Nutrition Horror Stories

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited July 2012 in General Discussion
Have you ever had a problem with your in-swim nutrition? Gastric distress, bonking, or anything of the sort.

If so, please post it here! What product and/or food were you using, at what concentration? Calories/hour, etc. Were you able to fix the problem? If so, what did you change?

I would start, but Maxim flavored with fruit juice at ~300 cal/hr has always served me perfectly. But I think hearing about problems+solutions is more interesting & useful than just hearing the solutions.
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  • Last year for my two long swims (8 Bridges & Pitonof) I used Hammer's Perpetuem and crashed and burned both times. Probably about 270 cals/hr. In desperation I had my crew add an occasional Clif Shot w/caffeine to some of the feedings at Pitonof and it seemed to help greatly. That would work out to about 500 cals/hr.

    Along the same lines, when I did END-WET this last weekend, I pretty much did 500 cals/hr and had NO stomach issues or any great crashing problems. Interesting because the common wisdom is 300 cals/hr is about the max you can take and yet I, who have a very touchy stomach, had no problems at 2/3's higher. Still not sure what to make of it.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Leading up to my 25k in Pensacola, I had trained using a 50/50 mix of Carbo Pro (similar to Maxim) and Perpetuem. Due to a screw up with USPS losing a package, I rolled on 100% perpetuem. Not sure my exact caloric intake, it waned a bit near the end.

    While I wrote an exhaustive account of the swim in another thread, my stomach got very unhappy a few times during the swim. Not sure how much was due to swallowed sea water, or how much was due to the perpetuem.

    This weekend, I'm going to use Carbo Pro. Sometimes with clif shot mixed in, sometimes without. A couple times an hour, I'm going to eat one of those packets of squeeze applesauce that are marketed toward little kids. And at the top of each hour, straight water, hoping to dilute the salt that I'm likely to accidentally ingest.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I had Evmo's Maxim/apple juice combination for 8 Bridges this year, at about 250/hr. seemed to work perfectly with no bonking. I think I might have liked some variety had the swim taken longer, though. Had a huge craving for sweet coffee flavoured milk for the last 1-2 hr.
  • heartheart Member
    I'm a novice at this food business - at 10k I used gels. But at the Portland river swim I had actual food on the hour - alternating fruit (peaches, grapes, and kiwis) and potatoes. It worked really well, save for the need to chew, which slowed down the feedings considerably. Maybe next time broth-based potato soup and fruit smoothie instead.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    LJ, at the End-Wet, did you use perpetuem or smthg different?
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    I've never tried, Perpetuam, but I've been told that it's only good for 4 hours after mixing. After that, it starts to sour. That makes it seem pretty impractical to me.
  • GordsGords Charter Member
    I mix my perpetuem well before 4 hours, and I haven't noticed it going sour. I mix it with juice though, so I barely taste the flavoring provided with the powder anyway.

  • IronMike said:

    LJ, at the End-Wet, did you use perpetuem or smthg different?

    I used my own mixture that I make from various things that I can buy in bulk much cheaper than Perpetuem. My experience with Perpetuem has been so negative that I doubt I'll give it another shot. I don't have my recipe notebook with me, but off the top of my head, I think the mixture was (This is for 4 - 12 fluid oz servings taken at 30 minute intervals):
    1 Scoop Accelerade (120 cals)
    1 packet Gu w/caffeine (120 cals)
    5/8 cup maltodextrin (240 cals)
    1/2 scoop Waxy Maize (80 cals)
    whey protein (approx 90-100 cals worth)
    2 scoops Endurolytes electrolyte powder

    In addition, In the second half of the race I had my yakker dump a Clif Shot w/caffeine into my regular feeding at times. There were times when I was taking in 500 cals/hr, but had no gastric distress. I didn't bonk either, although the last 5 or so miles were rough due to my shoulder injury from early in the race. (I also wasn't going too hard, as protection for my shoulder.)

    No real magic or wisdom in that mixture, just what I have been able to deduce as working for me through trial and error (hence the notebook of recipes).

    I gave my yakker enough to get us to the resupply point (a bit past 1/2 way) and then had the rest of it in an ice-filled cooler waiting there.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Sweet. Thanks. With swim the suck coming up, I have to start thinking nutrition.
  • rxleakemrxleakem Member
    edited July 2012

    1 Scoop Accelerade (120 cals)

    LJ, I used this at Kingdom Swim with 12oz plain water every 60 minutes and noticed mild gas as it froths a bit. Do you notice this? Any suggestions to help deal with it? The taste is not horrible, but the after-taste hung around.
    <))><
  • rxleakem said:

    1 Scoop Accelerade (120 cals)

    LJ, I used this at Kingdom Swim with 12oz plain water every 60 minutes and noticed mild gas as it froths a bit. Do you notice this? Any suggestions to help deal with it? The taste is not horrible, but the after-taste hung around.
    One of the reasons that I don't use straight Accelerade has to do with the taste - it's too sweet and the after-taste is a bit much. I am convinced, but have no proof, that when Accelerade first came on the market it had less sucrose (sugar) and more maltodextrin than it currently does. I used to use 3 "fat" scoops of that and 1 Gu gel packet in 48 oz of water for 4 feedings, each on 30 minutes and it worked well for me. The current formula does not work nearly so well (and there is the taste issue) and hence I've gone to my own mixture. At one point I reverse-engineered it via a patent search, but don't remember where I put my notes.

    If by "gas" you mean intestinal gas (I'm trying to be delicate here), that is very likely from the maltodextrin. I don't know about others, but I seem to have gotten used to it and rarely have the problem like previously. No idea why.

    I am just about to start a discussion thread called "Secrets" that may help you with this.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    WaterGirl said:

    I've never tried, Perpetuam, but I've been told that it's only good for 4 hours after mixing. After that, it starts to sour. That makes it seem pretty impractical to me.

    For 8bridges stage 5, I used my perpetuem endurolyte mix. It worked fine even though my feeds were quite warm from riding on the deck of the kayak.
    I have experienced perpetuem failure... But I chalk it up to not being adequately hydrated prior to the swim.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • JenAJenA Member
    I just typed this into another thread:
    ---------
    I have type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile diabetes). It's the kind where your immune system decides one day that insulin-producing parts of the pancreas deserve to be bullied until they stop working altogether.

    I see a lot of nutritional things through that lens.

    For example, the treatment for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is to take 15 grams of carbs, wait 15 minutes, and then test again. This suggests that most people absorb about a gram of glucose per minute. I know the absorption rates can vary (especially when you have low blood sugar).

    This is why I never anticipate consuming more than 60-70 grams of carbohydrate an hour. I sometimes wonder if over-consumption is the cause of some of the spectactular puking we see in OWS. If you swim for 5 hours eating 100 grams an hour, and only absorb 60/hr, you're going to have 200 grams of carb in your belly at hour 5. That's nearly half a pound of carbohydrate, plus more if you've still got liquids in there. No *wonder* you've got a tummy ache and feel nauseous!

    My experience, for what it's worth.
    ----------

    I use straight Koolaid for most of my carbs. (The water I swim in rarely gets above 20 (70oF), so I don't have to worry about eletrolytes as much.) I dilute it to 6.7% solution. (IE: 50 grams of koolaid powder in a 750ml bottle). I understand that 6-8% solutions absorb best.

    I've swum >18 hours with this strategy. Works for me!
  • JenAJenA Member
    Oh, to translate. :-) 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories. 60-70 grams of carbs is, then, 240-280 calories.
  • I had Evmo's Maxim/apple juice combination for 8 Bridges this year, at about 250/hr. seemed to work perfectly with no bonking. I think I might have liked some variety had the swim taken longer, though. Had a huge craving for sweet coffee flavoured milk for the last 1-2 hr.

    Is Maxim available in the US? I can only find it shipped out of Europe.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012
    SDCOTTEN said:

    Is Maxim available in the US? I can only find it shipped out of Europe.

    Just get Carbo Pro. It's the same stuff.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    I had Evmo's Maxim/apple juice

    The very experienced sailing skipper we frequently use here in the Netherlands tells us not to eat apples or drink apple juice.
    They increase the chance of seasickness/motionsickness.
    Ginger decreases it. Ginger can be consumed in all kind of styles like cookies, tea, ginger-ale...
    He´s a professional sailing skipper and sails across the Atlantic almost every winter so he knows what he´s talking about.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Wasn't sick
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012

    Wasn't sick

    Me neither.
    Niek said:

    The very experienced sailing skipper we frequently use here in the Netherlands tells us not to eat apples or drink apple juice.
    They increase the chance of seasickness/motionsickness.
    ...
    He's a professional sailing skipper and sails across the Atlantic almost every winter so he knows what he´s talking about.

    Hmm, can you point to scientific data on this, or is it essentially one guy's superstition? There's lots of evidence of ginger's antiemetic benefits. Apples, on the other hand.... Here's another sailing rumor that says the opposite: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/archive/index.php/t-734495.html
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I do quite like ginger beer or ginger ale but haven't tried either while swimming.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    It's not his superstition but years of experience with seasick paying customers.
    A happy not seasick customer is likely to get back for another sailing trip.
    He's an openwater swimmer also who has swam across the 22 km Ijsselmeer himself.
    So he knows what he's talking about.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Good news for those that get seasick
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    Niek said:

    I had Evmo's Maxim/apple juice

    Ginger decreases it. Ginger can be consumed in all kind of styles like cookies, tea, ginger-ale...
    With only 12 months to my EC window in 2013, I'd better start eating a lot of ginger cookies right away.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012
    Niek said:

    It's not his superstition but years of experience with seasick paying customers.
    A happy not seasick customer is likely to get back for another sailing trip.
    He's an openwater swimmer also who has swam across the 22 km Ijsselmeer himself.
    So he knows what he's talking about.

    @Niek, I hope you'll forgive me if I don't just take your skipper friend's word for it? I've used apple juice successfully numerous times as nutrition on marathon swims, in a variety of conditions. Many other marathon swimmers have used it, too. Lynne Cox even used apple juice.

    This is why we do science. Unless your skipper friend did a controlled experiment, my anecdotes are just as valid as his. And there's nothing - zero - in the scientific literature about apples or apple juice increasing the chance of seasickness.

    There is, however, lots of stuff about ginger decreasing the chance of seasickness.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    I do quite like ginger beer or ginger ale but haven't tried either while swimming.

    Careful! Many ginger ales don't have any ginger in them. Check out Canada Dry Ginger Ale. No real ginger in it. If you go to Trader Joe's or Whole Paycheck you can find real ginger ginger ale.
  • Does anyone like Coca-cola? I did a 20K+ training swim last year and primarily used powerade. Towards the end, I had horrible cravings for coke. My buddy got me a 2 x 20 oz cokes which I used for the next hour or two and it was a well welcomed change. Never had a problem with the carbonation.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    IronMike said:

    I do quite like ginger beer or ginger ale but haven't tried either while swimming.

    Careful! Many ginger ales don't have any ginger in them. Check out Canada Dry Ginger Ale. No real ginger in it. If you go to Trader Joe's or Whole Paycheck you can find real ginger ginger ale.
    I got through a lot of Bundaberg Ginger beer here (a little taste of home). You can get it at Cost Plus.
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    sweet(ish) ginger tea is a nice change up every few hours.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • FYI, as far as I know, ginger doesn't work prophylactically very well (not in the way motion sickness tablets do) but is more effective as a remedy following onset of seasickness.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012

    FYI, as far as I know, ginger doesn't work prophylactically very well (not in the way motion sickness tablets do) but is more effective as a remedy following onset of seasickness.

    http://ajpgi.physiology.org/content/284/3/G481.short
    http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00016488809119444
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    FYI, as far as I know, ginger doesn't work prophylactically very well (not in the way motion sickness tablets do) but is more effective as a remedy following onset of seasickness.

    @Loneswimmer, I used to fly for a living, and not fun flying, but flying in the back of a plane with no windows doing crazy ups and downs, so motion sickness, while not a problem for me, was a problem for many of my colleagues. The common knowledge was: if balance was the problem (middle-ear) then take an aspirin; if stomach is the problem, then take ginger.

    Some of the guys/gals would take ginger before the flight and not have any problems. Granted, that's no proof it worked prophylactically.
  • Mike, I think evmo already proved me wrong. I should have know he'd look it up when I didn't bother. But since balance is part of seasickness, would aspirin along with ginger be effective?
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Not sure, @loneswimmer. I know that once I had trouble focusing on my laptop (an integral part of my then-job). My eyes just wouldn't focus and were shaking something crazy. I had to close my eyes. I took an aspirin and about 10 minutes later, I could focus. The flight doc later told me that I probably had a problem with my middle ear.
  • I was reading Jen's post above. I usually had 15 grams of carbs every 15 minutes. That comes out to 60 an hour. My son has type-1 diabetes and at a conference one time, they had a nutrition guru and I asked about how often feeds should be in endurance events to keep blood sugar stable. She said that ideally it would be best to take little sips every couple of minutes, and that wasn't just for those with type-1, but everyone. Obviously that's not possible in open water swimming, but maybe frequent smaller feeds is better than less frequent large feeds. They just need to be quick, 5-10 seconds. Something for people to try if you've had problems in the past.
  • Also, to answer Sully's question about coke. I knew a Brazilian swimmer who drank coke exclusively. It was funny, though, the night before she would de-fizz it by sticking newspaper into the container for a minute. I figured that just go ink into the coke and it would just be better to leave the top off the bottle for a while, but that was her method.
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    Has anyone had problems in airport security with CarboPro or Maxim? I want to pack a ziploc baggie of the amount I will need--the container is huge. I'm afraid that will look suspicious, though.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    @WaterGirl I've carted Gu Roctane and Gu Bru powder in Ziplocs through security before with no problems. People pack the craziest stuff in their carry on, you have to imagine that ziplocs of nutritional suppliments, infant formula, grandma's special flax flour etcetera go through all the time.

    In ~14 years of constant business travel, the only non metal object that caused my bag to be re-screened was a gel wrist pad (apparently it looks like some form of explosive in the x-ray), and that was only in the Denver airport.

    Funnily enough swimming is causing my bag to get re-screened every week going through PHX because I am carrying two metal weights with lucite glued to them to use as end of lane markers for the hotel pool I swim in (I got sick of jamming my hands into the wall).



    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012
    WaterGirl said:

    Has anyone had problems in airport security with CarboPro or Maxim?

    There was one instance at Midway airport in Chicago when a TSA agent wanted to open my bag to inspect a tupperware container of Maxim. I explained it was energy drink mix. The agent then tested the container for explosives, and inexplicably it came up positive. Apparently I wasn't sufficiently terrorist-seeming in appearance, because the agent didn't seem to believe it, ran the test again, and it was negative.

    After that I started removing the tupperware container from my bag and running it through the x-ray separately. I haven't had a problem since.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    I had my bags searched at LAX last year when I went over for my Catalina swim. I must have been looking shifty. They pulled out my open tub of Maxim and started to look quite excited. I explained, showed them my other swim kit, but they got a dog over anyway to have a sniff, and I was treated to a rigorous search of bags and person. And then I spent 15 minutes answering questions about the swim. Not security questions, though; they just couldn't believe that a Brit would travel all that way to do something so ridiculous. I seem to remember a lot of questions about sharks, which really didn't help.
  • For the recent END-WET swim, I mailed both my drink mix and sunscreen to the race director's house. Call me paranoid, but the thought of getting a full-body cavity search by someone with a GED lacked a certain appeal.

    On the way back from the race, the TSA guy in Grand Forks, ND wouldn't let me get on the plane because the ticketing agent had spelled my last name "Janson" instead of "Jansen" on my driver's license. There ensued a mad scramble to get the ticket changed before the plane left.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    Thanks @dc_in_sf, @evmo, @KarenT and @Leonard_Jansen. Just to be on the safe side, I'll continue having nightmares about it.

    @dc_in_sf, the Phoenix area is pool heaven, especially if you're in the East Valley (Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe) or central Phoenix.
  • I just did a 38k swim. Was eating every 30 mins at a rate of about 450 cal per hr. Didn't have anything fancy but felt good. Here was my regime:
    1. Vitamin water 500ml at 124 cals. Drank 1 per hour.
    2. Aldi milk chocolate at 8 pieces per hour
    3. Ham and cheese sandwich each hour. Used the whitest of white bread and very fresh.
    4. 4-6 snakes each hour.

    Would have had big issues with 300 cals or less per hour.
  • @lexlomax I would love to be sponsored by the Natural Confectionery Company, the snakes are great. :-)
  • lexlomax said:


    3. Ham and cheese sandwich each hour. Used the whitest of white bread and very fresh.

    I'm impressed! Did you put them in the blender first? I have a heck of a time getting solids down while swimming.

    Jon
  • Yeh, can only cope with solids like this with really nasty white bread. Has to be über fresh though.
  • @lexlomax I would love to be sponsored by the Natural Confectionery Company, the snakes are great. :-)

    For those of us who live under dire cultural & gastronomic impoverishment (i.e. Pennsylvania), what on earth are these "snakes" that you are talking about?

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • They beat the venerable jelly-babies.

    image
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    @Leonard_Jansen - of what strange land is this you speak, where there are no jelly snakes? Perfect post-swim food; red and black ones good for getting salt taste out of your mouth.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    But better than jelly babies? @loneswimmer - steady on.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @KarenT Still afraid of snakes?
    image
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
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