Solid food with Perpetuem?

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Solid food with Perpetuem?

Postby 5280doug » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:14 pm

I have some questions about Perpetuem usage over multi hour races.

I have been racing 70.3 events for the last two years, using Hammer products as my sole source of fuel. I have a gel before my race begins, then on the bike I start in with a mixture of 4 scoops of Perpetuem + two scoops of Heed + 5 small scoops of Enduroylyte powder (totaling 160 carbs) to last approximately 2-2.5hr. I finish the bike and the rest of the race with a flask of Hammer Gel. I consume an appropriate amount of water with all of the above.

Without fail, at the 40mi mark on the bike I hit a wall and feel completely depleted and famished. I can barely make it to mile 56. I slowly regain my strength along the run and "finish strong."

I train in race conditions and follow the same fueling plan with the exact same results. I also think that I'm in great physical shape and can't seem to get past this "issue."

I normally end a workout with a mixture of Recoverite + some extra whey protein. However, today I had solid food (sandwich and grapes) post-workout. After only the second bite of solid food I felt amazing and was ready to get after a 13.1mi run!

Is there something to this? Am I missing something by relying solely on liquids? Does anyone out there supplement with solid foods? If so, what works best for you?

Steve...any suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


I'm a 34yo male, 5'8, 160lbs.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Solid food with Perpetuem?

Postby steve-born » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:29 am

Hello Doug -

I'd encourage you to check out my article
"Tips for a Successful Half or Full Iron Distance Triathlon"( ... n-tips.pdf) as I think it will provide some good information for you, at least some of which may resolve the issues that you're experiencing. Basically, it's kind of a "cheat sheet" that I wrote in answer to the question, "If you were doing a half or full iron distance race, what would you do fueling-wise?"

After reading your email a couple things come to mind:

1) Make sure that you're not consuming any calories in the 3-hour period prior to the race. Doing so will accelerate the rate at which your body utilizes its finite stores of muscle glycogen. In the article "15 Simple Ways To Improve Your Athletic Performance Right Now" ( ... .2227.html), Number 13 states the following:

For workouts and races over 60 minutes in length, finish a pre-exercise food or fuel three hours prior to starting

Let's assume you've been really good, you've been training hard (yet wisely) and remembering to replenish your body with adequate amounts of high quality calories as soon as possible after each and every one of your workouts. Great! You've now built up a nice 60-90 minute reservoir of premium muscle glycogen, the first fuel your body will use when your long race begins. Don't blow it now by eating something an hour or two prior to the start of the race!

Do you know what happens when you eat within three hours of exercise? Your muscle glycogen stores get burned much more rapidly and in long-duration events that's definitely not performance enhancing! For workouts and races lasting longer than 60 minutes (perhaps up to 90 minutes at the most), refraining from calorie consumption for the three-hour period prior to the start is crucial because you want to preserve your glycogen stores, not accelerate their depletion.

During shorter distance races, however, accelerated rates of glycogen depletion/utilization are not problematic so following the “three hour rule” isn't a necessity. You don't need the calories for energy (muscle glycogen stores will take care of the majority of that), but the presence of carbohydrates will elevate glycogen utilization. That's what you want for a short race. If you eat something 1-2 hours prior to the start of a short-duration race, thus causing the insulin "flood gates" to open, yes, you will be depleting your glycogen stores at maximum rates. However, at this distance it's a beneficial effect, as glycogen depletion is not an issue when the race is over within, at most, 90 minutes.

Bottom line: Fast three hours prior to the start of a longer-duration event (60-90+ minutes). For shorter events, consuming a small amount of fuel an hour to two prior to the start may enhance performance.

--- END ---

Number 14 adds to this thread...

Don't sacrifice sleep to eat a pre-exercise meal

OK, you're convinced that it's a good idea to eat at least three hours prior to the start of your workout or race. “But wait,” you say. “My race starts at 7 a.m. Are you telling me I have to get up at 3 a.m. or so just to eat?” Well, you could get up to eat if you're so inclined, but you don't have to. The fuel you've got stored in the muscles? It's going to be there, full strength, even after a night-long fast (really). In the morning your brain may be saying, “I'm hungry,” but your muscles are saying, “Hey, we're good to go.”

Bottom line: do not sacrifice sleep just to eat. If you've got an early-morning workout or race, the best strategy is:

* Eat a high quality meal the night before (topping off liver glycogen stores)
* Get an adequate amount of sleep
* Have 100-200 calories of easily digested fuel (Hammer Gel is ideal) 5-10 minutes prior to the start

That's right, 5-10 minutes prior, not one or two hours prior. The key, in terms of muscle glycogen depletion rates, is in the timing. If you must eat before the start of your race, you need to complete consumption three hours prior. If that's not logistically feasible, have a little something 5-10 minutes prior. Do that and you won't expend your hard-earned glycogen too rapidly.

--- END ---

If you follow the two above-listed recommendations, both in your training and in your races, I have no doubt you will notice a positive difference in your endurance.

2) With 4 scoops of Perpetuem (135 calories per scoop) you have 540 calories. With 2 scoops of HEED (100 calories per scoop) you have 200 calories. The total of the two combined is 740 calories. Over a 2-hour time period that's 370 calories per hour; over a 2.5-hour time period that's 296 calories per hour.

In either secnario, for sure in the first one (2-hour time duration), I believe that you are over-supplying your body with calories, especially given your body weight of 160 lbs. With you consuming this many calories over a 2 - 2.5 hour period it is surprising to hear that you feel depleted and famished... I would have certainly expected more issues with bloating and nausea.

At any rate, I would like you to try cutting back a bit on your calories so that you're coming in with a total of closer to 230-250 an hour. I think that's a more appropriate amount for you and will help minimize the amount of fluids and electrolytes that are being diverted away from the working muscles and to the digestive tract, which can make one feel lethargic.

You can still use your Perpetuem/HEED combination, though if I were doing a half iron distance triathlon I would rely solely on Perpetuem for my calories during the bike portion, I would take Endurolytes (or use Endurolytes Powder) to take care of electrolytic mineral needs, and I would drink plain water to fulfill fluid requirements. Using Perpetuem only, I think that 4.5 scoops would easily fulfill your calorie requirements during a 2.5-hour bike portion. That'd give you 243 calories per hour. If the bike portion will take you closer to 2.25 hours that amount of Perpetuem would give you 270 calories per hour, which I would suggest is the upper limit for someone of your body weight.

3) Going "liquid only" is, at least to some degree, an acquired skill and I personally believe that using liquid fuels as much as possible is the best route to go. The reason I say that is because whenever solid food is consumed, it takes the body more time and energy to break down the solid food and get it through the GI tract. It took me awhile to get to this point but I can easily go with an all-liquid diet for up to 12 hours. It's not terribly exciting to do this but by using a liquid fuel I am not taxing my body any more than I already am, which simply means I'm not asking it to help digest solid food while also trying to get me down the road as quickly and efficiently as possible.

That said, a little solid food is certainly fine, should you feel the need to consume some. I just believe that solid food is more of a luxury and not a necessity, that's all. If you do want to consume a little solid food during the bike portion of your race, just make sure that you use it sparingly and that you consume high-quality solid foods (stay away from refined sugar, saturated fat, and high amounts of fiber). To me, fruit such as bananas is always a good way to obtain some high-quality solid food calories that are also easy to digest.

4) If you're not already doing so, I would suggest that you consider the use of Anti-Fatigue Caps and Endurance Amino prior to and every hour during your prolonged workouts and races.

When you take Anti-Fatigue Caps prior to and every hour during your 2-3+ hour workouts and races you supply the body with potassium/magnesium aspartate, l–citrulline, and OKG, all of which help to neutralize the negative effects of fatigue–causing excess ammonia accumulation.

When you take Endurance Amino prior to and during your workouts and races you provide the primary “used–in–the–energy–cycle” amino acids (the BCAAs). The BCAAs in Endurance Amino, along with the BCAAs that naturally occur in the soy protein component in Perpetuem, helps prevent the muscle tissue from being broken down to satisfy the 5% – 15% of the body’s energy requirements. The result is less fatigue–causing ammonia to accumulate and less muscle tissue that will be broken down and needing to be repaired during the recovery process.

You also supply the body with l–alanine. The liver can convert l–alanine into glucose as needed (I like to think of it as an “emergency” energy supply), which the bloodstream transports to the muscles for energy. L–alanine also aids in the synthesis of pantothenic acid (vitamin B–5), which is needed for protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Lastly, you provide the body with glutathione, which is one of the most potent antioxidants there is, with an Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) rating of 12,000+. Dr. Misner writes, “Decline in endurance performance may parallel decline in glutathione concentrations imposed by the aging process.” That alone makes taking glutathione during exercise sound like a very rational idea to me.

Glutathione also facilitates the transport of amino acids which, hypothetically, will assist in directing the amino acids in Sustained Energy and Perpetuem to wherever they’re needed (one athlete reported that taking Endurance Amino is like “supercharging” Perpetuem).

Endurance Amino is a product that I take prior to and after all of my workouts, even the short ones, and it's one I take hourly during anything longer than 2 hours.

5) On a non-fueling basis, I'm sure that after two years of doing 70.3 races you know how to pace yourself properly. Still, I would encourage you to look at your splits to make sure that you're not going out too hard during the 1 - 1.5 hours on the bike. As you can imagine, if you go out too hard during the initial stages of any workout or race, you're most likely going to have some energy issues

That's all I can think of at this time and I hope that this information and these suggestions will be helpful to you.

Sincerely -

Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
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Re: Solid food with Perpetuem?

Postby 5280doug » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:47 am

Wow, thank you so much for this reply. I'll implement all of your recommendations and let you know how things turn out.

Again, I truly appreciate your help!!

- Doug
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:48 pm

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