BETA FUEL FOR TRIATHLON: PUTTING IT TO THE TEST
A few months ago, Science in Sport released their new Beta Fuel range. An upgraded formula in new formats, with new flavours. Knowing the Science behind the product, I was excited to try it!
In short, the all-new Beta Fuel range works by providing two different forms of carbohydrate, maltodextrin and fructose, which can be simultaneously absorbed. This is key as the transportation of nutrients across the intestinal wall is a rate limiting factor in carbohydrate oxidation during exercise. The new formula of Beta Fuel uses an optimised ratio of maltodextrin to fructose at 1:08 (previously 2:1) providing a science-based, complete fuelling solution for triathletes.
This new ratio of 1:08 has been proven to:
- Enhance total exogenous carbohydrate oxidation by 17%
- Enhance mean power output during 10 maximal sprint efforts by 3%
- Increase the percentage of ingested carbohydrate oxidised from 62% (2:1 ratio) to 74% (1:0.8 ratio)
- Reduce symptoms of stomach fullness and nausea when compared to the 2:1 ratio
You can read more about the science behind Beta Fuel here.
All of this is great in theory, but does it live up to these expectations?
I’ve been using the new Beta Fuel range since it came out back in July – just at the start of race season! I started using Beta Fuel in training (golden rule, nothing new on race day!), primarily the Beta Fuel powder. The Beta Fuel powder takes a little bit of time to dissolve fully but is then completely smooth and has a really nice consistency. I tried both flavours and personally recommend the Red Berry.
Due to being a very high carbohydrate formula (80g), I built up my use of the Beta Fuel powder gradually. I started off splitting one sachet between two bottles on my bike, to the point where come race day, I was having the full recommended amount of 1 sachet per bottle. This gave me 160g of carbohydrate just in my bottles without even having to consider other nutrition sources yet!
I also started using the Beta Fuel chews. The chews come in Orange and Lemon flavours and provide 46g of carbohydrate. In my opinion these are a welcome change, providing a jelly-like texture different to any other SIS product, the lemon flavour being my personal preference. They’re not too chewy and are easy to consume on both the bike and the run, personally my favourite product from the new range!
Now with the gel range, there are two different types of gels, the Beta Fuel gels and then the Beta Fuel gels with nootropics. The key difference between the two types of gels is the nootropics which are added for cognitive stimulation.
Although I have tasted the Beta Fuel gels, I don’t personally use gels too much and tend to go for the powder or chews, so I asked a fellow AG triathlete Laura Gray for her thoughts on how she’d found using the Beta Fuel gels so far in training and races. Her thoughts are summarised below:
- Without compromising taste or consistency, you can double the amount of carbohydrate in comparison to normal gels which is great on longer distance races when you have limited storage on the bike.
- The science states the new ratio is easier to digest but also has lower volume to consume, (if you were to try and match the carbohydrate content from other gels) which adds to this with less volume being better on the GI system!
- The Nootropic gels really give that mental boost for extra performance toward the end of a race!
HOW CAN YOU USE BETA FUEL IN TRIATHLON?
Triathlon is a complex sport alone without considering its fourth discipline – nutrition.
If you eat a balanced diet, your body can only store enough carbohydrate for around 90-120 minutes of exercise. Standard (Olympic), middle (70.3) and full (140.6) distance triathlons will all take over this amount of time. So for exercise longer than 2.5 hour, it is recommend to try and consume 80-120g of carbohydrates per hour.
Examples of a 2 hour and a 4-hour fuelling strategy using Beta Fuel can be seen below. These are just examples and can be adapted depending on your expected duration, but provide a starting point.
80g per bottle (160 g), 40g Beta Fuel Chews, 40g Beta Fuel Gel + Nootropics. Total carbohydrate: 240g
Practically you can carry two bottles on your bike and keep both the chews and gels in a pocket in your trisuit or a nutrition holder (some people just tape their nutrition to their bike, but that depends on personal preference!). You could also further increase your intake with a gel before the start of the swim.
80g per bottle (240g), 2 x 46g Beta Fuel chews (92g), 40g Beta Fuel Gel, 40g Beta Fuel Gel + Nootropics. Total carbohydrate: 412g
Practically you can carry two bottles on your bike, one bottle to sip at before the race and then one kept in transition to have between disciplines. You could also further increase your intake with a gel before the start of the swim.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Carrying your nutrition – In triathlon the most efficient way to carry your nutrition is by making the most of the storage on your bike, e.g. your bottles, top tube nutrition boxes and pockets in your tri suit
- The whole Beta Fuel range is informed sport tested! Whichever Science In Sport product you use, you can guarantee that every single product has been subject to our stringent standards, and that it is endorsed by Informed Sport. You can search for the certification of each product here.
- The Beta Fuel range has little or no electrolyte content, so this should be considered separately. See the SIS GO Hydro tablets or GO Electrolyte powder for electrolyte focused products.
- When considering trying to consume 80-120g of carbohydrate per hour, individuals may take time to adapt to consuming this amount of carbohydrate and the optimal amount per hour may also vary slightly depending on the individuals body weight. It is important to practice your nutrition during training to find the optimal amount that works for you.
- The Beta Fuel with Nootropics gels have a maximum serving of one per day due to high caffeine content.