as you take it slowly you’ll be able to do it. Try to rush things and – rip – you’ll tear the cup. You are the cup. [Interesting analysis but I think it gets the point across pretty well]

Rule Two: Build technique and endurance in your first year.

Laying out a sketch of the year is essential. The core of your week is your long slow distance session in each sport. Plan to build your swim up to 4K, your ride up to five hours and your run up to two and a half hours. Build up very slowly (no more than 5-10% in terms of duration in any week )three weeks forward, one week back, repeat.

A classic “Ironman Weekend” is a six-hour ride on Saturday followed by a three hour run on Sunday. These sessions are typically billed as “confidence builders”. However, these sessions are counterproductive leaving you destroyed until at least Wednesday. Spread your key sessions for best results.

Rule Three: Focus on your key sessions and make your key sessions focused.

With your key sessions laid out, the rest of the week is easy to plan. Add your other workouts so you get three sessions of each sport. You have one goal each week-hit your key sessions fresh and injury free. Everything else is filler. If you are whipped, take a rest day. The most important predictor of success is the quality of your key sessions rather than the overall volume of your sessions. So, if you are recovering well from your long sessions, don’t sweat the volume.

A word on your key sessions: If you are following these guidelines, make sure your long workouts are quality. Avoid long breaks and make sure that they are true endurance sessions that build your base. Know your HR training zones for endurance and stick with them. Long slow distance always starts at an easy pace, but after three hours on the bike, you are working no matter what the pace.

Rule Four: Sleep is more valuable than training.

Better to have a lie-in miss a short workout on Thursday, than a whole weekend with an unexpected illness. (Of course, going to bed an extra hour early every night is a better option than missing training). Weekend naps are also great for the working athlete. Keep them under an hour for best results.

Rule Five: Forget about speedwork.

Be honest with yourself. Are you expecting to run sub-four hours? Are you expecting to run the whole marathon? If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, then running speedwork is a complete waste of time. Some people disagree on this point but it is firmly believed. A track session can leave you worn-out for 12-36 hours. If you are going to beast yourself, then do it in a manner that most benefits your race (i.e. a four to five hour ride).

I am actually training in contrary to this when following the Tri-Ripped Training Programme in which some elements of speed work is done and a shedload of hills are incorporated. I suppose these are not speed sessions as such but are definitely high intensity. This personally for me in the preparation for my third Ironman season is imperative as speed / leg strength is something that I am seriously lacking in.

Rule Six: Recovery is your friend.

Make sure that you drop the volume WAY down every four weeks.  Your recovery strategy is the most important part of your plan. Recovery is when you will make all your fitness gains.

You should end every recovery week feeling fresh and dying to get back on it. If you don’t feel like this after a week, then your total volume is likely too high. Note that it is called a recovery week rather than a rest week. Stay active in your recovery. Maintain frequency, but drop the volume and intensity way down.

Rule Seven: Check your ego at the door.

Any time you are in a group situation, there will always be someone who wants to go faster than you, in these situations, swallow your pride and get dropped. It is tough, but eventually you get used to it, kind of.

Know your session goals before you start and do everything you can to stick to your goals. Group rides are the most dangerous; the pace slowly creeps up and before you know it… hammer time! For that reason, either ride alone or with friends that accept your pace in advance.

Rule Eight: Keep your eyes on the prize.

Remember your goals when you decided to start this journey and keep the training fun. There is no point in putting all this time into the sport unless you are having a good time. When it all becomes a bit much (and it will eventually), back off and re-assess. The right answers will come to you.

Race Day Fuel

IMUK Race Day Fuel. Make sure you practice your fuelling.

The last article I am going to discuss in this post is entitled How To Sabotage Your Ironman By Coach Wendy on website runs through ways in which you can set yourself up for a world of pain on race day (assuming you make it to the start line). The article is pretty in-depth so check it out but I have a gain summarised this main points in the article.

Sabotage No 1: Finish Line Fever Decision Making – Jump in Boots and All

Based on the fact that people have been to, or seen on TV the excitement at the finish line of an Ironman event and decide to start training the day after and blindly sign up for the following years Ironman. I was even worse than this, I signed up because I thought a mate was also signing up, he wasn’t!!!

Objectively sitting back & planning whether the Ironman is a race for you. Ask yourself if you know what is really required? Are you healthy enough to begin to train to do an Ironman? How much of your time will this event take to train for? What is the best gear to buy? How do I know what I need to do for training? How do I train? Should I take one or two years to do this event?

Sabotage No 2: Show Some Respect

Many people have this view that it’s only a triathlon! It’s just a swim a ride and a run. Remember you start off with a 2.4 mile (3.8km) open water swim, then warm those legs up with a 112 miles (180km) cycle and then you need to run a marathon all 26.2 miles (42k) of it.

Remember this is an Ironman, and you’ve got be prepared to answer some big questions as it WILL hurt. If it was easy every man and his dog would be doing them every weekend. Respect this event, and be prepared to fight it. Be prepared to dig deep, really deep and then reap the rewards that last a lifetime.

Sabotage No 3: Tell EVERYONE your goal

Listen to all, but talk to one. Talk it through with your family first and then talk it through with someone who knows the demands required for the event. Find someone who can provide you with objective advice as to the best way to approach the event. An experienced Ironman coach or training program is the best place to start. Read how I plan on conquering IMUK 2014 in My Route to IMUK 2014 and My Ironman UK FAQ.

Sabotage No 4: No Plan! Just Training!

Consider that the Ironman is a swim, bike and run combination and it is this combination that creates an entirely new event. Add to this the distance of the Ironman and the consequences of this combination demand a different approach. A skilled coach will combine these requirements into a progressive personalized training program that is tailored to both your skills and those demanded by the Ironman. Join your local Tri-Club where there is a wealth of information. I use my Tri-Club for swimming sessions and group rides (when the weather is warmer) and have followed a training program each year (year  1 (2012) , year 2 (2013) and this year 3 (2014).

Sabotage No 5: Over Train, just do a bit more!

Many pass on the fresh fruit and veggies, eat minimal meat and go to bed really late, but still get up early for your 5am swims. Just get used to being tired and grumpy. If they get injured they just keep training, what doesn’t kill them will make them strong and after all the Ironman is about being tough!

Remember recovery, getting enough sleep, eating well and keeping a good eye on how your body is dealing with the progressive training load. Over training is poor training.

Sabotage No 6: Training Intensity: 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year

You have one year and the clock is ticking so make the most of everyday by training everyday, rest days are for softies. Remember to train really hard every session, if you miss a session then double it up on the next session.

Periodization is important. The progressive planning of training that enables your body to adapt to a training load. One day a week off training will probably be the least you need to keep your life a little more balanced and also consider having a week off at least every three months. Use your rest day to do some core conditioning work or go and get a massage. Should you miss a session, forget it and plan for a more effective use of your time so as to enable you to minimize those missed sessions. As for the bricks, like everything there is a time and a place, ask someone at your local tri-club for advice if not following a training plan.

Sabotage No 7: Pacing and Racing

Pace and train smart so you develop a solid aerobic base to which you then add some strength – that will provide a great foundation for your Ironman. Combining endurance and strength is one of the key components to the Ironman. Discovering an effective race pace takes time and practice so be patient. When deciding which races to do, go to your goal and ask yourself which races are going to provide you with the necessary skills needed to do the Ironman. Don’t jeopardize your Ironman for the sake of another race. The Ironman is to be your number one race so therefore turn up at the start line ready to race not having already raced and tired.

Sabotage No 8: Making Time the Main Measure of a Successful Ironman

In making time the measure of your Ironman success, three things normally occur. Firstly, the time you set is often quicker than is realistic so you end up going slower and getting frustrated. Secondly, you put huge pressure on yourself. Thirdly, the Ironman has so many more measurable criteria for success, so why limit it to time.

Sabotage No 9: Give the swimming the biff

The Swim may only be 10% but it takes up 90% of your emotion the morning of the ironman so give it the respect it deserves. A swim squad with a good coach will enable you to swim efficiently and bilaterally breathing is very important not only for your stroke, and your body posture but it will enable you to breath regardless of the wind condition on race day. Open water swimming will get you familiar with sighting and drafting others. Resist buying a wetsuit while you have your winter coat on! As you get closer to the ironman you will lean down and this is the fit that you want the suit to recognize as your suit needs to fit you like a glove not like a rain coat! Position yourself in the pace so as to allow yourself to get a smart swim, not one where you are likely to get a serious smacking!

Sabotage No 10: Bike Fits, Big Bike & ride off the back!

Your height will determine what size wheels you should be riding. Given that the bike is a time trial you really should be riding a triathlon specific designed bike. Try to convert a standard cycling bike into a tri bike and be very wary of the change in the bike handing and stability. Spin the bike course and enjoy the marathon with fresh legs. Helmets and shoes wear out so get these checked before assuming they are okay. Ironman bike fitting is a science, so make sure the person fitting you to your bike is experienced with the Ironman distance and has proven results with their techniques of bike fitting.

Sabotage No 11: Run Hard, Big Miles & Fast

Many run a couple of marathons before the Ironman, just to make sure they can do it. But consider doing long slow miles on off road terrain, keeping your pace slow enough to build up a huge aerobic capacity is the key to Ironman base training. Training pace and race pace are two separate levels of intensity and as such, have a time and a place in all effective programs.

Sabotage No 12: Eat What You Like

Nutrition is one of the four golden aspects of Ironman – other than Pacing, Heart Rate and Cadence, getting your Nutrition right will help to ensure a good race. Ensuring a good balance between the carbs and protein, along with sufficient electrolyte intake, is the constant nutrition juggle that will have a major impact on both your ability to train and more importantly your ability to recover and train again and again. “Practice, practice, practice” is the nutrition catch phrase.

Sabotage No 13: Race Day Aid Stations

Learn what fuel is going to be available on the race day aid stations and plan your use of this accordingly. Practice riding through aid stations, grabbing food and bottles whilst keeping your head up and holding a straight line. Stick to your race nutrition plan regardless!

Sabotage No 14: Race Everyone

Ironman is about you getting through 2.4m (3.8km) of swimming, riding 112m (180km) and running a marathon. It is about you and no one else. The ability to hold that mental focus for the entire day is a huge skill and often one of the most neglected. Focus on the smartest way to swim the next 10 strokes, the most efficient piece of road to ride on for the next 200 meters and the best posture for the next 20 steps on the run. You won’t have time to focus on anyone else and if you find your mind wandering – bring it back and zone it on YOU. It’s you out there, so let other competitors do what they like, your race isn’t over until you cross that finish line and the sooner you can get there the better.

There is some good advice here hopefully it will help you like it has helped me. Please comment and let me know how you find the article.

All the best


I am doing IMUK 2014 for Scope you can sponsor me here at uk.virginmoneygiving./ironcrab



January 3, 2014 | Posted in General, Nutrition | By

I am constantly hungry. I wake up, I’m hungry, have a large breakfast and drive to work and when I get there, I’m hungry, I have to force myself to wait until 12pm for my lunch every day because I’m hungry; you get the picture.

Is being hungry all the time like this bad and mean that there is something wrong with me? Is it OK to be hungry?

Time for my usual google search to see what I can find on the subject and try to pull all the information, plus my thoughts on the subject, together in one place. I found a couple of interested articles on the topic but one in particular titled how to track calories in which at the bottom on the article the question was raised around hunger. I have summarised below:

Why do you get hungry in the first place?

When you eat, the fat cells in your body release a hormone called leptin. Increased levels of leptin reduce your desire and motivation to continue eating or eat more. Once you’ve finished eating your leptin levels are high which suppresses hunger. Within a few hours after you’ve finished eating, your leptin levels drop, and this drop in leptin causes a release of a different hormone, ghrelin, which is released by your stomach and pancreas and makes you feel hungry.

One reason why many people have a harder time controlling their appetite or stopping after they’ve eaten enough: they’re leptin resistant.

In addition to spending much of your life eating too much, other lifestyle choices that can cause a leptin-ghrelin imbalance include lack of sleep, stress, and – even if you’re not over-eating – eating “hyper-palatable foods”, such as processed or packaged foods that were designed to be addictive (Dorito’s, anyone?).

So is hunger a bad thing?

First, it’s important to understand that in a normal situation, the leptin/ghrelin interaction and the hunger it produces is completely necessary for our survival. However, if you have ample energy stores from food or own fat stores, then there’s probably something wrong if you’re constantly hungry, and here’s what is recommended you do:

1) Re-sensitize yourself to leptin. Try 4-8 weeks of completely changing your lifestyle and eating patterns that may be contributing to leptin resistance. Here are the top ways to do that:

-Avoid fructose sugars – they tend to be a real trigger for leptin resistance… These can be found in most tree fruits, vegetables, sauces, beverages and processed foods. For a full list check out this site.

-Exercise in moderation, avoiding chronic cardio and stressful marathon-esque workouts, and instead using short HIIT sessions with full recovery….

-Control stress and cortisol – more info here

-Try cold thermogenesis – cold exposure may help with leptin sensitivity, these can now be found at a lot of gyms usually called ‘plunge pools’.

2) Avoid hunger triggers. Certain eating patterns and foods have been proven to be correlated with higher amounts of hunger. Here are some tips for controlling those triggers:

-Keep sweets and snacks out of the house or hidden in opaque containers…

-When you’re eating, put any extra food away (i.e. into the fridge) before you begin your meal…

-Avoid higher carbohydrate or high glycemic index foods which cause a hunger response very soon after a meal…

-Limit your options by having small amounts of food around your house – no big bulk Costco food purchases or easy to grab cans and bags.

3) Know What You Ate. Use online or mobile calorie counting tools to create some amount of awareness, even if just for a short period of time. Two additional strategies you can use to know what you ate are:

-Not snacking too frequently. It’s almost impossible to keep track of food and calories if you’re snacking 5-10 times a day (as many nutritionists sadly suggest). Instead, just eat 2-3 square meals, and then, if you have a workout, only eat either before or after the workout.

-Making your own food. The less you eat out at restaurants, have other people prepare your food, or eat out of packages and containers, the easier it will be to keep track of and know what you ate.

Finally, if you want one more reason not to fret about eating when you’re hungry, then you should know that in active people, energy restriction and cutting calories actually makes you fat.

That’s right.

Chronic calorie reduction in active athletes like gymnasts and runners has been proven to increase body fat percentage. This is because the combination of exercise stress and calorie restriction puts your body into starvation mode, where it becomes more necessary to store fat than to build or maintain muscle. Don’t believe that restricting calories can make you fat? Just read this study, in which energy deficits of as little as 300 calories per day below what was required for meeting activity requirements actually decrease metabolism and increased body fat percentage in both runners and gymnasts (8).

In summary, being hungry is not a bad thing if it is because you have a biological need for more calories or nutrients. In this case, simply pay attention to your body and eat more if necessary.

For the full transcript of the above article you can read more here at how to track calories.

Good luck with the post Xmas detox and weightloss.


The Power of the Green Smoothie and the post-Xmas Detox

December 27, 2013 | Posted in Nutrition | By

Fight the Hangover

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading recently around training, nutrition, periodisation, health, fitness and the like. One topic that has caught my attention, probably due to the time of year and the copious amounts of calories (food and beverage) I will be stuffing down my neck over the next couple of weeks, is the topic of the post-xmas detox and the use of green smoothies to aid in this.

What started all this was an email that I received from Ben Greenfield (or his site at least) on his birthday giving subscribers to his newsletter a present in celebration. I must mention at this point that after purchasing the Tri-Ripped Training Plan from the Ben Greenfield site in which access to the Inner Circle (an online fitness forum) was included I have received a number of such great sources of information and the Inner Circle site is jam packed full of great info and advice. Anyway I am not talking about this here and if you would like to find out more you can read my previous post here.

Anyway, the present was a pdf titled Holiday Alcohol Detox Guide. The guide starts off by going into the science behind alcohol and its affects which lead to the feelings associated with a hangover. I am not going to go into the detail here but if anyone is interested you can email me at The guide then goes onto outline 3 ways to specifically detox your body from the effects of alcohol and a long night which I will summarise below:

Vita Coco

Vita Coco

1. Electrolyte Load – in hangover mode your body is holding on to sodium and kicking out potassium. But by getting more potassium into your body before, during and after drinking, you can control the propensity for fuzzy thinking and headaches from dehydration. It is recommended in the guide that you drink unsweetened coconut water like Vita Coco all day leading into a big party, and also have it on hand for the next day. Bananas pack a fairly hefty dose of sugar so leave them out of the equation so you’ll already be getting enough calories from alcohol. I’m pretty sure an electrolyte tablet such as High 5 Zero, nuun, or SiS will suffice.

2. Use Cysteine – I have never hear of cysteine before but it is an amino acid that helps your liver break down acetaldehyde from alcohol metabolism – giving cysteine a bit of a detox effect. You can get cysteine from foods like poultry, oats, dairy, broccoli, red pepper, garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, and wheat germ – but it is recommended in the guide that you try supplements that contain more potent doses of cysteine to help your body quickly metabolize acetaldehyde. In many of these products, cysteine is combined with fumaric acid and succinic acid with some containing additional liver detox herbs like milk thistle, artichoke, goji berry & ginger extracts, which help it to work better. Try Drinkwel, Now Foods or Solgar.



3. Purify – preservatives have been used in the production of wine for many decades, to preserve the fresh fruity flavour of the grape (and hence the wine), and they are continuously used throughout the winemaking process until the final bottling. Most commonly the preservative is added either as a sulphur salt such as potassium metabisulphate (which releases sulphur dioxide gas) or sulphur dioxide gas. Exposure to sulphur dioxide gas is very unpleasant even at quite low concentrations, and typical reactions to exposure to sulphur dioxide are headaches, shortness of breath, sneezing, watery eyes, weezing, sinus congestion and dizziness. Asthmatics are particularly susceptible to sulphur dioxide, and the level of free sulphur dioxide in most wines at bottling is definitely high enough to trigger a reaction.

The guide recommends adding 5 drops of Pure Wine to a glass of wine, after this the level of sulphites is dramatically reduced, but the wine is kept fresh for up to 24 hours after opening. Pure Wine basically produces a blast of oxygen that eliminates the active wine preservative of sulphur dioxide gas, without sacrificing the taste and quality of the wine.

The guide finishes with 2 back up plans if you forget to implement any of the above:
1. For headaches – a natural painkiller that is jam packed with curcumin with help fights the pain of headaches without ‘doing a number’ on your liver like ibuprofen and others.
2. For stomach upset – drinking a cup of bone broth (email me if you want the recipe) or ginger tea in the morning. The guide also says that you can also mix the ginger into a smoothie which nicely gets me to my next topic.

Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea

Green Smoothies
As mentioned above smoothies are great when used as part of a detox or generally healthy diet . In another Ben Greenfield article he gives you a daily diet which he claims to follow each day (onday is shown below). As you can see each morning is started with a Green Smoothie.

Breakfast – Green Smoothie
Lunch – Sardine Salad
Snack – Chia Slurry
Dinner – Steak & Roasted Vegetables with Grass-Fed Butter

This led me to my usual google search to find out more on the topic. This led me to the 30-day green smoothie challenge in which it is claimed that green smoothies, you can boost your energy, lose weight effortlessly, and make healthy eating a lifestyle.

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

I am going to undertake a 30 day green smoothie challenge of my own and report back on the ease of making the smoothies, the flavour of them, how full they make me feel, how I find energy during training etc etc. If you would like to join in with me register for IronMail here and I will send you a weekly email with shopping lists and recipes to help you along the way.

All the best


Conquering Ironman UK 2014

December 11, 2013 | Posted in General, Nutrition, Training Plans | By

As mentioned in my previous post that I have been looking to find a plan / programme / method of training that suit me and my busy work / life schedule.

Previous attempts

As mentioned previously during the last two previous IMUK’s I have followed two different plans with varying success. In the build up to IMUK 2012 I followed my own plan which was based loosely on the article 13 Weeks to a 13-Hour Ironman which held me in good stead allowing me to complete my first Ironman Triathlon in a little under 14 hours.

In the build up to IMUK 2013 I wanted a lot more structure to my training sessions. Rather than going for a ‘2 bike in Zone 2’ I wanted to undertake a ‘2 hours Crisscross Threshold Bike’ which would include:

– W/up to Zone 4
– Build to Zone 5a within 2 mins
– Back off to Zone 4 within 2 mins
– Continue pattern
– Low cadence
– Flat Course

The above session was just one of many that I meticulously planned to undertake after reading The Triathlon Bible. However, what I did find by using this method was that I was constantly in the state of being de-motivated due to the structure of the sessions which I would feel disappointed with myself if I didn’t complete the sessions ‘to the letter’ in the time allocated on the particular day. I finished up abandoning the training plan about 8-10 weeks out from the Ironman and reverted back to the previous years methodology. I completed the IMUK 2013 also in a little under 14 hours, however I had the overwhelming feeling that I had under preformed due to my under preparation for the event.

My 2013 Training Plan

My 2013 Training Plan

Ironman UK 2014

For this season (building up to IMUK 2014 I am looking at making a number of changes. The first is to post updates to this site on regular occasions. I am doing this as I find that writing down my experiences, feelings and thoughs helps me to review my current progress and take action if something needs to change. I have done this throughput my sporting career and have primarily decided to upload my posts so I can find them on the go. If I want to find where I read up on healthy snacks for surfers I can go here. If anyone else finds the posts and the site in general useful posting comments and questions that is all the better by me.

The second action that I have been undertaking is the find a training plan that both motivates me to achieve the success I am looking for at IMUK 2014 whilst remaining flexible enough to allow me to work it around my busy work and social life. Anyway who has ready any of my previous posts will know that my usual way of undertaking such tasks is to enlist the help of google.

Upon geveral search for ironman triathlon plans I have found numerous training plans claiming to be for all abilities with cheesy videos of coaches endorseing their products. Most of these link you to trainingpeaks which lists hundreds upon hundreds of different plans ranging from $97 to $197 (£59 to £120) which in the scheme of how much I am willing to pay for a bike is not much at all. I left the search feeling over whelmed and which create more confused than ever.

I decided to take a different approach and googled for more specific training plans that involved minimalist, time constraint plans which are much more like what I am after. I came across a site called who is one of the top amateur triathletes in the world.

The Options

There are two main options to consider when looking at the available plans. These are Triathlon Dominator and Tri-Ripped which is available in Hard Copy or Digital version.

Triathlon Dominator

Triathlon Dominator

The Triathlon Dominator jumped out at me immediately due to the claim that you get everything that you need to suceed with time flexibility and only 8-12 weekly training hours. The plan is based upon 7 principles which I have copied below from their site:

Principle 1 – “HIT Training”: allowing you to simulate the endurance enhancing effect of a 3-4 hour training session with as little as 30-40 minutes
Principle 2 – “Periodization”: Periodization is the practice of splitting a training and an eating year (or in this case, a 9 month period of time) into specific blocks of training and eating, each with a specific purpose. The principle of Periodization means that your plan includes precise instructions for swim form drills, cycling skill workouts, running drills, how to calculate your heart rate zones…
Principle 3 – “Strategic Rest & Test”: Most training programs adhere to the ho-hum concept of simply laying off and resting every 4th week. Instead of utilizing this rigid method during your 9 months of training for Ironman, you’ll never go more than just a few weeks without getting to recover, re-test and discover exactly how quickly your body is transforming to dominate Ironman.
[This is much like the method used by Sami Inkinen in my previous post.]
Principle 4 – “Racing”: The fastest path to both physical and mental domination in Ironman triathlon is to race and compete in triathlons during your build-up to the big day.
Principle 5 – “No Guesswork”: You can’t afford to waste any time this is key for me as I spent most of my preparation for IMUK 2013 this year in this state instead of getting myself out there and training.
Principle 6 – “Holistic Fueling”: the solution involves focusing on promoting rapid recovery, fighting inflammation, reducing potential toxins, and powering the immune system.
Principle 7 – “Time Flexibility”: Let’s face it – life happens. A good plan should be incredibly flexible and can be re-arranged without disrupting the overall effectiveness of the program.
[As mentioned above the in-flexibility of my programme last year led to constant feeling of failure and de-motivation]

This without a shadow of a doubt ticks all of the boxes for me and would be my plan of choice for 2014 (it will be for 2015 if I re-enter).  However, this plan is based upon a 9 month (or 36 weeks) training duration and as I have only 7 months or so to the IMUK 2014 I don’t feel that I would want to start the programme such a long time into it. I appeciate that the periodisation allows the ability to jump it at any point but it just doesn’f feel right to me to do so.





This leads me onto the next option, Tri-Ripped. This programme is based around training for a triathlon without getting the “skinny-fat” look stating that “You can swim, bike and run fast – and still have an amazing body”. Again much like the Triathlon Dominator there are 5 steps to get you there:

1. LIFT RIGHT: a style of lifting that is neglected among endurance athletes, but a long-kept tradition of the bodybuilding industry: “hypertrophy” style training. With hypertrophy training, you can add and define lean muscle very quickly choosing full body, functional exercises while scattering in just enough explosive and heavy weightlifting to keep your muscles extremely functional and fast.
2. EAT RIGHT: if you’re trying to be fast at triathlon and also have an amazing body, you should eat a diet comprised of a high amount of healthy fats, add in moderate helpings of natural protein to keep amino acids elevated for your muscles and brain, and top it off with strategically timed carbohydrate doses when they really matter, such as before or after your exercise sessions.
3. TRAIN RIGHT: Long, slow aerobic training completely nullify any attempts to add lean muscle or get a nice, defined body, but it also depletes hormones, causes overtraining syndrome, and takes away precious time from family, career and other hobbies. Instead, for the triathlete who wants to avoid the skinny-fat look and get an amazing, muscular body, the training plan should incorporate strategically targeted high-intensity bursts of energy, a moderate amount of slightly longer “tempo” work, and finally, a low amount of long aerobic training strategically saving long rides, runs or swims for times when they are completely necessary and crucial to the program.
4. SUPPLEMENT RIGHT: Extra help comes in the form of completely legal sports nutrition supplementation like digestive enzymes, fish oil, vitamin D, greens supplements, magnesium and Chinese adaptogenic herbs. If you are pushing your body beyond it’s natural tendencies, then even in a situation where your diet is perfect, supplementation is a must if you want to be fast and also have an amazing body.
5. LIVE RIGHT: These are just a few of the little lifestyle tweaks that you can make, but they’re incredibly important if you want to add muscle and athleticism while getting the body of your dreams and still being fast for triathlon.

Tri-Ripped is an 8 month programme which aligns very well with the timescales that I have to train for the IMUK 2014. I do not feel the same uncomfortable feeling that I got when thinking about starting the Triathlon Dominator part way through as Tri-Ripped is as much a lifestyle change as much as anything else.  (Plus I am going to Las Vegas with the boys later in the year so a nice body will do me nicely around the pool at the MGM Grand!)


Both the Tri-Ripped and Triathlon Dominator are price at $97 (£59) for the digital version and $197 (£120) for the Hard Copy. As mentioned above I think that most of these are pretty reasonable given the amount of money that I am willing to spend on a new bike.


In conclusion, as I mentioned before if I had found the Triathlon Dominator plan a month ago that would have been the option that I personally would have gone for. However, due to the constraint of time until my Ironman event I have opted to purchase the Tri-Ripped Digital Package . I have gone for the digital package as that is my preferred way of working in every day life (hence using this site instead of a journal). However, if you prefer there is a Hard Copy version which include trainging logs etc.

I will be following the Tri-Ripped Package from now until the IMUK 2014 on the 20th July 2013. I’ll keep posting updates on my progress and providing feedback on my progress to knocking a bucket load of time off my previous Ironman PB.

All the best



Ironman Triathlon Diet and Weight Loss

December 6, 2013 | Posted in General, Nutrition | By

Tomato Pasta

Pasta for Ironman Triathlon Energy

I’ve been thinking a lot about ironman triathlon diet and weight loss recently. When I come to think about it I am always thinking about diet…well food at least. I love food and everything about it; the preparing, the cooking, going to nice restaurants, the social aspects of sitting around a table or a BBQ. This is probably the reason why weight loss is so important to me during my preparation for an Ironman due to all the weight that I put on in the off-season.

Time for my usual google search to see what I can find around the subject of diet and healthy living which will hopefully help, especially coming up to the xmas period. I have come across a couple of articles in the last week or so and will take the main points from each of them below.

Diet for Surfers
There is a great article on titled The Surfing Sites Diet for Surfers. The article starts by listing the six major classes of essential nutrients and their basic functions stating that Carbs and Fats are the main source of energy. The article then goes on to say that complex carbohydrates are a better choice than simple sugars, fat should come from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and protein is important for building muscles and other soft tissues.

This information is provided on most sources of such information. What does, however, make this article stand out are the examples of what you should eat before and after (surfing in this instance) and what you should be snacking on. This is a good list for anyone to print or make a note of as a day to day reference point to remind you of the choices that you are making with your food. The last paragraph covers the issues of eating fast food. The sentence which had the biggest impact on me was “The average fast food sandwich contains approximately 50% of its calories in fat.”

This is good article and reference point and who wouldn’t want a surfers body anyway?

Weight Loss

Another article on the website is one titled Four Fat-Loss Myths for Endurance Athletes. To summarise the article the four myths are:

1- You must exercise in order to lose body fat
2- If you train for a marathon or triathlon, your body fat will melt away
3- The more you exercise, the more fat you will lose
4- You should exercise six days a week to lose weight

The main point that I get from this is the fact that if you want to train to lose weight you will turn training in to a chore that you must do and by doing this you risk taking all of the enjoyment out of training and hence will be less motivated to get out there and train. This is something that I have been guilty of but hadn’t realised before I read this. What I need to do is go to the gym, go running, biking or swimming because I genuinely enjoy doing them and enjoy the endorphins associated with the health and fitness gains I am making. If I want to lose weight, which I do, I need to “eat one less cookie a day”.

The scales do not lie

The scales do not lie

Body Weight Management
Lastly an article by Joe Friel on the training peaks website. The initial consideration is how heavy is too heavy? This is calculated using your body weight in pounds divided by your height in inches; for me 212/70 = 3.0. In comparison a competitive male triathlete would be about 2.1 to 2.3 with high-performance women triathletes usually in the range of 1.8 to 2.0. Men who exceed 2.5 and women above 2.3 are best advised to find flat race courses if their goal is to be competitive. I am at 3.0 at the moment and at my lightest of either of my seasons so far I have been at 2.8.

Now that I have established that I need to lose weight if I want to knock an hour of my PB Ironman finishing time the question is, do I eat less or train more? It can be found that a reduced-food-intake will lose a greater percentage of muscle mass than increased-exercise but you will have less muscle to create power, the trade off is not a good one. If you are going to go down this route the most effective way is to reduce carbs whilst maintaining protein intake.

In summary of the above, and other sources of information that I have found, the big things that I will be taking away with me is to:
1- learn the types of foods that I should be eating so as I can make smart choices when choosing what I eat regardless of the situation,
2- make more of an effort to keep tally on the food that I am eating during the day (maybe use an app such as myfitnesspal) and make a conscience effort to reduce the amount of “cookies” that I am eating, and
3- do not use exercise as a way of losing weight. Exercise because I enjoy it and want to constantly improve my fitness trying to make improvements in every session as discussed in a previous post.

Thanks again