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Gut Training for Endurance Athletes with Patrick Wilson

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Listen as Patrick Wilson, one of the foremost experts on athlete gut disorder, discusses the reasoning behind the intestinal issues that plague athletes.

This week Dirk sat down with Registered Dietician Patrick Wilson to discuss the common gastrointestinal issues that plague endurance athletes. Together, Dirk and Patrick cover everything from beverage osmolality, leaky gut syndrome, the benefits of periodic fasting and why more women are vexed with bloating and constipation during competition than men. They also cover which kinds of sugars are easiest to digest during exercise as well as the gut reactions pre-race anxiety can impose.

Patrick offers expert insight on all things related to athlete stomach distress and serves up fascinating, easy-to-implement advice for all endurance coaches and athletes.

Stand-Out Quotes

  • “When you’re looking to facilitate the fastest absorption as possible, you probably don’t want something super, super concentrated in terms of a beverage. So you want maybe something a little bit closer to your blood in terms of osmolality. We usually call that isotonic.”
  • “Distribution of blood flow changes pretty dramatically, depending on the exercise intensity… when you get up to like, 90% VO2 your muscles just require so much blood flow and so much oxygen delivery that something’s going to take a hit. And that’s something generally is the gut.”
  • “I think there’s some potential benefits for endurance athletes to do periodic fasted training… But I wouldn’t be overly concerned about it, so long as during the week you are practicing fueling during some of your training sessions.”
  • “Physiologically, there’s some research to suggest that older people are less sensitive to catecholamines, those stress hormones.”
  • “Undoubtedly electrolyte beverages with carbohydrates have been shown to extend performance in some circumstances or improved performance, but the studies that have just given people sodium tablets or capsules, for the most part, they have not shown any benefits to performance itself.”


Patrick Wilson’s Twitter

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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

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