Should food and fluid intake during competition be 40-30-30 as well?

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Dr. Phil Maffetone

February 15, 1996

I’m always hungry. How can I stop feeling hungry?
I’d like to know more about this 40-30-30 diet
How does the 40-30-30 diet affect one’s lipid profile?
Should food and fluid intake during competition be 40-30-30 as well?
How would a higher-fat diet affect my body’s response to exercise?
How come I never feel like I’m getting enough food?

Should food and fluid intake during competition be 40-30-30 as well?
Question:Dr. Maffetone,

Should the food and fluids taken during training and racing also be 40-30-30? Sometimes I get hungry on my long bike rides. Is that due to high carbohydrate intake? I’m running marathons, have done a few short and Olympic-distance triathlons, and I’m planning to do an Ironman this summer.

Thank you,
Thomas Lowemark

Dr. Maffetone: Thomas, many athletes get too hungry on long workouts. This may be because they are not burning enough fats during the activity, relying too much on sugar instead. This uses up too much glycogen and blood sugar. By then you’re starting to bonk.

This may occur because your body is not trained enough to burn fats. Or it may be due to the fact that you’ve eaten too many carbohydrates before the workout. This may produce too much insulin, which not only lowers blood sugar quickly but also inhibits many of the fats you would normally use during a long ride. Quite often, both problems exist.

When measuring athletes at various heart rates, it’s amazing to see how many are burning so little fat. Someone like Mike Pigg is burning mostly fat on almost all his rides, some of which are quite fast.

Remember, fat is your long-term energy, and sugar your short-term fuel.

During your rides, a 40-30-30 formula may work well for you, but you’ll have to experiment. If your fat burning is good, a liquid can work well, without the need for food. It’s taken Mark Allen several years and a lot of experimenting finally to be able to do an Ironman with just liquid. His drink is a 40-30-30 blend (what we call the “secret formula”).

So don’t be afraid to experiment; just do it on your long training days and not your races.

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