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Tri Nutrition Specifics

Tri Nutrition Specifics By Bruce & Christina Thomas

The following information will give you a brief description of some of the legal sports supplements that can be used to enhance performance.

The most important advise we can offer you is the need to trial any product in your training and preparation before using it in a race situation. You also need to weigh up the good and the bad facts by researching the supplement. You may find that your money and time can be better spent by putting it into your training!

1. Caffeine

See AIS fact sheet. Information kindly supplied by Senior Sports Dietitian, Department of Sports Nutrition, Australian Institute of Sport. www.ais.org.au

2. Creatine
What is it? As you probably know creatine (usually in the form of creatine monohydrate) is a supplement taken to enhance anaerobic performance. Creatine Monohydrate is a white, odourless crystalline powder, clear and colourless in solution.
How des it work? Creatine is a supplement that serves as an energy reserve in muscle cells. Muscular contraction is powered by the breakdown of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). When all the ATP is broken down, creatine phosphate in the muscles donates a phosphate group to ADP, and further energy reactions can occur. Creatine monohydrate is a precursor to creatine Phosphate. By supplementing CM , CP levels in the muscle are apparently maximised, and more muscular work can occur, as there are greater energy reserves to use.

Creatine also helps with resistance training by bloating the muscle with creatine rich fluid and this allows for greater leverage and requires the muscle to move less an lift more weight.

The major benefit of creatine supplementation appears to be the increase in the rate of creatine phosphate resynthesis during recovery between short bouts of high intensity exercise, producing high levels of creatine phosphate at the start of the subsequent exercise bouts. Creatine Phosphate can enhance the performance of repeated short bouts of maximal exercise, interspersed with short recovery intervals. Force and power production can be then kept up during the course of the session.

Uses in triathlon:

This is an often debated question. Can creatine supplementation enhance athletic performance for a sport which is predominately aerobic based?
For the majority of athletes we would say no, however there are always exceptions.

The athletes that are most likely to benefit from CS would be athletes who are training to improve power and are undergoing specific training for the anaerobic system. Short course triathletes may be more likely to benefit from CS because there can be a need for power and speed over short course distances. Back in the days of the "Toohyes Blue" Triathlon series CS was all the talk and many athletes were on a CS programme. The televised series was based on short, maximal effort intervals followed by short recovery periods and the ability to “back up” was the key. 

The exercise situations that have demonstrated consistent benefits from creatine supplementation are repeated high intensity intervals/ brief recovery or weight supported activities such as cycling.

You are best to consult a specialist in this field before using Creatine. Warnings: Creatine produces a bi-product called creatinine. If undergoing blood tests creatinine may show up in your results and is usually a sign of kidney problems. You may get a false positive read. Also, you need to drink plenty of water with this supplement.

Always research the product before using it as there can be negative side effects.

Useful website: See: http://www.ais.org.au/nutrition/SupChapter.asp

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