Athlete Insight - The Secret Weapon with Joe Frisella

If you have stood on the sidelines of a Half Ironman or Ironman you will see many athletes slowed to a near halt due to GI distress. This can seem like it is just part of the process or something that happens to all people except a rare few "super-humans", but the truth is that most are racing without a sound nutrition and fueling plan.  

Joe charging up the last hill into the finish! He was all smiles when we saw him run by at mile 8! 

Joe charging up the last hill into the finish! He was all smiles when we saw him run by at mile 8! 

Many athletes come to Evolve with a history of racing with some serious GI distress. While we acknowledge that there will be days when you feel off when racing, we also know that proper race fueling and nutrition does not need to be a mystery. All of our athletes are armed with a nutrition plan for training and racing along with a toolbox to troubleshoot when things do not go according to plan.  

Like many athletes, Joe had a history of starting out strong and running out of energy and walking it in. He had grown to accept that this was just how it was for him. His training was strong, but come race day he could not perform over the hours. He also was inconsistent in his fueling and eating practices. He, like many athletes was not consistently training his fuel or using a fuel that would work for him. Additionally, like many he was not using his daily eating to support the demands that he was putting on his body. 

This past weekend Joe Frisella raced his first 70.3 where he was not debilitated by stomach issues, and despite having his aerobars break during the ride, he was able to put down an 8th in AG group finish!

Here is what he has to say:

Armed with Samantha's nutrition plan, I was able to turn in my highest AG rank in an IM 70.3 distance race last Sunday.  I started logging my meals after she and I met for our nutrition meeting using the app 'lose it'.  Up to that point,  I was plagued by digestive issues so severe that I was undergoing tests with a gastroenterologist.  My symptoms were affecting my everyday life, training, and racing. I had accepted the fact that I would experience severe nausea during every long course race.  I joked with my daughters , "these races aren't any fun unless you puke"!   By logging my meals I learned that my overall calorie intake was on track but my protein needed to substantially increase and  be spread out throughout the day.  My digestion improved immediately and spicy food no longer bothered me. I followed the plan over the next months.  My weight remained exactly the same, but I lost an inch in my waist.

Sam provided a race day nutrition plan which I followed exactly. For the first time since I began triathlons in '97 I was able to race a long course triathlon without an upset stomach!

I thought my stomach was weak and therefore I should not take in fuel in order to avoid getting sick and more training would acclimate me to be able to race through no fueling.  Sam called me out when looking at data from training sessions. She told me I could "fxxkingrun" but I had to properly fuel it.  On Sunday I followed the plan to a T and I was able to really enjoy the race.  My stomach responded positively.  Contrary to my prior statements,  these races are a LOT MORE fun if you don't puke!

Joe is not unique (Okay - if you know Joe, you know he is one of a kind awesome), but in terms of his GI issues and his acceptance of the fact that this was just part and parcel of long course racing. So if you are constantly under performing due to stomach issues in training and racing, it is time for you to seek out professional help to fix your nutrition. Take it from Joe - it will be so much better to feel strong on race day!