I started using UCAN in 2014 when I began having issues with low blood sugar during runs. I began drinking UCAN and baking it into pre-run muffins, and the problems went away. But that wasn’t the only benefit I noticed. I found myself being able to hold on longer through discomfort in races and I had my best season ever, PR’ing by a minute in my half marathon to run 1:12:50. However, since my first time using UCAN, my use has changed and evolved. Everything from my pre-run, post-run & during has looked a little different each year so this is where I am now:
After working with Sports Nutritionist Dr. Clyde Wilson, I started using the Protein version of UCAN pre-run. The protein creates for a more sustainable fuel source and prevents excessive muscle breakdown during exercise which presents extra stress on the body. Having dealt with over-training in the past, I need to be very attentive to ways I can improve recovery and reduce stress. Overtraining, as Clyde mentioned, can become chronic, but diet can be helpful in overcoming it. Plus I love the Vanilla Creme in a shake with Big Spoon Roasters Nut Butter or the Chocolate with Cashew Milk. These are my two favorite recipes:
DURING THE RUN:
For my last marathon I made bites out of the non-protein UCAN, so just 2 scoops of the superstarch mixed with 2 tbsp of nut butter and about 2-4 tbsp of water. However, in prior races and workouts, I have also mixed the Superstarch with a very small amount of water (2 oz) to make a gel, or have packed a couple bars on me to eat on the run. While I do often get my own bottles in races, I can’t always practice that type of fueling easily in training and prefer to have packable versions on me. I have also mixed my superstarch with water and BCAA’s with Caffeine for a mid-run pick me up. I have a very picky gut but have never had an issue with UCAN. Then of course I love UCAN hydrate as my electrolyte replacement for during runs. It is zero calorie and was formulated by an olympic dietitian, replacing the electrolytes most commonly lost through sweat. Hydrating during a race is important regardless of the temperature out but you can’t just drink water, and this is where UCAN hydrate comes in. I screwed up my hydration in my last race so I will be focusing on improving that through this training cycle.
I used to think protein was the most important consideration but after working with Dr Clyde, I learned that carbs ASAP after a hard workout is super important. Within 5 min of a hard workout or long run I take in 1.25-2 scoops of the regular UCAN superstarch w/o protein and then starchy real foods within 10 min (bagel, muffin, PB&J). If I am not going to get a whole foods protein source within the hour, I mix 1 scoop of the cocoa delite UCAN with one of the protein versions in a 1:1 ratio and take that in (this takes the place of the UCAN at 5 min). This type of refueling prevents low blood sugar which is bad for hormones and activates muscle repair by enabling protein use for tissue repair.
EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
In between workouts or on off days I love the coffee bean bars. I sometime slather them in Big Spoon Roaster nut butter, or pop it in the microwave. For some reason they taste even better when they are warm, kind of like a soft cookie! I also drink a bottle of the UCAN hydrate, especially when it’s summer in NC. It is easy to down a bottle after a hot run and gym workout. I also enjoy baking with UCAN or blending it in to smoothies for lunches on the go.
I am so thankful to UCAN for their support over the years. They aren’t a huge company but they are genuine and they care. I knew from the minute I talked with them over the phone in 2015 that they were the kind of company I wanted to be part of. I have struggled in recent years but they have continued to believe in me through it all. Their products made a huge difference for me and my training and I am happy to be able to spread their message and how I use it to as many people as possible. This Cyber-Week is the time to stock up! If you are interested in trying it out click here to purchase for 20% off + FREE gift items with purchases over $75!
As always, all questions are welcome :) Check my recipe section for some more UCAN recipes!