Fueling the Dream
Thoughts on GLUKOS & its use in collegiate athletics from nutrition buyer and athlete nutrition advisor for programs at multiple schools, including BYU, UCLA, The University of Hawaii and Team USA Softball.
It’s the stuff dreams are made of…
…competing at the collegiate level in your sport. For many of who grow up in youth sports programs, making the team in college is a huge goal that often drives school choices. College is hard enough – living on your own for the first time and all the responsibility that comes with being a student – to add sports on top of it is truly demanding. Performance as a collegiate athlete is paramount and as these athletes reach what will likely be the pinnacle of their sports careers, nutrition becomes critical for success. Student athletes that participate in college often have access to sports nutritionists and sports nutrition products through their programs. We recently spoke to a nutrition buyer and athlete nutrition advisor for programs at multiple schools, including BYU, UCLA, The University of Hawaii, Team USA Softball about his thoughts on GLUKOS use in collegiate athletics.
A bit of background…
Dan Wilcox has an impressive athletic history, which began as a high school football player in the 80’s. As he prepared himself for collegiate athletics, he began to cross train and look for ways to optimize his natural athletic gifts, which ultimately lead him to start to make a connection between his nutrition and his training. When Dan began college, he knew he was interested in nutrition, but also knew that becoming an RD in a clinical setting was not for him. What we know today as sports nutrition programs, simply hadn’t yet been developed. So, Dan chose to further his understanding of the human body by completing his studies in exercise physiology. Dan also became a highly-competitive triathlete and a pro golfer during his time in college. By being an athlete, he could continue to study and learn about how nutrition affected his performance in a real-life setting in tandem with his formal education.
Today, Dan uses his years of personal and professional experience to help collegiate athletes perform their best through helping them fuel their best. He works with a number of programs to determine what products to make available to student athletes and also works directly with athletes to provide sport-specific nutrition guidance. Dan also coaches endurance athletes through his personal training business, Elite Fueling. We asked him for a bit of insight into this world and how his athletes are using GLUKOS.
How do you evaluate products that you ultimately recommend a school to purchase for their athletes?
A: I have sports nutrition companies contact me all the time, looking to get their product into the hands of Division one & two programs, professional teams, and athletes, as well as the private clients I coach. I am really good at looking at a product and evaluating if it’s something that can be a benefit to an athlete or if it’s nothing more than sugar wrapped in a new package. The last thing I need is a cheap product that destroys an athletes months of hard work and preparation because of an upset stomach, gastrointestinal (GI) distress, heart rate invariability, and blood turning to pudding on the day of their event.
Many products don’t even get to make the initial taste test. If a product passes the initial inspection and taste test I tell them I need at least a 1-2 month supply of their product put to the test. Once I receive a product it doesn’t go into any athlete until I run it through some testing on myself to see how it affects me and my training. When I test a product, I REALLY run it through the wringer.
There are several factors I track and evaluate, like:
1- Heart Rate. I use a Polar chest strap monitor and track resting, heart rate zones vs. speed, VO2 Max variability, and recovery.
2- Testing. Test months training and conditioning results vs. previous months training and conditioning results.
3- Gastrointestinal Distress. I’ve had my fair share of training sessions where I have downed WAY more gels/gummies/sports drink than my body needed calorically to see how my body reacted to the product during training sessions. I consume far more than “recommended” very few products have made the cut. The reason I do this is apparent. I can’t physically control how much product goes into an athlete’s mouth all of the time. If there is a chance that they could overdo it and cause GI distress I won’t buy or recommend that product.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of products that I have turned down. Interestingly, even with my method of over-consumption and testing, I have never had an adverse reaction to GLUKOS and, for more than the 2-3 years I have used, recommended, and purchased GLUKOS I have yet to have anyone complain of adverse reactions. I have only had athletes tell me about their excellent responses and increased performance and feel when they consume GLUKOS according to our plan.
Q: What kind of guidelines do you give your athletes on when and how to use GLUKOS? Does it vary from sport to sport?
The very first guideline I give my athletes is this: you must use in practice what you use in competition. There’s no getting around this because each of our bodies is different. My broad recommendation is as-follows:
– 90 minutes pre-workout: Consume a snack that contains slow-release carbs to help fill the reserves. This might be a banana with peanut butter and honey.
– 15 minutes prior to your workout or event, top off your tank with a simple, quick-acting carb like GLUKOS.
– Every 15-30 minutes during workout or event: This is where your practice comes into play, so you can learn whether you need to refuel more or less often. Again, using a simple carbohydrate is best during activity. Here’s why: when you consume a complex carbohydrate during strenuous activities, you’re taking energy and blood supply away from your extremities and your brain in order to digest those carbs into energy. Complex carbs get digested into simple carbs (ie: glucose) for your body to use. So, it makes sense to go straight for the “good stuff.” For those in very long events, consuming something solid every hour or so can help mentally. The trick is to keep it small or chew something up and spit it out – you will get a small bump of energy from the solid fuel source, but are looking more more of a mental boost. I really like fun-size salted nut rolls on the hour. By limiting this to only once an hour, any calories you do digest should be very small and not cause intestinal distress.
– Post-event: Refuel within 60 min with a complex carb option that includes a good source of protein and has minimal. 1% chocolate milk 15 min post then a solid meal within 60-90 min is the gold standard.
Q: What about athletes that are afraid of carbohydrates? It’s become a popular belief that you can fuel off your fat stores alone if you follow a ketogenic diet. What is your take on this?
In a nutshell, it’s not the best strategy. You can absolutely get energy from fat, without a doubt. However, just as it takes time to train for an Ironman event it takes time to train your body to turn to fat stores. When and if an athlete can do that the amount of time and energy it takes for your body to process fat into usable energy is miniscule and not as reliable as many claim. People can argue all day long about this but the viable and qualified science, research and application proves otherwise. Our bodies preferred fuel sources, in order, are Carbs, Proteins and then fats as a final last ditch source.
I love it when I toe the line at an event and hear people talk about how well their body uses fat as fuel. I smile and think “I will make you suffer today”. Focus on the science and facts not the superficial aspects of dieting dogma.
If you want to achieve your peak athletic performance get GLUKOS, smile, and make em’ suffer!
Thank you, Dan, for letting us peek into your world! We wish you and your athletes the best as you start preparations for the 2019 Fall season.