Learning to fuel for triathlon with Fuelin

26 September 2022

Ben Hill might be a newcomer to triathlon but he’s no stranger to elite sport. Hill raced as a professional cyclist for 10+ years across Australia and Europe. During his time in the pro peloton, he went through phases of tracking and logging his daily nutritional intake off the bike. And when he was on the bike, it was mostly a question of ensuring he ate something every hour in training or devouring the contents of the team musette handed out while he was racing. 

“I knew I needed to eat and keep the calories coming in,” he recalls, “but I didn’t pay attention to how many carbs were in each bar or gel. I don’t think many did so 10 years ago… it’s only more recently that teams and cyclists are being more scientific about it.”

When Hill signed up for his first triathlon earlier this year, Ironman 70.3 Australia at Port Macquarie, he knew he needed some help on the nutrition side of things. “I’m a cycling coach so I kinda knew what I needed to do for training, but I was less sure about nutrition,” he explains. He had gained a few kilos in weight after racing and finishing a very impressive 4th place at the eSports World Championships on Zwift at the beginning of the year, and signing up for a new event inspired him to commit to a training plan.

Fortunately, Hill’s preparation for Port Mac coincided with the integration of Fuelin, a nutrition coaching program, with Today’s Plan. The app-based coaching service reviews each athlete’s personal data, goals and training within Today’s Plan and then recommends what to eat before, during and after each session, considering the duration and intensity of each workout. 

“Getting onboard with Fuelin was good inspiration to get me back into the routine of watching what I eat on a daily basis,” says Hill. “I’ve been training quite a lot, 2-4 hours per day, and the app’s focus on health with carbohydrate periodization has been great for me so I’m not just eating starchy carbs all day.”

When it comes to daily nutrition, Hill started off by logging all his food intake in MyFitnessPal which is integrated with Fuelin, but now he feels he has a good routine without having to log everything. “I focus on hitting my daily protein goal from Fuelin and then use the app’s traffic light system to determine how carb-heavy a snack or meal should be.” Occasionally he will log a new meal or recipe if it’s new and he doesn’t have a good idea of the macronutrient mix.

Hill has also found the focus on race fueling and hydration practice within Fuelin to be invaluable. “Over the past few years, there’s been a greater focus on carbohydrates and the importance of in-event carb fueling.” Hill feels like he probably missed out on opportunities to capitalize on higher carb fueling when he was a cyclist so he’s playing catch up now he’s a triathlete. “Things like high carb fueling and gut training are now on my radar so I learn the concepts from Fuelin and can apply them in my training and my next races.”

In his first triathlon at Port Macquarie in May, Hill placed first in his age-group and qualified for his professional license. He now has his sights set on his competing as a professional at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast in September.

Now, he is increasingly focused on nailing his in-race nutrition plan. Hill has followed the Fuelin app’s recommendation to execute several carbohydrate tests as well as understand his sweat rate. “My weekend long rides are an amazing opportunity to practice fueling,” explains Hill. “With my next event on the horizon, I’m transitioning to some liquid carbs and practicing that.” He has learned that with practice he has a relatively high tolerance for carbs without any GI distress. “I load up on the bike at ~100g/hr and then back off to 60-80g/hr on the run. So far, I’ve had great success in training!”

Fuelin is designed to help athletes remove the guesswork from their daily nutrition plan as well as training and racing fueling plan. Hill acknowledges, “it would leave a hole in my training and preparation for races not to have Fuelin.”

For more information and to sign up for Fuelin, click here. Coaches interested in offering Fuelin to their athletes can get in touch by emailing info@fuelin.com.

Today’s Plan athletes can get $50 off their first month of Fuelin by using the code “todaysplan50” when signing up. 

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