Avoid GI Distress, Cramping, and
Bonking – A Fueling Strategy
Backed by Research
Nutrition Research /by Robert Kunz
Endurance athletes often struggle with fueling strategies. Balancing the
consumption of calories, electrolytes and water can be difficult, and many
athletes use a concoction of different products from different companies
to try and maximize the consumption of carbohydrates, electrolytes and
water. They may be doing everything right, but many times are still left
with gastric distress, cramping or the dreaded bonk.
The issue is that our digestive systems do not work in silos—they must
absorb calorie, electrolytes and water concurrently while an athlete is
racing. The simple act of adding a gel or electrolyte capsules to a
fueling plan can be enough to throw the body’s osmolar balance off, which
in turn slows gastric emptying and absorption of all nutrients.
A newly published study shows electrolyte consumption during exercise
stimulates hydration and therefore enhances performance. EFS-PRO was
designed to maximize hydration through its exclusive ‘Optimal Absorption
Technology’ which shuttles water, electrolytes and other essential
nutrients through the digestive system more efficiently creating a
positive influence on total hydration status.
Optimal Hydration Technology
‘Optimal Absorption Technology’ shuttles water, electrolytes and other
essential nutrients through the digestive system more efficiently…
L-Alanyl L-Glutamine – unique to EFS-PRO, it’s been clinically proven to
significantly improve absorption of water and electrolytes in humans under
exercise stress and mild dehydration. This special dipeptide amino acid is
a highly-soluble, water-stable source of glutamine that has been shown to
improve endurance performance through its positive influence on hydration.
One key mechanism of action is its ability to shuttle water and
micronutrients through the digestive system.
In a study done in the Journal of the International Society of Sports
Nutrition, L-Alanyl L-Glutamine and water were administered to college
students with induced dehydration of -2.5% while a second group used only
water. The group using L-Alanyl L-Glutamine showed a dramatic improvement
in their hydration status as well as their serum sodium levels. This group
also significantly improved their endurance performance in a treadmill
Cyclic dextrin – a super low osmolality (150mOsm) carbohydrate source that
has been clinically proven to have the fastest gastric emptying time of
any carbohydrate. (4) This low-osmolality and superior gastric emptying
time means athletes can be assured what they drink goes directly to
working muscles. This also means EFS-PRO can be mixed at stronger
concentrations and still be absorbed properly. In a published clinical
study done on competitive swimmers, those using cyclic cluster dextrin
significantly improved swimming time over swimmers using other
carbohydrate sources. (3)
New Electrolyte Study
In a 2015 study in the Medicine and Science in Sports Journal, researchers
investigated the effects of electrolyte supplementation on ˝ Ironman
performance. Previous studies in both lab settings and field tests have
reviewed the effectiveness of electrolyte supplementation with varied
results. Lab studies control fluid intake and match with fluid losses
making the correlation with electrolyte content and performance hard to
confirm. In field studies, variables like fitness, experience and
carbohydrate intake were not held constant (1).
This study took place in a real life ˝ Ironman race, allowing athletes to
monitor their own fluid consumption. The study matched subjects on fitness
level, age and anthropometric data. The most important alignment was done
by matching previous best times in 70.3 race performance. Both the control
group and electrolyte supplementation group had previous bests of 301
minutes (5 hours) and had similar training loads of 8km swimming, 180km
cycling and 35km running each week. This allowed researchers to see what
the performance differences might be following the race.
The study by Del Cosso, et al. used two groups of 13 subjects where both
groups were similar in age, fitness level, amount of training and best
race performance. The control group was given 12 capsules to be used at
specific times throughout the race and did not know they contained only
cellulose. The test group was also blindly given 12 capsules that were
filled with 2580mg sodium, 3979mg chloride, 756mg potassium and 132mg
magnesium. Athletes then consumed their regular fueling plan during the
race including drinks that contained additional electrolytes.
*The study made no claims on the consumption of calcium.
Results of the study showed that the group consuming the electrolyte
capsules completed the ˝ Ironman at an average race time of 307 minutes (5
hours – 7 min). The control group took 333 minutes (5 hours – 33 min),
making the electrolyte group 26 minutes (8%) faster than the control
It’s important to note that muscle contraction strength, blood osmolality,
serum electrolyte concentrations and carbohydrate intake did not
significantly vary between the two groups. The electrolyte group did,
however, ingest 400ml (13.5oz) more fluid than the control group even
though both groups were asked to simply fuel/drink as they saw fit.
The researchers theorize that the ingestion of electrolytes may create a
change in osmotic stimulus that further creates thirst. This may be why
the electrolyte group ingested 13.5oz more fluid than the control group in
EFS-PRO is a technologically advanced drink designed to push the
absorption of electrolytes, fuel and water through the digestive system.
Through its low osmolality, high electrolyte system, aided by L-Alanyl L-Glutamine,EFS-PRO
ensures everything you drink goes directly to the working muscles.
J. Del Cosso et. al.; Effects of oral salt
supplementation on physical performance during a half-ironman: A
randomized controlled trial. Medicine & Science in Sports. 2015.
Hoffman JR, et al. Examination of the efficacy of acute L-Alanyl
L-Glutamine ingestion during hydration stress in endurance exercise.
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 7:8, 2010
Int J of Sports Med, 26: 314-319, 2005
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem, 63: 2045-2052 , 1999
Takii, H; Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence
Gastric Emptying rate. Int Journal of Sports Medicine; 2005; 26: 314-319.
First Endurance EFS:
The Most “Potent” Sports Drink
By Tom Demerly for TriSports.com
from First Endurance contains the highest concentration of electrolytes of
any sports drink.
There are few absolutes in sports nutrition except this is one: First
Endurance EFS has more electrolytes per serving than any sports drink.
You use a sports drink during training and racing for three reasons:
Hydration, calories and electrolytes. While the principles of sports
nutrition are simple, the practice is more complex. Some athletes make it
so complex they use a “cocktail” of products during an event that is
logistically complex and stressful to the digestive system.
If one nutritional product could combine purposes and replace the need for
three or four additional products it would simplify race logistics, reduce
the amount of products you need to buy, mix and carry and avoid problems
with product interaction and gastric distress. First Endurance EFS is a
candidate for that multi-role nutritional product. It provides enough
electrolytes to replace electrolyte supplementation and delivers adequate
calories and fluid to almost completely reduce the need for other calorie
Using EFS from First Endurance may replace the need for additional
electrolyte supplementation during hot events.
No nutritional review is complete without a disclaimer of sorts, although
not the one you may expect. The doctrine that “no nutritional product
works for everyone” may be one of the greatest cop-outs of the popular
endurance sports culture. A better relative truth may be “You can train
your gastro-intestinal system to use any product during physical stress”.
While this doctrine eschews popular lore it becomes closer to consensus as
athletes become more experienced- and faster. Gastric distress is a common
limiter in long distance endurance events among newer athletes. Much of it
can be attributed to a lack of digestive acclimation under stress.
You can train your digestive system to perform under stress and train it
to specific products. Like every metabolic process, digestion is adaptive.
If your race preparation includes an emphasis on nutritional adaptation to
specific products under race-like stress and duration you will adapt. It’s
a personal question as to whether you prefer to adapt to a given
nutritional doctrine, or you prefer to find a set of nutritional products
that work without adaptation, a laborious and random process. Your best
nutritional doctrine may be somewhere between those two extremes, leaning
toward adaptation as finishing time becomes a greater priority to just
First Endurance EFS is also sold in a highly viscous energy gel that can
be diluted in a water bottle or taken straight during an event.
In a survey of nutritional products a light bulb appears over First
Endurance EFS. You could nearly do an entire long distance race using
mostly this product with only minor additional supplementation. That
notion is logistically elegant. Less bottles, less concoctions, less to
keep track of during an event.
Another advantage to EFS is its variable concentration. Fluid and caloric
needs change with weather. As it gets hotter athletes need more fluid and
generally tolerate lower concentrations of carbohydrate in sports drinks.
As it gets colder they will use more calories to maintain body temperature
and require less fluid relative to hot conditions. Knowing that, the best
sports drink would be “modular” and have a variable electrolyte
concentration depending on how it is diluted. First Endurance EFS is
“modular” since it can be diluted to a lower carbohydrate and electrolyte
concentration by simply adding water on the fly. Athletes can mix a
“master bottle” of EFS at high concentration in a regular over sized
bottle carried on their downtube and squirt that into a TorHans handlebar
mounted aerodynamic hydration system filled with water from aid station
bottles and tossed back into the aid station.
First Endurance also added malic acid to EFS. Found naturally in foods
like apples, malic acid is attributed to assist recovery after aerobic
exercise. Studies also suggest malic acid reduces muscle soreness and
fatigue during aerobic exercise.
Another endurance component of EFS is AjiPure’s Amino Acid Blend. Each
single scoop serving provides2,000 milligrams of amino acids L-Glutamine,
Leucine, Iso Leucine and Valine. AjiPure is the world’s largest supplier
of amino acids and has a background in endurance sports. The benefits of
amino acids in an endurance drink include enhanced glucose replacement and
better immune function.
There is a strong argument to using the nutritional products served in aid
stations at your “A” races. You carry less fluid on your bike, reducing
weight and streamlining logistics. You paid for the aid stations so you
may as well use them. First Endurance EFS still figures into the mix since
it can be used during ultra-distance training in addition to the products
used in the aid station of your “A” race which may not be as readily
available in your area. You can also carry enough EFS on your bike in
concentrated form to easily get through a 70.3 distance event while only
taking water at aid stations for dilution.
First Endurance EFS is worth understanding and experimenting with because
of its modular mixing capability and its high electrolyte content,
especially if you are using capsules to supplement electrolytes.
Incorporating EFS into your nutrition plan may allow you to go farther
with less products even faster. That potential benefit is worth exploring.
Review: Jamis Bossanova
By Karl Rosengarth
When asked to describe the idea behind the Bosanova, Greg Webber, the vice
president of product development at Jamis, had this to say: “Our Pacific
Northwest retailers had been asking us for a rain bike: steel-framed,
disc-brake equipped, drop-bar road bike (with fenders) for foul weather
commuting and/or training that would retail for less than $1,500.” To make
a long story short, Jamis mated the touring/ adventure geometry of their
Aurora with their racier Quest model and begat the Bosanova.
I found that the resultant all-around geometry worked well, considering
the bike’s versatile intentions. The Bosanova felt stable and held its
line through high-speed corners. Still, it dodged potholes and responded
quickly when pressed. Yes, a bike can be responsive without being
Fitting/adjusting the stem height was a breeze, thanks to the NVO
adjustable threadless system, which replaces the typical spacer stack with
a special shim that slips over the steerer tube, and uses a stem that’s
sized to fit over the shim. Simply loosen the stem bolt, slide the stem
up/down on the shim to the desired height, and retighten.
Adorning the double-butted chromoly frame are painted-to-match steel
fenders and Avid BB-5 cable-actuated disc brakes. From my first rainy-day
commute, I fell in love with the stopping power of the disc brakes. The
fenders covered enough of the wheels to deflect the vast majority of
spray, though my piggies did get a wee, wee wet on the way home.
Jamis positioned the rear fender and rack eyelets such that they don’t
interfere with the disc brake caliper. I easily mounted a rear rack with
no special adapters required. The chainstays proved long enough to provide
heel clearance for my 14”-wide rear panniers. With loaded rear panniers,
the Bosanova felt stable and predictable. I noticed some flex at the
bottom bracket, but it was minor and I’d have no concerns about touring on
the Bosanova. Overall, the Bosanova rode with the resilient and lively
feeling that I’ve come to associate with a chromoly steel bike.
The carbon fiber fork has eyelets at the dropouts and mid-leg. I didn’t
mount a front rack, but Jamis told me that the load limit for the fork is
30-35kgs. On rough roads, I noticed some fore-aft fork-leg flex, which
helped absorb some road vibration and soften the ride.
The mostly-Shimano-Tiagra drivetrain came with a 12-30-tooth cassette and
sported a FSA Vero triple crankset with PowerDrive BB (50/39/30-tooth).
The triple crank contributed to the bike’s versatility, and I loved having
the lower gears whenever hauling a load. Gear changes were smooth and
reliable, albeit not as crisp/ quick as higher-end Shimano 2x10 offerings.
On the recreational end of the spectrum, I enjoyed the bike’s smooth,
comfortable ride during multi-hour jaunts on both paved and unpaved
country roads. It was a snap to slam that adjustable stem down and get
into a more aggressive position when I felt like hammering out a training
The Vittoria Randonneur Cross 700x28c tires offered plenty of grip over
hard and soft surfaces, and rolled plenty fast. I mounted 38mm tires and
found ample frame/fork clearance, with just enough fender clearance to do
the trick. Jamis told me that, without fenders, the bike will fit tires as
wide as 42mm.
If you’re looking for an affordable, utilitarian road bike that’s
versatile enough to serve as your everyday commuter, and stands ready to
emerge from a nearby phone-booth and tackle a weekend filled with
adventure, then the Bosanova deserves to be on your short list.
Sizes Available: 48, 51, 54, 56 (tested), 58, 61cm
The Issue of Cramping
By Jeb Stewart MS, PES
We get a lot of athletes who
come to us with cramping issues these days so I figured I'd share my
thoughts and experience on this subject. Even if you are not currently
dealing with the issue of cramping, these simple tips might simply help
you get more out of your training and racing, as well as improve your
overall health and well-being.
In my 12+ years of experience
working with athletes I have noticed several common threads in cases where
people are plagued with cramps. These predispositions include:
1) Nutrition (electrolyte
2) Lack of specific endurance (whether aerobic or anaerobic)
3) Poor flexibility
4) Combinations of any of the above
To address nutritionally, eat a large spectrum of fruits and vegetables to
make sure you are getting in the proper nutrients that provide
electrolytes. Adding just one or two doesn't typically help since vitamins
and minerals work in synergy with one another, which is why a food-based
approach should be implemented first. If this isn't enough, then you may
need to supplement. When doing so, supplement
with a broad spectrum of electrolytes. Adding
just one can impair performance. So find an electrolyte supplement that
has it all. Two that I have used with success include
Also, be sure to limit
processed and high sodium foods. Taking in too much sodium causes the body
to excrete sodium at high levels in an attempt to balance the system. You
can always tell the athletes who take in too much sodium in their diet by
the white crust on the helmet straps, jerseys and mouths. As always,
cleaner eating leads to better performance.
at least 1 hour more of endurance, or 25% more specific intensity in your
legs than you need. If your races are 3 hours, then you likely need to be
able to ride 4, with the actual time that you will be racing to be done at
a similar intensity, made up of similar types of efforts. If your efforts
at shorter and harder, such as a 20 min time trial effort or 8 min hard
swim, then make sure you can do at least 25% more at race paced intensity.
This can be accomplished with shorter interval workouts that include
repeats of similar duration and intensity to what you experience in races
and of longer race-simulation rides such as training rides w/ friends or
group rides. Getting in at least 1 long ride a week in training is a good
idea if you are road racing. Not as necessary if you're racing 'cross, MTB
or crits unless your base is lacking.
On average, those who cramp often tend to have poor flexibility. If your
flexibility is lacking, then simply address this by statically stretching
your legs 3-5 x per week, hitting all of the major muscles and holding
each for 30 seconds at the end ROM, while relaxing and breathing deeply.
Use a foam roller on your legs just as often prior to stretching them
after your rides. Yoga and massage are also great modalities for improving
your muscle function, flexibility and to facilitate better recovery from
If you have a combination of any of these, then it looks like you've got
your work cut out for you. Not to worry though, as time and diligence will
get you there.
There are some cases where
none of the above will help. These cases are rare and often require
medical help. To seek the appropriate help, contact a sports medicine
specialist or a sports nutritionist. They will be able to guide you in the
Give these things a try in
the order they are listed in. Hopefully they will help, whether it's
overcoming your cramping issues or simply enhancing your performance.
Happy training and racing!
5 Things Every Endurance Athlete
by Mike Fogarty on July 2, 2012 in Nutrition Research, Race
Endurance nutrition is often the difference between a great race and a DNF.
Below are five of the most popular questions we get at First Endurance.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, just drop us a note
at research@firstendurance, use our twitter feed or the First Endurance
1. Is there an optimal percentage to shoot for of calories consumed vs.
calories burned during a workout?
Trying to consume the calories you burn during a workout is something that
is often misunderstood. During a workout you only need to focus on
replacing the glycogen you burn. Glycogen is your stored carbohydrates and
typically an athlete will have approximately 2-2.5 hours of stored
glycogen in their muscles and liver. Regardless of what you consume, your
body will transform it into working glucose-which is your working energy.
In other words, if you consume maltodextrin OR protein while exercising,
your body will convert it into glucose. While exercising you burn a
combination of carbohydrates and fat. At a slow pace it’s mostly fat and
at a pace near or above your aerobic threshold it’s mostly carbohydrates.
By knowing this, you can ‘guestimate’ how much you need to replace. If you
want to know exactly how much you need to replace you can undergo a
substrate utilization test.
A) In slow-paced workouts mean you burn primarily fat and hence do not
need to replace too many carbohydrates. For a 150lb athlete this may mean
B) For faster-paced workouts you burn more glycogen and, therefore, need
to replace these. For a 150lb athlete this may mean 250-350 calories/hour.
2. What’s special about the carbohydrate-blend used in the EFS Liquid
Shot and EFS Sports Drink.
This is a great question and is vitally important to endurance
performance! You have about 2 to 2.5 hours worth of stored glycogen
reserves. Once you run out of this stored glycogen, you bonk. In fact,
when your stored glycogen gets low, your performance starts to suffer.
Regardless of the distance you train or race, your body physiology works
the same. You must replace the carbohydrate calories you use in order to
sustain a high level of performance. Replacing these consistently and
rapidly means your body does NOT need to tap into its stored glycogen.
The First Endurance EFS drink mix and EFS Liquid Shots use a combination
of maltodextrin, sucrose and glucose, all of which are high-glycemic. All
three sources are absorbed very quickly so that your working muscles get
their carbohydrates from an external source (by ingestion) instead of
using up your stored glycogen. This means you’ll continue to have energy
for workouts or races that are one-hour long or even up to thirty-hours
long without bonking. It’s slow burning foods or carbohydrates that
actually cause a bonk in long-distance racing. When you consume a slow
burning fuel, your body must utilize its stored glycogen, which means you
body has to start using stored glycogen reserves. This is OFTEN
misunderstood. It also important to understand that maltodextrin, a high-glycemic
carbohydrate, has very fast absorption.
Using three high-glycemic carbohydrate sources is also critical because
carbohydrates are absorbed in different areas of the digestive system.
Consuming three sources at one time means you can absorb all three
concurrently in different areas of your digestive system. This results in
an ability to consume more carbohydrates/hour and is much easier on the
3. How far into a workout would you recommend using EFS Liquid Shot?
Would it be in conjunction with the EFS drink?
EFS Liquid Shot was designed to be used in conjunction with the EFS drink.
We suggest using the EFS drink as the source for the first 200-calories
per hour and the EFS Liquid Shot for any additional calories. So for
long-distance racing where an athlete might require 300-calories per hour,
it’s ideal to use 200-calories of EFS drink and 100-calories of the EFS
It’s also important to note that EFS drinks were formulated with 1160 mg
of electrolytes/serving, more than any other drink mix on the market. In
addition, the EFS liquid shot delivers over 1500mg of electrolytes per
flask. So if an athlete uses more calories per hour, they’ll also be
receiving additional electrolytes per hour as well. This was done
intentionally to eliminate the need for electrolyte pills, drops, etc…
With the EFS drink and EFS Liquid Shot combo, you can train and race with
confidence knowing you don’t have to worry about cramping or dehydration.
It’s also valuable to know that the EFS liquid shot goes into full
solution in water. It’s easy to pour the liquid shot into a water bottle,
top it off with water for a drink of almost any calorie needs you may
have. This is great for long distance mountain bike races, and in
situations where you don’t feel comfortable taking your hands off the bars
for very long. A lot of the professional riders we work with use it during
Flanders and Paris-Roubaiux
4. Would PreRace be saved for the hardest workouts and race days or
taken prior to every ride?
PreRace is definitely not a product to be used every day. For maximum
benefits, it’s best to use PreRace as a potent training supplement. It
allows you to push that intense workout past what you would normally be
able to handle. Doing this causes a natural adaptation to this pace and
intensity and makes for a potent training effect that can be replicated on
race day. We recommend using PreRace 1-2X per week and on race day.
5. Can you explain how Ultragen works and what it does?
Ultragen is a complete recovery drink designed specifically for endurance
athletes, formulated using only peak performing ingredients of the highest
quality. Ultragen’s many components are designed to work synergistically
in order to fully maximize recovery, providing the right nutrients to the
right place at the right time.
The Carbohydrate Catalyst: Ultragen’s nutrient delivery is driven
primarily by carbohydrates. Glucose (also known as Dextrose), with a
glycemic index over 100, is the fastest absorbed sugar available and
accounts for all of the carbohydrates found in Ultragen. This fast
absorption is critical to delivering nutrients to exhausted muscles during
the well-documented 30-minute window of opportunity following exercise.
Ultragen’s 60g of fast-absorbing glucose also creates a catalyst which
drives other recovery nutrients like protein, glutamine, branched-chain
amino acids, vitamins and minerals into the exhausted muscle.
Time-response Proteins: Ultragen is formulated using a unique
time-responsive protein matrix to maximize absorption through the entire
spectrum of recovery time. Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) is a
pre-digested, small molecular weight complete protein and the fastest
protein absorbed due to its small size and pre-digested peptide chains.
Ion exchange Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is also a low molecular weight
protein, absorbed more slowly than WPH. Milk Protein Isolate (MPI), fully
absorbable due to the unique quality of its isolate (which removes
carbohydrates and fats), is absorbed more slowly than both WPH and WPI.
Combining these three proteins allows the faster WPH and WPI to be
absorbed during that critical first 30 minutes, and the slower MPI to
remain and deliver the appropriate building blocks for slower processes.
L-Glutamine: Intense physical exercise drains Glutamine stores faster than
the body can replenish them. When this occurs, the body breaks down
muscles and becomes catabolic. Research indicates that 6g of Glutamine
supports glycogen and protein synthesis and increases nitrogen retention
better than carbohydrate/protein drinks alone. Ultragen is formulated with
6 grams of Glutamine and is one of the only endurance recovery products on
the market that includes this essential anabolic and anticatabolic
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): Considered the building blocks of the
body, BCAAs are important for muscle growth & recuperation. In addition to
building cells and repairing muscle tissue, BCAAs form antibodies that
combat invading bacteria & viruses. Your body cannot manufacture its own
BCAAs so they must be supplied through your diet and supplementation
Cortisol Modulation: Excess cortisol levels have been shown to suppress
the immune system, increase the risk of upper respiratory infections and
depress levels of testosterone. In addition, excessive cortisol levels can
put the body in a catabolic state- where it breaks down muscle and store
fat. Ultragen offers a synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals,
co-factors, glutamine and BCAA’s specifically designed to modulate the
damaging effects of cortisol brought on by intense endurance training.
Antioxidants: Training regimens for athletes cause more oxidative stress
than in the average individual. In fact, studies have shown that endurance
and strength training athletes produce more free radicals than sedentary
individuals. This oxidative stress not only causes damage to cells and
DNA, it may also limit aerobic capacity. Antioxidant supplementation helps
maintain the integrity of cell membranes, allowing oxygen to be carried
more efficiently and effectively to the working muscles. Damage to
membranes may compromise the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity, negatively
affecting aerobic performance. Antioxidants like vitamin C also have
powerful immune enhancing properties, beneficial because intense exercise
may cause a suppressed immune system in athletes. For example, an intense
aerobic bout may produce phlegm and coughing that lasts a few hours or a
few days. Vitamin C may help combat this suppressed immune function
allowing an athlete to train at a higher-level day in and day out.
Ultragen contains 800% RDA of vitamin C and 1250% RDA of vitamin E to help
further support recovery.
Essential vitamins, minerals and electrolytes: – Athletes, especially
endurance athletes, need higher levels of specific vitamins, minerals and
electrolytes to help restore energy levels, fight free-radicals and
maintain a healthy immune system. Ultragen provides the high-potency
vitamins, minerals and electrolytes your body requires to maximize
dznuts for Men:
The mission statement of DZ Laboratories is
choose it over others?
• Layers up on the surface of your skin with just the
right amount of slickness.
• Eliminate chaffing, the precursor of saddle sores
• Anti-inflammatory action soothes irritated skin
• Wound healing actives heal existing saddle sores.
• Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial reduces chance of
Bliss for Women:
Scientifically formulated for women's sensitive
skin by female cyclists
for Women: What's the Difference?
• Anti-bacterial: pre/probiotics complex reduces the
chance of infection and encourages beneficial skin
• Anti-inflamatory: decreases itching, prickling and
• Wound-healing: strengthens natural biological skin
defenses and promotes healing in previously
• Anti-chaffing: moisture absorbing polymers isolate
excess moisture, protecting delicate skin against the
chamois. Slight Tingle
Jamis Xenith Elite
A bike that costs
$2,000 may indeed be twice as good as one priced at $1,000. But as with
just about any product, at some point the gains in performance or quality
no longer track equally with increases in cost: You have to pay a lot more
to reap ever-smaller improvements. With bicycles, we consider five grand
to be the point of diminishing returns.
For that price you
can buy a bike like the Jamis Xenith Elite, which gives you most of the
performance of the
flagship Xenith SL. The differences include the use of a lower-modulus
carbon fiber on the less-costly model (though both bikes come from the
same mold). Also, instead of Shimano C35 tubulars, you get American
Classic 420 Aero 3 wheels and a slightly less expensive (and marginally
heavier) Ritchey cockpit. And the Elite weighs about 1.75 pounds more than
the SL. The difference in cost: $4,500—or about the price of a whole other
Is it worth it?
Based on my
experience, in terms of pure performance, the Elite is plenty of bike for
most of us. As much as I stomped this Jamis up the climbs outside Boulder,
Colorado, I never felt it lack for frame stiffness. On descents, the
moderate, stage-race geometry (matching 73-degree head and seat angles, a
43mm rake, and a 967mm wheelbase) offered perfectly mannered, neutral
handling that will keep up with you in a crit, but still let you sit up to
remove a layer without winding up in a ditch. On dirt-road sections it was
stiff enough to remind me it was a race bike, but never beat me up.
It was as much
bike as I will ever need. That's not to say it's as much bike as I could
ever appreciate—that's where the value of the most expensive models kicks
in. For some of us, the ability to experience the subtleties of how a road
feels, or extremely nuanced gains in performance or handling, are worth a
bigger cash outlay. And it's true that, as much as I liked the Elite, as
much as it was up to whatever challenge I threw at it, and as happy as I
would be riding it for years, I wasn't completely satisfied.
Classic 420 Aero 3 wheels, for instance, are reasonably light, but the
lateral stiffness, especially in the rear, didn't quite match that of the
frame. The brand has nicely balanced and tensioned wheels, but the 420 rim
is relatively narrow (19mm), which creates a tire profile that led to what
I interpreted as a slight squirminess under hard pedaling—a softness I
didn't find on the bike with wheels from American Classic or Shimano that
use wider rims. Also, I wish I'd been able to get full Gore housing,
instead of Jagwire over Gore cables, and a braze-on front derailleur
(because I like them and feel they lead to crisper shifting).
nitpicks, highlighted here solely to illustrate that, as silly as it might
sound, even $5,000 can lead to compromises—though maybe only if you're
thinking about what 10 grand gets you. The Xenith Elite is a superb race
bike. If you want to spend more, you won't have to justify it to me. I get
it. But dollar for dollar, the Xenith Elite is enough bike to satisfy
nearly any cyclist.—Joe Lindsey
BUY IT IF
You're an actuarial type who tries to maximize cost/benefit ratios
The Beauty of
Justin Park-Professional Triathlete
If you are inclined to read all of the books, articles and additional
forms of print media out there, you will quickly discover that the concept
of endurance performance nutrition is a complex and often difficult to
How many calories do I need per hour?
Should I consume my calories in liquid, gel or solid form? Or a
combination of all three?
Am I a heavy sweater? How much water do I need to stay hydrated?
Do I need to supplement with additional electrolytes, such as sodium?
How many grams of carbohydrates do I need per hour?
Should I also consume protein during exercise?
have a sensitive stomach, so how do I go about fueling without the added
risk of gastro-intestinal distress?
Just listing these types of questions can often overwhelm athletes and
leave them frustrated and confused before they even begin to determine
what fueling strategy works best for them. Yet I am here to tell you that
endurance performance nutrition does not have to be this complex.
In fact, it can be incredibly simple.
For those that don’t know, over the better part of the last year and a
half I have suffered from an unknown medical problem that confounded my
doctors for many months. Strange symptoms – such as elevated thyroid
stress hormone, atrial fibrillation (and subsequent cardioversion…an
electric shock I don’t wish upon anyone) and rapid but largely unexplained
weight loss – left physicians wondering where to start, much less how to
combat the illness. And as you can imagine, this type of problem
dramatically affected my training and racing performance.
After months and months of frustration and my own recurrent emotional
struggles of whether to continue my pursuit of professional triathlon,
doctors finally determined the cause of my issues. Simply put, I had been
suffering from an infection that severely compromised the health of my
digestive system and had been doing so for several YEARS. All of those
symptoms that, at first glance, appear not to have anything to do with the
health (or lack thereof) of the gut were largely just long-term effects of
my body slowly falling apart due to the duration of the infection.
Think of it in this way: Severe infection of the digestive system
compromises the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Lack of nutrient
absorption compromises the body’s ability to recover from strenuous
activity (such as 25-30 hours of training per week) and maintain the
overall health of all other systems of the body (cardiovascular,
endocrine, nervous, etc.). Long-term inability to sustain health leads to
the gradual deterioration of other parts of the body – in my case,
thyroid, heart, and so on.
As my doctor aptly put it, “If you drive for years with incredibly low oil
levels in your engine, eventually other parts of the engine are going to
Tremendously thankful to finally have an answer, I nevertheless remained
incredibly daunted by not only the level of destruction I had done to my
body but also the amount of treatment that would be necessary to restore
my overall health. After all, bringing the body back to a respectable
level of health was one thing. Getting it back to the level of performance
to compete with some of the best athletes on the planet was an entirely
But so began the task of ridding my body of infection and restoring me to
full health. As you can imagine, much of the treatment focused on the
digestive system and overall recovery of the gut – a process that was both
painful and unpleasant. Yet, slowly but surely, my situation started to
improve. I was able to resume some light training but not permitted to
complete anything of such duration so as to require fueling for
sustainability. At that point in time, trying to get my body to both
exercise (regardless of intensity) and try to digest nutrition would prove
a futile task.
Believe it or not, those restrictions existed as recently as early January
2012. Over the next several weeks, I was gradually able to extend the
duration of my training, supplementing with nutrition only to the barest
extent necessary. Finally, my health (although far from fully restored)
was going to be repaired sufficiently enough for me to handle the heavier
volume of a training camp in Tucson, Arizona in mid-February.
Nevertheless, my digestive system would still be severely compromised.
Therefore, doctors informed me that any nutrition I utilized during
exercise would have to be, in their words, “as simple as possible.” Just
hearing my doctors say that – um, a simple nutrition plan? – almost made
me laugh at them on the spot. Given that they controlled the dosages of my
medications, however, I felt that to be a somewhat inane response. So I
kept my mouth shut.
So what did I find at my training camp? Low and behold…and I can’t believe
I am even saying this…performance nutrition is incredibly simple. No
guesswork, no over-thinking and no problems. All I needed was the First
Endurance line of nutrition.
Keep in mind, with the slow return of my gut health, I was only in the
early stages of again starting to absorb calories and nutrients in my
training. And as a larger triathlete (6ft 3in and 170lbs) with the added
difficulty of having a high metabolism, the idea of dialing in my
nutrition (especially at this point in time) had seemed somewhat of a
But perhaps the simplicity of it all is best revealed through one sample
day of volume during the camp: a brutal 6-hour 30-minute training day
consisting of a 5-hour 15-minute bike, a 30-minute transition run off the
bike, and a 45-minute light aerobic swim to finish off the day.
Believe it or not, I completed the entire day of training using only First
Endurance’s EFS Electrolyte Drink (fruit punch flavor) and EFS Liquid Shot
(vanilla flavor). I had a solid and substantial breakfast in the morning
before beginning the day’s training and then fueled my way through all of
the workouts with only those two products. No over-thinking, no additional
supplementation of electrolytes, and no worries. To top it off, I felt
almost as good at the end of the day as I did before the workouts even
Incredibly simple nutrition, and incredibly effective. With my calorie
needs and a truly compromised digestive system, you would never think it
could be that easy. But it is.
Now, imagine how easy fueling can be for an athlete with a normal
Cold Weather Riding - Bring It On!
athletes put a large emphasis on their training programs, their
equipment and their nutrition to assure they reach their goals. First
Endurance consults with hundreds of these athletes primarily on
nutrition and how to best fuel your body for long distance racing.
Through these consultations with beginners, veterans, elite amateurs and
professionals it is quite clear that carbohydrates and how they should
be used is vastly misunderstood.
Much of what
is misunderstood is likely driven by the media’s generalization of
nutrition topics. Often you hear ‘eating too much sugar makes you fat
and is bad for you.’ Furthermore clinical data performed on the
general population is often extrapolated to endurance trained athletes,
who do not fit this category. This has lead to some misunderstanding
and misconceptions about carbohydrates. Below are the four most common.
Sugars are high glycemic* so they give a sugar high then crash.
all sugars into the category of high glycemic is false. Some sugars
are high glycemic, some are moderate and some are low. Foods also
have a glycemic index and many have been measured. The only way to
truly know what a foods glycemic index is, is to look it up or have it
will find the glycemic index of the more common sugars:
99 ± 3
85 ± 15
68 ± 5
nectar 30 ± 5
20 ± 5
Complex Carbohydrates like Maltodextrin are slow burning
This is one
of the most common misconceptions and is also directly related to
misconception #1 & #4. Maltodextrin is one of the highest glycemic
index carbohydrates available. Its because its high glycemic load that
it actually works so well as a primary carbohydrate in many energy
drinks. More specific its because it has a low osmolarity and is
absorbed quickly that it works so well while exercising.
Sugar is bad for my health.
this should state is: Highly refined (empty calorie) high glycemic sugar
during rest is bad for my health. Consider that fruits and vegetables
and grains are primarily sugar, would one state that adding more
vegetables, fruits and whole grain to one’s diet is bad? No.
Unfortunately many consumers forget that these highly nutritious foods
are almost all sugar. Sugar (as glucose) is the primary fuel that your
body and brain runs on. Glycogen is our stored energy source and
glucose is our circulating energy source. ALL nutrients, including fat
or fiber ultimately get broken down into glucose so your body can run
efficiently. Trying to eliminate sugar is like trying to run your car
So what is
bad about sugar? Consuming a high glycemic highly refined food when
you are hungry causes a sugar high, strong insulin response, then a
sugar crash. This ultimately can lead to insulin resistance and
diabetes. This also causes consumers to eat more because with each
sugar crash they crave more food.
taking a couple hand fulls of Rice Chex (GI=89), a short time later you
feel emptiness (due to the sugar crash) and repeat the cycle. This
leads to numerous health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes and
weight gain. Lets be clear here that it was not sugar that is the
culprit, but a high glycemic choice while at rest**. Now if you added
some protein or fat to that snack choice, like nuts or an avocado you
have effectively reduced the glycemic index and will not get the sugar
high/sugar crash result.
You choose to have a piece of gluten free wheat bread (GI=90). Sugar
high, sugar crash..repeat. Most don’t associate gluten free wheat
bread as being a bad choice, but then again most don’t clearly
understand the implications of glycemic index. Add a bit of peanut
butter to the bread which is primarily protein and fat and you have
reduced the glycemic index and hence stabilized blood sugar.
examples you can clearly see that its not the sugar that is the culprit
in bad health, but the high glycemic choice. In both examples you can
consume the same amount of sugar, but greatly improve its effect on your
health by eliminating the effects of a high glycemic cycle.
Since I am doing a long race, I should consume slow burning
opening paragraph we stated that clinical data on the general population
does not extrapolate to endurance athletes.
From the misconception #3 you should have learned that high glycemic
foods result in a sugar high and sugar crash. This is true in all
situations EXCEPT when you are exercising and immediately following.
Many athletes have taken what they learn from the media and have
concerned themselves with consuming sugar and hence opted for a more
sustained energy flow coming from maltodextrin (a complex
carbohydrate). This is wrong on three counts.
you are exercising your insulin is blunted. Meaning, that when you are
exercising and you consume a high glycemic food, you do not get a strong
insulin response and hence you do not get a sugar crash. Your body is
very smart and it clearly understands that when you are exercising you
want to use the food or drink you consume to fuel your muscles. If
insulin kicked in, the food or fuel you consumed would not get to the
2) Athletes tend to choose
maltodextrin, which is a good choice, but do so for the wrong reasons.
As you learned from misconception #1 maltodextrin is actually high
glycemic not low glycemic. Hence maltodextrin is a good choice because
it is fast absorbing, not because it’s slow absorbing.
3) Looking for that low
glycemic, slow sustained energy will actually cause you to bonk
prematurely. Some even consider using some fat because they are going
long. Understand that we all have about two hours of stored glycogen.
Once this runs out, we bonk. If you consume a slow absorbing/low
glycemic food while exercising you are forcing your body to rely on its
stored glycogen. The entire goal of fueling for long endurance racing
is to spare your muscle glycogen. In other words do what you can to
hold on to that stored glycogen. The best way to do this, outside of
appropriate pace and training, is to consume primarily fast absorbing
carbohydrates to fuel your exercise. This will allow you to immediately
use what you consume for the working muscle, so you can spare your
stored muscle glycogen.?
The act of consuming slow
nutrients can also cause gastric distress. Consider that slow absorbing
nutrients spend a lot of time in the digestive system. Doing this while
exercising simply backs up the digestive system and does not allow for
those fast nutrients to get absorbed. Often athletes cannot understand
why they bonked when they consumed a large amount of calories. The
simple answer is that they likely consumed slow calories that did not
absorb before their glycogen ran out. And often you feel this through
considerable stomach discomfort.
index is the measure of your blood sugar response following the
consumption of food. High glycemic foods result in a sugar high. Low
glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly and result in a steady blood
sugar response. Adding fat, protein or fiber to any food effectively
reduces its glycemic index. Though there are two scales used, the more
common scale measures glycemic index from 0 to 100.
rest your insulin works efficiently to bring high circulating glucose
down. While exercising the body wants the high circulating blood glucose
to be driven to the working muscles as fuel. Hence, while exercising
insulin is blunted, so eating a high glycemic food does NOT result in a
research has proved that during exercise carbohydrates can be absorbed
concurrently in multiple channels. Consuming several carbohydrate
sources will allow the endurance athlete to better absorb the fuel
needed to sustain endurance activity.
photo courtesy of Eric Wynn photography