5 Supplements For Triathletes | An Introduction To Nutritional Supplements In Triathlon

– What is a supplement? In simple terms, it’s
something that you take along side your normal food that will help your overall well
being and also to make sure that your body meets
its nutritional demands. So in this video, we’re
going to be going into a little more detail as to
exactly what a supplement is and then covering my topics that can help enhance your training
and your performance. (intense music) You might already be taking supplements and not even know it because say for example
you’re having a protein bar as a mid morning snack
or maybe when you wake up in the morning you have your vitamin drink or you head home from training
and you’ve got a milkshake with some four to five vitamins, then you are already
supplementing your diet. It doesn’t necessarily mean
that you have to be having a pill that you bought from
the chemist, for example, or sports drink that you’ve actually gone to a specific sports
shop to buy, although, that is another whole industry in itself. (upbeat music) With such a huge array
of supplements on offer and manufacturers trying to convince you that it’s their product that you need, it can end up being a
complete and utter mine field. So, how do you know if you actually need to take a supplement? Well, that’s a tough question and in the ideal world, you’d
go and have a blood test and the results would clearly tell you. But realistically, that’s
not gonna be an option for most of us, so to a certain extent, it is a matter of trial and error. Start by looking at your diet. If you have a normal,
healthy balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and you just do a small amount of exercise then there should be
no reason that you need to supplement that. However, if you are,
say, putting your body through a lot of stress
training for maybe an iron man, or you’re someone is
aware that you don’t get that good balance of food in your diet, then supplements could help you meet those nutritional needs. And it’s worth noting that
if you’re on a vegetarian or vegan diet you will be
missing out on certain nutrients and even if you’re gluten free, you’re going to be missing out
on some of the fortification that you find in flour. (upbeat steel drum music) So what I’ve already touched on, there are so many supplements
out there to choose from and today’s video I’ve chosen just five that will help with
some of the more common nutritional deficits found in athletes, so let’s take a look. (easy going music) First up, we’ve got Omega-3, or fish oils and the name is interchangeable because high levels of Omega-3
are found in fish oils and fish oils themselves are a natural way to get a high dosage of this nutrient. So as you’d expect, oily
fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel, all
have high levels of Omega-3 and it suggested that you do
have two portions per week. If rather you don’t eat
fish, then there’s things such as flax seeds,
walnuts, dark leafy greens will also help you top off that nutrient. So why are fish oils
so often talked about? Well they are essential for
brain, heart, eye health, they make sure that
your nails are brittle, your skin isn’t dry and
if you’ve got low levels, you might also find that you’re
having problems sleeping, you’re irritable, or
you’ve got mood swings. Omega-3 is also important in immunity and that’s another really key point if you’re training for a triathlon. And as with all these nutrients, if you can consume them through food then you’ll get the most
positive impact on your health but if you do need to have a supplement then you can use these fish oil tablets but just make sure that
you do check dose first and build up so that your
gut has got time to react. (upbeat music) Vitamin D is created
naturally in our bodies as a result of having direct sunlight. That is, if you’re lucky
enough to actually find any and it’s needed to have healthy bones because it allows your body to
absorb calcium and phosphate, both of which are essential for repairing and rebuilding your bones and if you don’t have
enough, then that can lead to weak bones so you might
have heard of something called Rickets, but at the
severe end of the spectrum it could lead to stress reaction
and even stress fractures. And it’s worth noting
that your body requires adequate levels of magnesium
in order to be able to metabolise vitamin D, but
with a healthy balanced diet, that shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, we can’t always
get enough natural sunlight. Especially if you live in a climate like we do here in the UK
and different skin colours will absorb sunlight and
vitamin D at different rates and also if you’re wearing
an SPF sun cream factor then that’s gonna cancel out
any absorption of vitamin D. Now you can get small amounts
from oily fish, red meat, and eggs but quite often, supplementation is gonna be required. So a recommended daily allowance
is actually ten micrograms of vitamin D a day, but that’s anyone that’s not adequate sunshine
or having said that, for athletes it’s actually recommended for a dose of up to 25
micrograms can be useful because of the extra stress
that you’re putting on your body and the IOC, the International
Olympic Committee, even recommend athletes
consider using vitamin D if they’re not getting enough sunlight. As well as bone stress, it
actually helps importantly for the immune system so
again another key point if you are training for a triathlon. (upbeat music) Well before heading back inside, I thought I’d come and grab a coffee. Partly because I need a caffeine hit, but it might seem a bit left
field, but this is a supplement as you have it outside of your normal meal and if used wisely it can
actually give a massive performance benefit to both
your training and your racing so much so that up until
2004, in some Olympic sports, it was actually on the banned list. If you’re not a fan of tea or coffee, you can find caffeine in gels,
soft drinks such as Cola, Red Bull, a lot of sports energy drinks and of course caffeine tablets. But if you are gonna use caffeine, make sure you practise it before race day as it can give you some GI issues and it is a mild diuretic
and also remember obviously it’s a stimulate so if
you’re gonna use it before your evening training session just remember you might
struggle to sleep afterwards. Well one thing that actually surprised me is the amount of caffeine that you need to be able to experience
that real benefit. Now it’s recommended that you
need around three micrograms of caffeine per kilo of body weight. So for me that would equate to around 180 micrograms of caffeine. But the difficulty comes with
knowing how much caffeine is in say something like this latte but if you do want to measure it exactly you’re probably best to use tablets then you know the exact dose and if you’ve already experimented
with caffeine or coffee and you know what works for you then the recommended upper dose is five or six micrograms
per kilo of body weight. Anyway, enough about caffeine. I think I need to finish this coffee and probably head back inside. (instrumental music) Right. So, onto whey protein. Now as endurance athletes you need between one point two and one point
six grammes of protein per kilo of body of weight. So for someone my size, I need
roughly between 90 and 100 grammes of protein. Now that might just
sound like numbers to you but to give you an idea, a
small or average size chicken breast weighs in at about
30 grammes of protein so if you’re not a vegetarian
and you eat a normal diet, you’re probably going to meet those protein levels quite naturally. That said, protein is
essential for muscles to repair and to get stronger and whey protein is an easy way to top this up. So it’s actually derived from milk when it gets separated into cheese and then the liquid that’s
left over is the whey that is then processed to become a powder and it’s full of essential
amino acids that are needed for that muscle repair,
that muscle growth, and on top of this,
it’s very easy and quick to absorb as a protein. While it is easy to get
obsessed with making sure that you have enough protein,
but it’s worth noting that your body can only digest
and absorb a certain amount and that’s suggested at being around two grammes per kilo of body
weight and if you exceed this then all it’s gonna do is
make your kidney’s work harder to process it and basically
excrete it through your urine. Whey protein and protein
powders like these are now pretty easy to find. You can get them in you local sports shop or your health food shop but the thing to note is contamination. A lot of these products
are made in factories where banned substances
might be made as well but we’ll be covering a little
bit more on that later on. (easy going music) Iron deficiency, anaemia, is
more common in female athletes and in adolescents and can represent as general weakness and fatigue. Now, iron is essential
for your body to be able to make red blood cells
which in turn are needed to be able to carry
oxygen around your body so it’s pretty vital. On the plus side, there are so many ways in which you can get iron
into your diet naturally. Anything from red meat to
shellfish, chicken, salmon, soy beans, lentils,
raisins, dried apricots, dark leafy greens, the list
goes on but it is worth noting that actually you do require vitamin C for your body to be
able to absorb the iron. So for example, having
a dark green leafy salad with some lemon juice
or a lemon type dressing would be a great way to do this. And there are a few things
that can actually inhibit your iron absorption
such as tea and coffee so try to avoid drinking tea
and coffee at the same time as having an iron rich meal. And also stress interestingly
can affect your absorption so say you’ve done a really
hard training session, it’s actually a good idea
to wait four or five hours before you’re having your iron rich meal. Iron is an actual supplement. It’s only recommended if
you’ve been to a doctor or you had a blood test to
show that you are deficient in iron because iron
tablets can actually cause side effects and digestion issues. Okay, I by no means saying
that you need to go out, after watching this video, and
buy all of these supplements. I’ve chose these five, as
these could potentially improve your triathlon performance
in your training and racing only if you don’t get the
adequate and max nutrition in your diet naturally. It’s also important to note
the recommended daily allowance for whatever supplement you’re using and not to supersede this and also to note that as athletes, we’re
responsible for whatever it is that we ingest so make
sure that you check that that supplement is allowed in your sport. Finally, I cannot emphasise
enough the importance of concentrating on having
a healthy balanced diet full of whole grains,
lean proteins, vegetables, healthy unsaturated fats before you start looking into the supplement route. But if you’ve enjoyed this, hit the thumb up button to like it and if you want to get
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hit the globe to subscribe. And then if you want some tips on how to lose weight as a triathlete, I made a video on that, just here and if you want to see what the pros eat for
breakfast on race day we did an ask the pros
video and that’s here.