T Nation

PWO Meal for Endurance Sports


Hey guys:

Anyone have any links to articles dealing with PWO/peri-workout for endurance sports? Any advice from endurance athletes?

I'm training a client who is hardcore "paleo" and trying to get him to up his carbs, especially peri-workout. I'm in charge of his strength training program and advising him on his cycling program. He is training for the Triple Bypass which is an hellacious 120 mile ride with 10,000 feet of vertical climbing.


The client would like to drop ten or so pounds of fat during the next six months of training, and getting him to ingest carbs is tough. He's an MD, and is particularly hard to convince... he likes to see the science.

I've suggested "Surge" as being an effective alternative to gatorade, as well as Endurox R4. I remember reading that mixing protein with carbs helps with insulin response and glycogen uptake, but I'm not as up on my PWO knowledge for endurance sports as strength sports.

I've also reccomended that he increase his Omega 3s. He's taking 2 Fish Oil caps a day right now, but he has knee problems, so I'm trying to get him to up his Fish Oils to help with inflammation and the cellular damage from the time in the cycle saddle.

Help, please!

Dan "120 miles with 10,000 vertical feet? Let's take the Hummer." McVicker


Don't know too much about endurance work and periworkout nutrition, but I will add that for endurance work, gatorade ain't gonna cut it. If he's doing some kind of endurance work that is resulting in significant fluid losses, he'll want to get in a bunch more sodium then Gatorade contains. How much exactly is debatable, but I think the literature I have says something like 50-100 mmol/L sodium is sufficient to promote replacement of plasma volume after mild (about 2-3% bw) dehydration.

Maughan, R.J. & Leiper J.B. (1995) Sodium intake and post-exercise rehydration in man. Eur J Appl Physiol, 71, 311-319

It's very well something you're already aware of, however, I just wanted to make sure it was said.

A good gatorade substitute specifically for rehydration is chicken soup. Maybe keep that in mind for after the race:

Ray, M. L., Bryan M. W., Ruden T. M., Baier S. M., Sharp R. L. and King D. S.(1998). Effect of sodium in a rehydration beverage when consumed as a fluid or meal. Journal of Applied Physiology ,85 (4), 1329-1336.


I use Surge, but keep it diluted. Say 1 scoop p/ liter.

I am not a fan of Endurox R4 just because the protein they use in it is isloate, which may be "fast" it isn't as fast as it needs to be.

Surge is a great product but make sure he trains with it. It can get tricky to digest so make sure you tweak the water appropriately.

Don't keep Surge as his only energy though. 120 miles, definitely some Gels. Avoid anything with antioxidants, caffeine, or protein. AKA the product named GU is NOT a good choice. The antioxidants actualy speed up muscle breakdown in an endurance event.


Knee problems could also be issues with his posterior chain not being recruited enough.

Are you having him do stride runs?


I was thinking the same thing re: the knee. As an aside, and not to hijack too much, I've read that better cyclists will use more glute/hams then inexperienced ones. What techniques do you use to make this happen?


Yep. Especially when cycling. If you watch someone's quads they don't really contract fully.

There are many techniques. One of the best is just single leg pedaling. Have him unclip one foot and pedal with the other on a full spin and alternate.


Surge is near perfect following endurance activities. No need to dilute it, just mix normal strength and have a serving immediately after activity and another an hour later following long training sessions.

As for teaching him to use the posterior chain in cycling, he can perform specific cycling drills on the trainer where he focuses on driving his pedal stroke with his heel down, as opposed to toes down. He might also want to change his position on the bike, but he really should have someone familiar with this help him. There's a good chance he could make things worse otherwise.

He should enjoy the Triple Bypass, it's a fun training ride! Try to get him over the whole paleo thing, though. Gatorade Sports Nutrition has some good science based articles on why he should be consuming carbs before, during, and after his rides. He'll perform much better and have more fun if he eats appropriately for the activity.


I was talking dilution during the event. Not after.

Really he shouldn't be following the P+F P+C plan. It's a great plan but not for endurance trainees.


No--assuming this is a running and not a cycling technique.

The knee problems are definitely injury related (skiing). He had knee surgery back in the dark ages of the seventies, and one of the chambers of his knee joint now has no cartilage. Orthopedists continue to recommend a total knee replacement, but he's unwilling to go that direction.

This creates some ROM issues and any sort of impact training is out, which is why he picked up cycling in the first place.

Per the posterior chain argument, deadlifts, squats, and the power versions of the oly lifts are on the menu. I am not his cycling coach--I'm operating from ignorance, there--but I will recommend some of the specific drills you folks have illustrated.

Thanks for the help, I'll try to get my facts straight with PWO Endurance nutrition before I present him with my nutritional recommendations. Since most of his training is saddle-time, it makes no sense for me just to give him recommendations for the strength training side.

I remember reading something about Surge being good for soccer players--I'll try to find that article as well.

Dan "Likes cardio ... in theory." McVicker


Actually, I know of quite a few elite road cyclist who follow this type of diet with great success. For the most part they don't get carried away with worrying about having a couple grams too much carbs or fat, but they limit fat intake with high carb meals and keeps the carbs low with higher fat meals.