Listen here for Endurance Sports Nutrition advice on a recent chat and chill session with Theia

Sports Nutrition Chat and Chill ride guest interview opportunity with Theia Friestedt. October 16th 2017

Who knew that you could cycle, play Zwift, and give sports nutrition advice all at the same time AND have a hurricane (Ophelia) going on outside.

So I had the opportunity yesterday to turn my training session into an advice giving session all at the same time along with fellow Zwifters all under Zwift leader Theia’s guidance. Let’s just say that my multi-tasking can do with a bit of work, but, if you listen in and pay attention you will get some gems to assist your nutrition journey.

Sports Nutrition with Andrea Cullen

Follow the Volyoom link here: and here is the direct link to YouTube: Zwift Chat and Chill with Nutritional Therapist Andrea Cullen

Cycling topics discussed this week

During the Zwift ODZ Chat and Chill ride this week, I interviewed Andrea Cullen, a talented Nutritional Therapist with a background in Functional Medicine and Pharmacy, to get her perspectives on sports nutrition for endurance athletes, including:

  • When and what to eat before and during bike rides and training sessions
  • Fat adaptation
  • Carbohydrate periodization

Watch the video to find out the answers! Below are a few links to additional resources, as well as Andrea Cullen’s contact information and blog:

I followed this chat up the following comments on facebook that may add to your knowledge:

Hi there is a question about nutrition periodisation. Great question and this is what it is all about.

The best place to start is with a piece of paper  called where are you now. What are your goals, where in your training cycle? Then after this look at your diet. Keep a journal. I do recommend an expert here but that said we are all smart here. Nutrition is quite simple if you keep to basics. Focus on real food. So keep a journal for a few days. Where can it improve? Typical issues are lacking protein in morning and lunch, poor choice of fats, too many of the processed ones hidden in foods and not enough of the good ones; then lacking vegetables. Can you eat more fish? Do you eat too many fruits, sugars, breads and processed carbs? Do you fuel adequately before and after sessions. Do you over rely on products? Are you over eating? Or under? Do you listen to appetite?

Where can we make steady improvements.

Planning ahead, bulk cooking, bringing lunch to work, all make life easier ultimately. Then look at quality of protein. Balance of animal and vegetarian foods. Cooking skills etc. I give clients resources and charts to help. So this step is important: where are you now and what can improve before you even start to look at the specifics.

Then get your calender out. On Sunday night! What is the week ahead like? Where must I plan ahead? What are session goals? This is most important question. I do all this for all clients and there are so many scenarios but basically look at session and ask “what am I trying to achieve”. If you have a low slow steady session then you may have opportunity for low carbohydrate/ fasted/ or protein fat and veg meal. Which choice you make ‘depends’. If not too long you may be able to only drink water / electrolytes. If longer natural foods with mostly carb and some protein. E.g. banana and cheese! Dates and slice of parma ham, home made bar, baby potatoes. Then eat when hungry after your session. Delaying food may assist adaptation but don’t go too low or if next session tough you may need to recover in time making eating after your session more important.

If you are facing a session with strength, power, intensity, tempo or working on high end zones (then) eat some carbs with little bit of protein before and after (you can add vegetables or fruits also). Otherwise you will reduce the quality of session and recovery after.

Out of competition season is your chance to make big gains. In competition it is a little more challenging to make drastic changes other than be consistent  keep making food choices good.

Iron-man training or large volume weeks create challenges that may benefit from guidance as double sessions make fasted or low carbohydrate sessions more challenging as you may impact subsequent sessions. But that said, a high intensity morning session ( fuelled) followed by high protein veg and fat for rest of the day and easy low steady session later may work! Because withholding carbs afterwards but still eating protein to recover will keep you in low carbohydrate availability state.

The body is very smart…the more you learn to work with it the better. Say thanks! It’s a miracle to be healthy. Develop a good relationship with food. It’s not the enemy. Stress and negative thoughts impact the response to a meal…mind boggling eh!!

And when I finally plucked up the courage to listen to myself I added this comment: I was just listening over this to ensure that I answered everything adequately. It’s not easy cycle, talk and think at the same time; so much for multitasking! There was one point that I forgot in relation to the low blood sugar issues/ bonking during a ride; was it Amy that asked? There are slow release products that may assist this such as UCAN (, and EthicSport very exciting new starch product here in Europe (…/p719822-super-dextrin.php) Hammer nutrition endurance products are also slower in release such as perpetuem and sustain but they do have more soya than I like in them. I have tried UCAN myself but didn’t find a performance benefit for me personally but perhaps I didn’t need this product.

I use BORN pepto pro carb drink on the bike it is a Dutch product and contains a small amount of amino acid peptides as well as carbohydrates and I find it works well for me alongside water with electrolytes and chews and gels and dates (I am talking specifically about racing here). But that said my boyfriend who will be racing the same race as me will use High-5 products so you see how we all have our preferences  . I have also found that a low salt during a race can feel very similar to a low blood sugar level (I learnt that the hard way I was pretty much dreaming about a salt-cellar while 80km into a 70.3 in Ireland. Not a hot day either so a big lesson in how some of us benefit from salt.) and some athletes using generic products like Nuun and Zym and Hi 5 electrolytes are not matching their sweat sodium loss and need a higher concentration product (precision hydration have an interesting online test but if you can get the real deal sweat testing this is very helpful to you).

it is very much trial and error I know! But we are all so unique and individual when it comes to salts, carbs, metabolic flexibility, food preferences, gastro function, anxiety and nerves and so on. Never mind our fitness, race intensity and pace!!

Also was it Ian? super smoothie recipe… have you made any money off it yet  …. perhaps tailor the fruit content to the ride or alter the ratio of fruit:veg:protein depending on the work required and the duration of the session. I suspect that you do this already… I  the inclusion of ginger and turmeric… amazing natural anti-inflammatory gut and liver friendly foods. BONUS points!!


Enjoy the video stream folks and if you are interested in making bigger gains to your training please contact me.


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