Episode 114

Scott Tindal: Nutrition tips for triathletes and endurance sports

Nutritionist Scott Tindal clears the confusion surrounding nutrition for triathletes and endurance sports. Scott has spent almost two decades working with athletes at all levels to optimise their health and performance. In this episode we cover his principles and Scott answers questions from listeners, from coeliac diets to fuelling strategies on race day.

You'll hear:

06:20 Why Scott stands by do no harm and health first. 'if anyone out there listening, if their practitioner doesn't stand by that, I would think twice about following that regime. Even in short term gains, it will probably result in long term damage. I think all three macronutrients play an important role for health, performance and recovery. From a protein perspective, we believe in a moderate to high amount of protein because emerging evidence shows that endurance athletes require protein just as much as power sports.

09:00 Scott talks about the importance of the three macronutrients, protein, fats and carbohydrates and the importance of food first. Fat and carbohydrates can be used by an endurance athlete to optimise their health and performance.

12:30 Scott talks about the divisive topic of weight loss. 'before worrying about intervening about something, is understanding why. Why do you want to take a particular step?' I would go down the health first route before looking at the number on a scale. The run will be affected by weight but it is not a clear but answer because if you are too light, and the weight loss is through muscle mass, you won't be as strong or powerful on the bike.

19:30 Scott explains the click through exercise which is key to understanding they why behind a particular motivation.

23:20 Scott talks about REDs (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) and the serious consequences of reducing calorific intake and how you know how much energy you need to take in.

"Having spoken to hundreds of female athletes, that number on the scale is a huge driver and can be a huge barrier for a lot of them. He talks about some of the psychological barriers he can face with some athletes. "Getting the athlete to realise that that number is a little light and they need to take on more energy."

It blows my mind that some very talented athletes could potentially be a lot better if they dialled in their nutrition. Some of the athletes who perform week in week out are going beyond the training and equipment and really looking at their nutrition.

33:00 Question from Snowy - Should I fuel my post evening activity?

35:30 Should you take protein before bed? Scott talks about Casein protein and how you might be able to incorporate it before bed but you can also use a protein or plant-based protein. Or you could use cow's milk.

39:00 Question from Isabelle - As a female in her 40s, should you do fasted training? "If you feel light headed and terrible, just have a piece of toast. But look at the duration and intensity of a session. Someone who eats before a high intensity session will likely complete their session better."

42:30 Question from Mark about race day nutrition. "You have to practice your nutrition before race day. Practice carbohydrate consumption. We believe you can complete a 70.3 on carbohydrates - namely gels and chews. You need to pick the products you like and work out what you can tolerate. Practice nutrition running off the bike as well in training. An athlete going slower can potentially take on a bar, or a sandwich but you still need an energy source. Just because you are not going as fast, your effort can still be intense and you are still going to be burning carbohydrates. You do not need gels for every session. There are times and places when that sort of nutrition is to be used.

52:40 Gut issues and how you can improve gut tolerance. 'It may only be every weekend that you are able to practice it. But ask yourself why are you doing it.

54:30 Mark and Catriona's question about nutrition strategies leading into a race.

If the race is on a Saturday, I would start increasing my carbohydrate intake on the Thursday, looking at around 6g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight. You want to reduce your fibre intake certainly the day before the race. On race day morning, overnight oats are great. All you need to do is add milk or water. It will provide you with gut protection, carbohydrates. Don't be shy of breakfast on race day morning.

1:01:30 Rob and Rob both asked about advice for coeliacs. Scott says gels are ok if they are gluten free but make do make sure you do actually have a gluten intolerance.

1:02:20 Tips for easily digestible high calorie food. White toast with jam is perfect before training. In a race, I really like the Picky bar. There are loads of bars, but it comes down to softness. Look at the ingredients. Avoid bars with lots of dates and artificial sweeteners, which will probably cause GI issues.

1:05:00 Affordable tips to work with a Sports Nutritionist. Scott talks about the Fuelin app which takes into account what your training is and enables you to adapt to your day to day life. It starts at $100/month.

Find out more about this week's guests

Fuelin Instagram

Fuelin website

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond