How I Avoided Gut Rot, Ate Pure Corn Starch, And Won The Leadman Triathlon.

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Whether or not you’re a triathlete or serious endurance competitor, I’ll bet you probably wonder why you sometimes get horrible gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea (despite your attempts to eat healthy food)….

…and if you’re an active person, you may also wonder why these periods of gastric distress seem to be highly associated with  consumption of gels, energy bars or sports drinks.

So today, you’re going to find out everything you need to know about why you get this “gut rot” and what you can do about it.

OK, here we go…

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This weekend, I won the Leadman 125 Triathlon.

While you can read the full race report by clicking here, I want to focus now on the new nutrition protocol I used for this race (which I hinted at in this sports nutrition interview with Endurance Planet), why I chose to use this nutrition protocol, and what it means for you and your gut…

FODMAPs

Let’s start with FODMAPs, and why a large consumption of FODMAPs containing foods can wreak some serious havoc in your gut.

Many of the foods that we commonly eat, even in a healthy diet, are what are called “high-residue” foods. This means that these particular foods, when being digested, leave a lot behind for bacteria to feed on, and when bacteria feed and proliferate, they ferment.

And when bacteria is fermenting in your gut, the result can be bloating, cramping and gas.

So what kind of foods have a tendency to ferment more or ferment faster than others? These foods are called FODMAPs.

FODMAP stands for “Fermentable, Oligo- Di- Mono-accharides And Polyols”, and basically these are sugars that you can’t actually digest – so they end up feeding bacteria, creating fungal overgrowth in your digestive tract, and throwing off the entire balance of the ecosystem in your gut.

Sometimes, in addition to bloating, cramping, gas, constipation or diarrhea, FODMaps can also create symptoms outside of your gut, such as depression, fatigue, headache or brain fog (which makes sense, since you body creates a significant amount of your neurotransmitters in your gut).

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A List Of FODMAPs

So what kind of foods fall into the FODMAPs category? I’m going to list them below, and while I’m certainly not advocating that you completely cut these foods out of your diet, you may find that high amounts of the following foods, especially eaten in one meal or one day, can cause some significant gut issues…

1.  Fruit, agave, and honey

Fructose is fruit sugar and a monosaccharide (the M in FODMAPs). Fruits that are higher in fructose also fall into this category (like melons and citrus fruits such as mango). Fruits high in polyls (sugar alcohols) such as apples, peaches and pears would also be included. Many sweeteners also contain fructose, such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, and agave. And of course, fructose is a major ingredient in most gels and sports drinks.

2. Beans and lentils

Oligosaccharides are short strands of simple sugars and all beans and lentils fall into this category. Maltodextrin, which is found in many, many sports gels, is also an oligosaccharide.

3. Wheat, onions, and cabbage

Wheat is also an oligosaccharide, and in addition, contains sugar called fructan. Wheat is found in many sports bars and energy “chews”, and fructans are also found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower, onions, scallions and garlic.

4. Dairy

Lactose, the sugar found in dairy (especially unfermented forms of dairy such milk, as opposed to yogurt or kefir) is a disaccharide. You’ll also find large amounts of lactose in many post-workout recovery beverages.

5. Sugar Alcohols

Examples of sugar alcohols, which are found as an ingredient in many packaged or processed foods, are xylitol, maltitol, and sorbitol. You’ll commonly find these in sugar-free or “health” foods, and also in items such as diabetic candy, toothpaste, and chewing gum.

As you may already know from personal experience and pure common sense, sitting down and eating an entire plate of sautéed onions is probably going to give you gas (due to the fructan content that you just learned about).

You also probably wouldn’t mow down a few bowls of beans and lentils, or eat a smoothie made of 4 or 5 apples, and expect to not have something funky going on in your gut.

But in the same way, you can also create a nuclear bomb in your gut by consuming 50-100 grams of fructose and maltodextrin per hour from sports gels during a triathlon or marathon, downing a wheat-filled bar each hour during a cycling event, or sucking down lactose-laden recovery shakes after a workout or race.

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Why I Changed My Race Day Nutrition

While I rarely have gut issues during an actual triathlon, I have had concerns in the past about my habit of consuming 3-4 fructose-maltodextrin gels per hour during an event. For example, during an Ironman triathlon, after 10 hours of competing, I’ll have consumed nearly 40 gels – and that’s a boatload of FODMAPs!

As a result, although my performance is just fine and I rarely have stomach problems during a race, my gut is consistently in a post-race tizzy – with gas, bloating and constipation for 24 hours up to several days after finishing such an event.

In addition, with my focus on controlling my blood sugar, lowering inflammation, and turning my body into a fat-burning machine, it seemed counter-productive to be shifting into complete carbohydrate utilization during a race, without taking advantage of the fact that I’ve become more efficient at burning fatty acids with my high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.

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A Healthy Race Day Nutrition Protocol

As a result, through my own research and through conversations with physicians and nutritionists, I developed the following healthy race day nutrition protocol, designed to utilize fatty acids, stabilize blood sugars, and reduce post-race gas and bloating. This is the exact protocol I practiced with for the past couple weeks, and then used in the Leadman triathlon.

1) High Molecular Weight Carbohydrate.

Glucose, sucrose, fructose, and maltodextrin are all sugars that cause a sudden flood of insulin to the body by way of the pancreas. While this is less of an issue when you’re in an insulin sensitive state (such as when you’re exercising or racing), when you consume these forms of sugar you still experience a constant spiking and dropping of blood sugar, in addition to to the fermentation issues that you just learned about. 

As a result, you get frequent spikes and drops in energy during a race, and also post-race bloating and stomach issues.

So the first tier of my healthy race day nutrition plan was to find a slow-time release source of energy that allowed me to eat less, tap into my body’s own fatty acid stores more efficiently, and not cause post-race gut rot.

Enter UCAN SuperStarch, which was originally developed as a slowly metabolized starch that would allow people with a rare condition called “Glycogen Storage Disease” to be able to have access to a very stable source of glucose.

UCAN is a high molecular weight, corn-derived starch that is metabolized differently than simpler sugars such as fructose or maltodextrin. It is a powder that you mix with water, and it’s metabolism results in far less insulin production and less blood sugar spiking compared to other gels and sports drinks, and as a result of these lower insulin levels, this approach also allows your body to tap into it’s own storage fat as a fuel.

How I used UCAN: I simply consumed 2 servings (220 calories) 2 hours before the race, then 2 servings per hour during the entire 3 hour bike and 1 hour run. I mixed 6 packets (enough for 3 hours) into a water bottle that I kept on the downtube of my bicycle and consumed a mouthful every half hour, and put 2 packets in a flask that I “nursed” on the run.

2) Flavor & Energy Boost

One drawback to UCAN is that most of it is flavored with artificial sweeteners, so I choose the plain, unsweetened version. But the plain version tastes a bit “chalky”. So I wanted to figure out a way to add a bit of flavor, and also get some extra energy-boosting compounds.

Enter Energy28 Liquid Superfood. It’s primary components are:

-Rhodiola rosea – a popular plant in traditional medical systems in Russia and Scandinavian countries for centuries, with a reputation for stimulating the nervous system, enhancing work performance and eliminating fatigue. This came in quite handy, as this race occurred at 5000 feet elevation.

-Organic Peruvian maca -  a root vegetable, shaped like a radish, that grows high in the harsh climate of the Andes Mountains in South America at elevations up to 15,000 feet. Native Peruvians have used maca as a high-energy food and cortisol stabilizer for more than two millennia. Maca is high in vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and other minerals.

-D-ribose – used by all the body’s cells and essential in energy metabolism. Our bodies make ribose innately, but our cells lack the ability to produce it fast enough or in sufficient quantity to effectively offset the loss of energy from our cells.

-Golden Chlorella – a unique nutrient-dense, ultra-pure, mild-tasting microalgae that provides naturally occurring amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It is a complete functional food containing 50 percent omega 3, 6 and 9 oils by weight.

While there are some trace amounts of fructose from these superfood extracts in Energy28, there is still far, far less than what I was getting from the typical gel, chews, bars, or sports drink combo, and I found that the flavor of Energy28 gave the UCAN SuperStarch a pleasant, slightly fruity taste.

How I used Energy28: I simply consumed 1 servings for each serving of UCAN . So I put 6 servings in the water bottle that I had the UCAN in, and 2 servings in the flask of UCAN that I carried on the run.

3) Amino Acids

As I’ve written about extensively in this 2 part series on amino acids, high blood levels of amino acids primarily:

1) reduce your rating of perceived exertion, allowing you to work harder without your brain “shutting down” your body;

2) keep your body from cannibalizing your own lean muscle during exercise, thus limiting post-workout or post-race soreness.

But most proteins (the source of amino acids) need to be digested, which can take a long time and shuttle a lot of extra blood away from your muscles and into your stomach. Enter Master Amino Pattern (MAP).

MAP is a unique blend of 8 essential amino acids that collectively have a Body Protein Synthesis (BPS) of Net Nitrogen Utilization (NNU) that is 99% per 23 minutes. Compared to MAP, something like a whey or soy protein source has a BPS/min of 16-32% NNU/180-360 min. This means that the BPS/min of a protein supplement is 24 to 96 times lower compared to MAP.

In a nutshell, the MAP capsules completely digest in 23 minutes, while other protein sources take anywhere from 2-6 hours. While a low, slow release source of protein might be OK for breakfast or before you go to bed at night, during exercise you want readily available sources of amino acids that don’t need to undergo breakdown and digestion.

How I used Master Amino Pattern (MAP): I consumed 10 capsules 30 minutes prior to the race, then simply carried a small ziplock bag of MAP in my shorts and ate 5 per hour during the entire bike ride.

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And that’s it. That was my healthy race day nutrition protocol.

The result?

Despite eating far less than normal during the race, my energy levels were elevated the entire time – without having to force down sickeningly sweet gels. No crashes, no bonks, no burp-ups.

And better yet: I had zero embarrassing post-race gas issues.

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A Footnote: The SCD Diet

As I mentioned in a podcast a couple weeks ago, there is a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which goes a step above and beyond what you’ve just learned about simply limiting your dietary intake of FODMAP’s…

…and if your gut is simply ravaged by years of high carbohydrate intake, poor nutrition habits, low intake of probiotics and fermented foods, or any other gut damaging habits, you may indeed need to go a step above and beyond what you have just learned and “reboot your gut” with the SCD Diet. So in this Saturday’s podcast interview with SCD Lifestyle’s Steven Wright, you’re going to learn more about how to do that.

Until then, leave your questions about triathlon nutrition, FODMAP’s, or how I practically implemented my use of UCAN, Energy28 or Master Amino Pattern below, and I promise to answer!

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Recent Update

Rather than you having to go the four corners of the planet to get this stuff, I figured out how to just bundle it all for you in 1 convenient Low Carb Fueling package: http://goo.gl/Yryi5 <–UCAN+MAP+Energy28 Low Carb Fueling Package
Low Carb Fueling Package

The package above is basically 60 packets of UCAN, a full 120 tablet bottle of MAP & a bottle of Energy28 – everything you need to get your low carb fueling  dialed in, and about 1-2 months worth of fueling!

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66 thoughts on “How I Avoided Gut Rot, Ate Pure Corn Starch, And Won The Leadman Triathlon.

  1. Congrats on the win, Ben. Awesome effort and good race day strategy.
    My question concerns the super starch. Unless the corn used to manufacture this product is organic, then it is almost certainly GMO, the most common being Bt corn, which has the DNA of a particular bacteria implanted to produce toxins that repel insects. I'm certain you are aware of the health risks of eating GMOs. Trying to eat healthy, real food during an endurance event is next to impossible, but I'd sure be concerned about consuming large quantities of known GMOs.

  2. Awesome job at Leadman!

    Ever since I heard your first podcast with Dr. Peter Attia earlier this year, I have been using the UCAN SuperStarch for events that call for such energy needs. It is simply awesome! Your observations of less eating while having consistent elevated energy levels is spot on! I love hearing someone else's successes with the product. Cheers!

  3. Congrats on the race!

    Did you use the liquid or packet form of Energy 28? It seem the liquid would be better but the packets easier to mix. Any preference between the two? I have a full IM coming up in 2 months and am trying to optimize my nutrition plan. Do you think this combination could get you through a full IM or would you work in some additional calories along the way – perhaps something to mix it up.

    1. Well the packet IS a liquid, but in a small packet that's easy to travel with. I just grabbed a handful of the packets….

      I would totally use this protocol in a full IM…but I'd probably throw in a bonk breaker bar at Special Needs…

      1. I picked up some UCAN and Engery 28 and am going to try it out on a 5 hour long ride this weekend. The only part I am missing is the MAP amino acids. These little guys are pretty pricy. How essential are they, in your opinion? I would assume getting the calories and carbs from the UCAN is most important to maintaing energy and performance.

          1. Hey Ben, I've been using the UCAN + Energy 28 mix for the past couple of weeks on my long rides and am having good success. I am planning on using this as my primary fuel on the bike during IMAZ. I will probably switch to gels/coke later in the run, but I am a little concerned about the lack of sodium/electrolyte content in this mix (using plain UCAN). What did you do to address this or do you have any suggestions on how to keep my electroyles balanced during the race?

            Thanks a lot. Love the blog. Keep it up.

  4. Ben,

    First, congrats on your race victory! This piece very interesting to me as I have gut rot issues, especially post race. I am a bit confused though by some conflicting advice. I really liked your interview with Stacy Sims. The hydration in the bottle, food in the pocket advice makes good sense. Her sucrose, glucose and electrolyte formula seems simple enough.

    So, right when I decide to try this route, you come out and promote the UCAN super Starch. So which is it? I can’t help but think all your advice leads to the purchase of a Pacific Elite product.

    Aj

    1. Aaron, I've never endorsed Stacy's approach. I simply interviewed her. As you probably know from my discussions with Tim Noakes, I'm actually not really a fan of the high electrolyte solutions, and while Stacy Sims formula is simple enough, you still have the post-race fermentation issues, which you don't get with UCAN…

  5. One more question Ben. My main events are 6-10 hour mountain bike races ie. Leadville, Shenandoah 100, etc. I am 6'3" and my race weight is 178-183. Is the 220 calories enough for me? I know Allen Lim recommends athletes replace up to HALF the calories they burn per hour. I usually burn 700-900 per hour when racing. Thanks, Aj

    1. Yes, I've heard that recommendation by Lim, but the problem is that shoving that many calories down the hatch can lead to some serious GI distress. How do you know you burn 700-900 calories per hour during racing? Have you had that tested? The reason I ask is because that is actually a high amount of calories if you're staying relatively aerobic.

      Anyways, it's partially a moot point, because if you use this approach you eat FEWER calories because you're tapping into your own storage fatty acids as a fuel…

  6. Ben,
    You are the guy!!! Congrat's on your big win…well deserved. I am awaiting my performance encoder and am exicted to see how this works. Between you and Peter Attia I am almost keto adapted now and feeling pretty good. I have you to thank for turning me on to this new way of eating / endurance training. I look forward to reading your post and podcast. Also recently started using Himilayan Salt….have to say i can tell the difference esp being low carb …good results on the bike!

    Barbara

  7. Ben, you are right. I looked at my Shenandoah race file and my caloric burn was more like 450 cal an hour. I use a power meter so I am using kilojoules to determine these numbers. I do see up to 900-1000 calories per hour when doing lactate threshold work. My current LT is 375 watts. So for the longer events it looks like I do need way less calories. I want to try the super starch. How much should I use per hour for my aerobic events? Also, Should I add any other additional foods for these events? Lastly, can I use the super starch for short high-intensity races i.e. 90 minutes all out? Thanks Ben. And I understand Stacy was just an interview.
    Aj

    1. Aaron, for your aerobic events, at your weight/height, which is almost identical to me, I'd go with 2 servings per hour of UCAN.

      I'm not convinced UCAN is best way to go for shorter, all-out races – since you're so glycolytic that a fast release sugar is almost a better solution in that type of scenario, and there's so "little" fuel that actually needs to be used during such an event that if you go with a higher sugar compound, like a gel, you're not eating enough of it to cause post race issues. My plan for Sprint and Olympic distance races is to continue what I've done in the past – about 200-300 calories of GU Roctane gels or powder….

  8. Ben I have been in nutritional ketosis for about 7 months as a way to enjoy athletics while maintaining the low carb primal way of eating that works so well for me. I recently sourced a super starch and new at once it was a game changer. I am not at all surprised to see you using it.

    Congrats on your victory and thank you for always keeping us (even wannabes) listeners to your podcost up to date on these ground breaking nutritional approaches.

  9. Ben, Is the UCAN corn starch product similar to the Vitargo barley starch product in its effects regarding insulin reaction, stomach emptying, absorption, promoting fat burning etc?

    Both products are muco-polysaccharides derived from grain starch.

    Dave Mackey http://davemackey.blogspot.com/ set an age group record at Western States 100 (15:53) this year and claims he was downing 700 calories an hour of Vitargo with great success.

    1. Vastly different. From website: "Vitargo® is made through a special fractionation process that makes it rapidly digestible and therefore capable of delivering glucose to the blood, liver, and muscle at least twice as fast as other ordinary carbohydrates."

      Basically, this means Vitargo is designed to spike blood sugar as fast as possible! So although both are high molecular weight starches, they achieve two completely opposite scenarios. I could see Vitargo coming in handy if you wanted to, for example, replenish carbohydrate stores as quickly as possible post workout…

  10. Ben, Congrats on your win! When you started to implement this UCAN strategy how long did it take for you to realize the benefits? Did you mix this UCAN strategy with your previous fueling strategy or did you take a leap of faith and just switch? Also, do you use it during your training sessions?

    Michelle

    1. Michelle, I practiced this for a total of 4 times in training. It's tough for me to truly practice these type of protocols because I rarely, if ever, train "long", and I don't like using "engineered" fuels unless I absolutely have to. And when I did switch, I switched 100%…

  11. Hi Ben,
    Your article attracted me because for a few years now I have been suffering from daily gas that occurs in the later afternoon & lasts throughout the evening. I eat a primarily vegan diet (with the exception of fish) so I eat what you call FODMAPs on a daily basis, however even before I stopped eating animal protein (about 9 months ago) I experienced the gas. I've seen a nutritionist who advised me to play around with my fiber & fat intake (decreasing the fiber/ increasing the fat) and it seemed to help sometimes but I'm still experiencing the gas and I'm at a loss at what to do. Is this something you could potentially help me with? Have you heard of anything similar to this before?
    Thank you,
    Shannon

    p.s. I hope it's ok to post this as a comment to your article – I couldn't find anywhere else to contact you.

  12. Ben,

    Congrats on being Awesome. I've recently been addicted to gum (just a bit more than a half pack a day). My diet is mostly paleo aside from this. I'm trying to come up with a healthy alternative to my Extra Dessert Delight gum, and the crazy ingredients panel it has on it. I've tried the Spry w/ xylitol, and aside from tasting terrible after 2 minutes, the xylitol actually bothers my throat (I'm assuming it's the xylitol). This is odd, because the health boosting benefits of xylitol say it should soothe ones throat. How strongly would you suggest staying away from the typical sugar free gum nowadays? And if the answer is strong, any other ideas for natural gum substitute?

    PS. I'm going to give the whole UCAN a shot, and switch over from my beloved CarboPro.

    Keep Killing it,
    -Mike D.

    1. That's strange. I eat Spry all the time (chewing some rightnow actually – get the Peppermint flavor off Amazon by the boatload) and haven't noticed that. But definitely not a fan of the sugar free alternatives, due to neurotoxic and appetite stimulating effects…

      As far as natural gum substitutes, i tried a bunch before I settled on Spry as being the flavor/texture of choice. I have yet to find a brand that does NOT include xylitol. Keep me posted if you do…

  13. Hey Ben. Good work.

    I'd like to know if you or Dr Attia have or will receive any support or consideration from UCan or Energy 28 or any of the other companies you have mentioned in the article?

    1. I'm affiliated with Pacific Elite Fitness, which is a reseller of Energy28. That's how I found it in the first place! UCAN sent me some free packets to try, and I had purchased a bunch prior to that point for testing/training.

      Not sure about Peter…

  14. I'm new to all this but I have to tell you that I noticed an immediate improvement in my endurance the day I first used UCan and did a 6 hour long run. It was THE best run I'd ever had and it was not placebo effect because I'm a skeptical person. I have all sorts of these gut issues so I'm very grateful to you Ben for talking to us about this issue. And Congratulations by the way! Terrie

  15. Great race Ben! Congrats on crushing it! I raced the LM 250 and at one point on the bike the energy crash was so bad i was literally wanting to go to sleep. I have been seeing UCAN being used more and more and I am definitely going to try it. I'm just curious how people can exercise on so few calories. Is it because UCAN allows you to access your fat stores for energy? or is it because of the type of fuel it is?

    Chris

  16. Ben- congrats on an awesome race. I have been very happy using UCAN since you turned me onto it in the Attia podcast. I will go with your race day protocol for IMAZ. I am looking to finish sub-13 and think I need something solid to fend off hunger pangs. Any suggestions for limited solid food options?
    Also, are you topping off your glycogen levels going into a race where you want to be burning fat?
    Thanks for all the effort going into the great podcasts.

    1. Bonk Breakers. No brainer there. They burn clean, and they'll be out there all over the place on the course…but keep it liquid for the run. UCAN until you're ready to "blow it open", then switch to Coke.

      I didn't carb load at all for last race…had pemmican and avocado for lunch actually…probably about 100g more carbs than I usually have for a typical "easy day" though….the day before race.

  17. Hi Ben, question on UCAN. In my bodybuilding days I used a product called waxy maze for pre and post workout drinks, is this the same thing as UCAN?
    Thanks for any info.
    Jeff

    1. UCAN starts with non-gmo waxy maize starch. Then, there is a 40-hour heat and moisture process that changes the carbohydrate to allow for a slower absorption profile, longer stable blood glucose levels, and minimal insulin response. It took 8 years to develop for children with a rare medical condition called glycogen storage disease.

      Here is more information on their science & usage:

      Our product is taken 30-45 minutes before exercise or events. In a blender bottle or blender itself, you'd mix 8-12 oz of cold water. You wont feel any stomach issues or bloating because the product moves rapidly through the stomach and is actually digested in the intestines. There are 30 grams of SuperStarch in each packet, yet those calories are absorbed much slower (stabilizing blood sugar) and last longer and therefore more efficient. SuperStarch is basically time released glucose. Many doing ultra-events such as marathon and ironman type events have gone from consuming 200+ calories per hour to sometimes less than 1 packet or 1 serving of UCAN per hour.

      Because it is absorbed slowly into the body – it causes no spike in blood sugar or insulin, allowing for a steady release of energy to the muscles and your brain. Also, because we don't spike blood sugar or insulin, the body can utilize stored fat for fuel with our product and spare and conserve your body's muscle glycogen. (Blood sugar spikes tell the body to use the available fuel first and decrease the use of fat for fuel.) Your body will be using the incoming SuperStarch and your own stored fat for fuel, providing the energy you need and dramatically reducing the need for outside calories. In addition, the stable blood sugar the product provides allows you to conserve your glycogen stores as you have a steady state of glucose release in the body.

      They have Protein Enhanced Versions of our product (SuperStarch + 13g protein) which can be used as the first packet before training or after for recovery. You will replenish and repair your muscles, while continuing to burn fat in the post-exercise period (unlike the recovery products that have too much sugar and shutdown fat burning).

  18. Hi Ben, Congrats on your victory! what a great way to validate all your advice!
    How does the use of UCAN for a marathon change _pre-race_ fueling advice you have given, such as a couple yams 3hrs before the race? Do i continue this pre-race strategy if I am keto-adapted? But then, how do i KNOW if i am fat-adapted enough to forego pre-race carbo-loading? Over the past month, i have tried to do every run under 90min without fuel, on an empty stomach. What are the signs that this approach is working toward training my body to burn fat preferentially?
    Thanks for continuous supply of high-density, high quality training info.

    Glenn

    1. You could use UCAN for your pre-race protocol instead, Glenn! I still recommend a pre workout meal 2-3 hours prior even if you are indeed fat adapted. I did a few packets of UCAN before Leadman, for example. But if I would have had sweet potatoes or yams around, I would have considered those also…

  19. Hi Ben, It sounds liek your are keeping well and racing well :)
    Just a couple of quickies… did you miss the caffeine from the gels? And did you drink UCAN in a concentrated form and manage your water intake separately?
    Lastly, in the absence of MAP in the short term, is that similar to a good EAA blend?
    Much appreciated

    1. Hi Graeme! Good to hear from you. Because of the energy from the Energy28, I didn't notice the caffeine absence. And although I had UCAN mixed into a water bottle, I simply did what I normally do: drink to thirst (in addition to the water I get from the UCAN). Trust the body in that sense.

      MAP is way superior to EAA's because it's a more complete profile, but EAA's will still work – just not as well.

  20. Does the idea of using Ucan up until, say mile 18 or so of a marathon and then switching to Vitargo have any merit? Thanks!

    1. If your line of thinking here is to get the insulin boosting merits of Vitargo for maximizing glycogen replenishment, this makes sense IF you're doing another hard workout within 8 hours. But most folks aren't doing another hard workout within 8 hours after a marathon!

  21. Hi Ben, I stubbled onto your website by searching on more information about amino acids. Im a marathon runner and consume gels whilst im racing every 5 miles, and it works for me. However i do suffer from server bloating after the races and thought i was probably because i was taking in too much air while drinking water and running at the same time, but now i'm thinking it could be the gels as well taking in a lot of air while drinking. Im looking at making a few nutrional tweaks. What you are suggesting favours the triathlete and not really a marathon runner if i understand it correctly. It would be almost impossible to be taking the energy 28 and UCAN while running and probably the MAP (assuming they're capsules). Any advice you can suggest on how i can take advantage of the products? And do you ship to the UAE?

    1. Simple, Ang. You just mix your UCAN + Energy28 in a running flask. That's exactly what I do. It mixes quite well, and you can easily get a marathon's worth into 1 flask. And yes, we do ship to the UAE!

  22. Wow…great article but it's all making me dizzy. Nutrition is definitely the silent X factor in a triathlon and after 10 years I still haven't figured it out. My body is so weird. I just CANNOT eat anything on the bike. But need to experiment with solutions that give me the calories I need but not more or less. I have horrible cramping problems and I used to think it was because of nutrition but now I'm not so sure. Don't know if it's just my muscles aren't strong enough or what. Ugghhh…Thanks for the article though. Gave me food for thought so to speak. :)

  23. All of these comments have been so helpful! One gap I still see though in them is the ultra distance running (there was one or two in there) but as I am new to UCAN and it is working great I have not had a run longer than 5 hours yet to test out what my body may need or accept. What have folks used or found worked? I will be testing it at a 50M next weekend but in general do you need to increase the calories more than 1-2 packets of UCAN per 1-2 hours? I plan to use the UCAN for the pre race and then start with it after 1.5- 2 hours like I have so far in long runs and my last 50k race. But after 4-5 hours when I start to feel hungry do I revert back to the 1-2 gels per hour (or equivalent of calories like I used to) or do I keep taking the UCAN with maybe only 1 gel per hour (or equivalent number of calories)? I will being extra of everything as a back up measure and keep food in my drop bags to access as needed. Any experience, ideas, referrals are great help!

  24. Ben,

    I just ordered your components. Thanks. I need your thoughts though.

    I'm a first-time Ironman distance competitor that has run into real nutrition issues after hour 8 or so in most of my trainings that have gone past that time. My race is in 15 days. I'm in taper. So, this is sorta a "I need this now" type of question. I'm 5'8'' weigh between 185 and 190. A stocky ex-wrestler :) I'm 40 years old and my longest distance has been a 1/2 Ironman of which I have done 2. I"ve done all the distances of an Ironman, but not in the same day…yet.

    I am also a Vegan for the most part for medical reasons, I eat too much wheat-based products still.

    My nutrition plan goals were 250 to 300 calories per hour (is what my coaches tell me I need). I was trying to get this by 1 bottle of gatorade (80 calories) 1 banana (90 calories) and 1 Gu (90 calories) .. about 260 / hour plus extra water. About hour 5 I can't get down enough calories in any form. I actually started adding cashews and peanuts and just drinking water, which seemed to help on some rides but this is not a race day plan.

    Today, on a relatively short ride (I'm in taper) I used Hammer Perpetuem since your stuff hadn't yet arrived (although wow, it was waiting for me when I got back from my ride!!!) Anyways, the Perpetuem seemed to work fine, but again, it was a shorter ride, and I cut out the bananas due to the fiber content & well, probably other stuff you will tell me.

    So here is my question: I have 2 weeks, and no really long workouts left. I think I could get through the race on a 250 cal Perpetuem and Gel / hour (roughly) for 300 calories per hour on the bike.

    OR… What you are prescribing here. Here are my questions….

    1. Does a body have to 'learn' this method? aka, if I haven't used it in a half-ironman is it possible to use it in some shorter training sessions to see if it would work for me?

    2. 2 packets of UCAN (110 cal / packet) is 220 Cals. Is that enough for a guy that's a bit more stocky and is going to take between 16 and 17 hours to finish Ironman Lake Tahoe? (Is there any issue using your method on those longer-times as from your article you were done much faster than I will be :) )

    And in general, what should I do? I can't do the bananas, gel, and Gatorade thing over that long a time period – I'll die.

    Should I start using your method during my taper here and see how my gut reacts? And do you think my body (or any body) would be ok with this method over 16 to 17 hours?

    Thanks much,

    Ed.

    1. You *could* give it a try during your taper but I would be very careful – this protocol takes some getting used to and really works best for people who are already "fat adapted". I would stick with what you know for now and make the entire dietary change in the off-season.

      1. Ben as you are replying on Sunday (If you are avial today) I will go for it! Let me know. This is really the only time that is convenient for me and I realize that it may not be for you. Football is on after all :)

  25. I know this is an older post but I feel the need to join th discussion.

    Can I combine UCAN with a electrolyte tablet from Nuun? Or will that mess up the way the UCAN works?

    I've had good success with Nuun tablets and I hear the plain UCAN flavor is chalky…or is Nuun not so good?

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