Optimising Fuel and Hydration in Your Athletic Performance with Andy Blow

Even professional athletes aren’t immune to cramping and dehydration. If you constantly suffer from these, your performance can be sorely affected. It’s understandably frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be — as long as you know your body well and how to optimise fuel and hydration to enhance your athletic performance.

In this episode, sports scientist Andy Blow discusses the proper way to fuel and hydrate your body for peak athletic performance. We discuss sweat tests and how they can help you balance your intake of fluid and electrolytes. Andy shares the importance of carb fueling, along with the benefits of intermittent fasting and the keto diet. Lastly, Andy explains what his company, Precision Fuel & Hydration, does and its commitment to helping athletes achieve peak health and performance.

If you want to learn more about proper fueling and hydration, then this episode is for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Understand your body’s needs for peak athletic performance.
  2. Learn the amount of carbs, fluid, and electrolytes your body needs.
  3. Find out how to curb gut issues while hydrating.

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Episode Highlights

[03:51] Andy’s Background

Andy was a full-time athlete and studied sports science at university. Bringing together his degree and athletic background, he built his company, Precision Fuel & Hydration.

Andy participated in triathlons and aimed for the 2004 Athens Olympics. His performance sweet-spot was races over an hour and less than five or six hours.

[09:11] The Story Behind Precision Fuel & Hydration

During races, Andy performed well in cool conditions. He noticed that he didn’t do well in hot weather. He had a high sweat rate, which led to cramps and low sodium levels.

After getting a sweat test, he discovered that he was losing too much salt through sweat. So, he dialled up the sodium and reduced his fluid intake. The electrolyte dosage is crucial for optimum performance.

Andy started Precision Fuel & Hydration by sweat testing people to determine how much fluid and electrolytes they need.

[18:17] Gut Issues & Electrolytes

Gut issues can occur when there’s a mismatch between your physiology and the amount of electrolytes you’re consuming. Listen to your body and make sure your intake of fluid and electrolytes are right for you.

[21:23] How To Get A Sweat Test

Precision Fuel & Hydration has sweat test centres in the UK, America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. If you’re interested in getting a sweat test, you can find their locations on their website or reach out to find someone local to you. Their website also has a free online hydration test.

There's no "one size fits all" approach to hydration; an individualised approach to health is needed.

[27:37] The Relationship Between Sodium & Potassium

The relationship between the ratios of body fluid and electrolytes is essential.

Sodium is the predominant electrolyte in your extracellular fluid, while potassium is the predominant electrolyte in your intracellular fluid. An imbalance between sodium and potassium can be detrimental. Potassium doses can be dangerous if not done properly.

[27:37] The Role of Magnesium

You don’t lose vast amounts of magnesium when you sweat. However, some people find that taking magnesium supplements helps with cramps.

The majority of cramping incidents can be solved with the right sodium supplementation, making it a game-changer in an athlete’s performance.

[37:11] Carb Fueling

If you load up on carbs before endurance events, you can go faster for longer. The more carbohydrates you can oxidise, the lower the oxygen your body consumes in exercise, and the faster you can go — that’s why marathon runners consume lots of carbs.

Maximise carbohydrate intake and absorption for endurance events. For fast moving-athletes, the minimum carbohydrate recommendation is around 60  to 90 grams per hour.

Endurance training helps the body burn fat more efficiently, but when you’re burning fat, your pace slows–which isn’t optimal for racing.

[47:54] What’s In The Precision Fuel & Hydration Gels?

Precision Fuel & Hydration gels are maltodextrin-based with some fructose.

Other gels are more like syrups, which can make people sick, but Precision Fuel & Hydration gels are like jelly or jam without flavour, colour, and electrolytes. Its ingredients are carbs, pectin, and citric acid.

Fat adaptation and carbs depend on your body and activity. While carbs might seem unfashionable with the rise of the keto diet and fat adaptation, carb intake can also help with fueling.

[57:22] Intermittent Fasting

Andy cycles his carbohydrate intake around his activity level. His wife is interested in intermittent fasting from a scientifically-based perspective.

He does not follow the same regime as his wife, but he skips breakfast and narrows his eating window depending on his activity.

Doing intermittent fasting effectively fires up the same cellular machine. Don’t be rigid about fasting and eat when you need to so you won’t be deficient.

[1:07:14] Find Out How Much Carbs You Need

Their Quick Carb Calculator shows how many carbs you need per hour. You can also access one-on-one video calls with their sports science team so you can get an individualised approach.

[1:09:26] Staying True To Their Mission

Precision Fuel & Hydration began offering one-on-one video calls during the pandemic. They use automation to make these calls quick and simple.

The core of their business is to be a resource for athletes — and they always keep this mission in mind as they scale.

7 Powerful Quotes

‘I thought I'd solve the problem for everyone because I was taking a high dose and I was just like high dose is the way to go. But you learn over time that actually that more individualized approach is the way to go.’

‘The thing about body fluid and electrolytes is that the absolute levels of them are important. But what's even more important is the relationship between the ratios between them.’

‘Sodium is the predominant electrolyte in your extracellular fluid. Potassium is the predominant electrolyte in your intracellular fluid. When you get those two seriously out of whack that can cause problems — no matter if you've got the right level of water.’

‘What happens with 90 odd percent of athletes that have electrolyte disturbances, it's a sodium imbalance issue because extracellular fluid is very sodium rich. It doesn't have a lot of potassium in it.’

‘At least the majority, if not a vast majority of that cramping, can be alleviated with the right sodium supplementation.’

‘If you want to go fast doing endurance events even for multiple hours, carbohydrate is your friend and you kind of need to work on ways to maximise intake and absorption.’

‘One-size-fits-all soundbite advice like, ‘With electrolytes, you need to do this. With fluid, you need to do this.’ The reality is there's a little bit more or a lot more nuance in a lot of people's heads.’

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