Cutting Back on Supplements

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Cutting Back on Supplements

Postby RAAMrider » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:47 am


A few years back I read your Epic Ride write-up that discusses the supplements you take on an hourly basis. I modified it a bit for how much I weigh and how much energy I figure I'm putting out. For the last 3 years I've used the supplements at the same ratio during training and events with no problems. Although I have to admit that when I'm training I don't always get my pills on the hour every hour and I lose track and then try to get back on schedule by taking them every hour.

This past weekend I participated in the Grand Tour and did the 400 mile option. I had a crew that was sagging for me and so it was easier to keep track on time and make sure I took my pills every hour. For the first 14 hours everything was fine, but between the 14th and 15th hour my stomach started to churn and I started feeling a little nausea, not bad, but definitely noticeable. My body started craving water, so, for the next hour I took in nothing but water. The next hour I starting using my Sustained Energy and Head mixture (2 Scoops & 1 Scoop) to get my 300 calories an hour back. At the 16 hour point I took a supplement pack and my stomach starting churning again, so, for the rest of the ride I went supplement free because I didn't want to "chance it." I finished the 400 in 25 hours and 19 minutes, which isn't a very good time, but if you've ever done that ride I think they search for every stop light and stop sign they can find and then plan accordingly(just kidding).

I've read articles by you before that say you can't really train like you race because you can't duplicate the conditions. I certainly don't have 24 hour training rides that would allow me to find out at what point my body is going to tell me enough is enough. I usually have training a ride on the weekend that is between 10 and 14 hours and it's never been an issue before. The weather conditions were about the same as during my training, maybe 5 degrees warmer.

Finally, to my real question(s), thought you may need the background.

1) If your having stomach problems is going to just water and adding back in the way to go, or, are some of the supplements more likely than others to cause stomach problems and I can just cut them out and not miss out on the benefits of the others.

2) Should my strategy be to cut back on hourly supplements on really long rides to every 1.5 or 2 hours because as the body weakens it can't tolerate what it can when it's stronger.


John Cox
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Re: Cutting Back on Supplements

Postby steve-born » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:25 pm

Hello John -

First, please accept my sincere congratulations on a job well done at the Grand Tour. I know that area quite well, having lived in Thousand Oaks, then Topanga, for more years than I can remember. I have done literally thousands of miles on most every road there is in the Ventura County/Santa Barbara County area, and I know how tough many of the climbs you had to do are. Finishing a "quad" at all is hard enough; finishing one in 25:19 is damn good... you should feel very satisfied with your effort, especially with all of the stopping and starting you had to do, thanks to all of the stop signs/lights on the route (it's really hard to get into a consistently smooth rhythm when you have to deal with a number of stop signs or lights).

I have a couple thoughts I want to share with you and I hope they'll answer your questions:

1) In that particular article, I am suggesting a lot of supplements - Race Caps Supreme, Mito Caps, Anti-Fatigue Caps, Endurance Amino, and Endurolytes. Being able to take that many different products, as well as the various dosages I've suggested, is definitely a learned skill. However, after three years of testing this particular protocol, it sounds like you've got your supplement program dialed in.

2) I always give top priority to Endurolytes over any other encapsulated supplement, simply because it's a part of my fuel, as important as anything I'm eating or drinking. The other supplements? They've all got a lot of benefits attached to them but they NEVER take priority over Endurolytes.

3) While the nausea you experienced may very well have been attributed to the constant intake of supplements (it is a lot of pills to take on an hourly basis), I'm looking at your calorie intake and am wondering if it's a bit too high.

*** Two scoops of Sustained Energy = about 213 calories
*** One scoop of HEED = 100 calories

TOTAL: 313 calories per hour.

Personally, unless you're a larger-size athlete, like I am, I think that's a bit high on the calorie intake hour after hour. When I did the Double Furnace Creek 508 record, during which I was on my bike for a bit over 75 hours, I weighed in at 185-or-so pounds (that was my "ripped to the bone" weight), and I rarely consumed 300-or-more many calories per hour. Instead, I let the 1000's of calories from body fat stores make up the deficit between what I was burning and what I knew my body could comfortably accept from my fuel donation. Yes, every once in awhile I would have a higher-than-normal calorie intake, but for the most part I kept it under 300/hour. I had no stomach issues at all and no "lack of calories" energy issues either.

You didn't mention how much you weigh but I'll bet you could easily get by, with no lack-of-energy issues at all, if you lowered your hourly calorie intake a bit. Remember, if you feel you're getting too low on calories you can always increase the amount you're consuming. However, if you're overdoing it on the calories, that's a longer, harder problem to resolve (once those calories go in they're not coming out... at least not the way you want them to).

4) I can't think of any particular nutrient in any of the supplements that would, in and of itself, cause stomach distress. I will say that when I've attempted (all in the name of "science"!) to do very large intakes of certain supplements, the Mito Caps - in particular the lipoic acid component - tends to give me a little heartburn. Again though, that's only when I'm taking a lot more capsules than I normally would.

5) Specifically to your first question, if you're overdoing it on the calories (and I think you may be just a little bit), and if you're feeling bloated or nauseous, then yes, I think that backing off and going with water only for a bit is the right strategy. As long as you don't wait for a ridiculously long time to start back on the calories, your body is not going to have any issues... it's pretty smart and will adapt accordingly.

6) Also in regards to your first question, if it were me, I would (as mentioned earlier) always give Endurolytes top priority. If my body tells me, "Hey, I need a break from taking all these supplements for an hour or two" I'm going to listen to it and stop taking the other supplements, except Endurolytes, until any stomach issues clear up. Now, not taking into account Endurolytes (because I'm always going to take those), if I absolutely had to make a choice between all of the other supplements, I think I would give them the following hierarchy:

#1 - Anti-Fatigue Caps
#2 - Endurance Amino
#3 - Race Caps Supreme
#4 - Mito Caps

7) In regards to your second question, absolutely. If your body tells you that it can't handle all of these supplements hourly, take a break for an hour or two, or cut back on the frequency so that you're taking them every 1.5 - 2 hours. Just remember to take Endurolytes hourly and, if necessary, either stop taking the other supplements altogether for a couple hours or cut back on how frequently you're taking them.

I think I've covered everything, John, and I hope I've been able to answer your questions. If you need more information or clarification, please let me know.

Congratulations again on the completion of a successful quadruple century!

Sincerely -

Steve Born
Fueling Expert
Event Sponsorship Coordinator
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