Hi Tracey! We'd love to know a little bit about you, and how you found Nutrisense.
I’m an elite athlete—a semiprofessional cyclist; an endurance athlete in the Master’s Category. I’ve been second, third, and fourth in the nation the last couple of years—I’d like to be first and wear the Stars and Stripes!
And I do therapeutic massage on the side [and founded Pure Massage Boulder], so it’s half-and-half, and both are physical activities.I’ve also been studying sports nutrition, and I’m already involved in learning about things like meal timing, pre and post-loads, and so on.
So, I thought I had everything fairly dialed down for myself. But I was getting lactic acid buildup and muscle breakdown early in my workouts… it just wasn’t feeling right. And I thought, maybe my nutrition wasn’t right.
I first tried using a CGM on its own, prescribed by my doctor. Then I started scanning and realized I needed to work with someone because I didn't really know how to read or understand the data.
I decided to commit to my health for the rest of the season and maximize performance with the help of a nutritionist. I began working with Amanda Donahue, who's been awesome!
So, the nutritionist support was something you wanted from the beginning.
Yes, it sets Nutrisense apart. I am a very well-informed elite athlete who has been doing this for two decades. I’ve read books, I’ve listened to podcasts, and I’ve done my own studying. I’ve had coaches that told me what to eat and when; I even have a naturopathic doctor who I work with. But the expert, credentialed nutritionist support with the CGM Program has been invaluable.
I saw the nutritionists are credentialed practitioners of nutrition, then I read some of the bios and that really influenced my decision! I wanted to work with someone like Amanda, a specific sports nutritionist.
There are so many benefits to having a nutritionist. We need someone who can see what we don't see, who can put all the pieces together. And being open with her is what helped me make the changes I needed.
What were some of the changes you learned to make during the program?
First, it helped me realize that right before I get on the bike, I get anxious and start eating a lot of sugar. I overload my body with too much, too often.
My eating habits were to snack all the time because I'm lean and because I'm so active with my workout and training. Even the massage I do is intense—my heart rate and body temperature are up. I know I'm burning calories and have to recover from training, but I also have to be fueled for work.
So, the first piece was getting my pre-load meal right; really eating for endurance. And working with my nutritionist, I realized that I was actually undereating! Even though I was eating a bowl of oatmeal, I was still undereating with my macros. Amanda helped me create a plan for what to eat and when to eat—it was so specific I was freaking out a bit.
But I trusted her, stuck with it, and had the most fantastic workout. My legs were appropriately loaded, and the end of my training after three hours was incredible. It all gave me a higher floor of energy; I never felt depleted.One of the most significant changes was the pre-race meal. I was logging my macros, and I was supposed to get to 121 grams of carbohydrates, and I couldn’t get past 91. I was so full.
I realized that sometimes learning is disruptive and feels uncomfortable, but it's actually good for you.It took me about a week, and my stomach adjusted. Then we started experimenting with volume and hydration.
How did things change with your hydration habits?
Hydration was one of the biggest things. I had to remember to drink 24 ounces of water in the lead-up to the workout to be pre-hydrated. For what I had to do, that was paramount.So, the learning curve was steep at first. I made many changes right away, and now we’re getting into some fine-tuning, which is great because from week to week, my training changes, and my mood changes. And I’ve noticed my diet also changes through all that.
Tell us more about that.
Amanda gave me food suggestions I would never have thought of! I realized I was bad at—and I think many people are probably bad at this—focusing on the food I ate in the afternoon. I didn’t know what I ate or when. I had big blocks of 60, 75, or 90 minutes with my massage clients where I was not drinking or eating.
Now, I take water into the sessions, and I snack in between. My snacks have been more protein and fat-focused. Like carrying a hard-boiled egg to snack on or having yogurt between massage clients—I would have just gone for the salty nuts before; it was just carbohydrate-central, like a stimulant and some sugary carbohydrates.
I’ve been eating less refined sugar; I eat fruit instead of cookies…
At first, I was trying to add more protein because I am a Master's Level athlete, and I do want muscle mass. But I was overdoing the protein, and I started having some health issues. So we’re now working on a plant-based diet for protein rather than animal proteins and protein supplements.
I’ve also learned not to be so married to “I have to have all of my amino acids in one sitting” because it's too much for my particular body to have that load all the time.
Have you seen any changes with other lifestyle factors too?
Yes. I’ve also been able to track how my mood affects so many things, including my training and energy levels.
And when I’m under a lot of stress, it’s hard to get back to sleep if I wake up at night. My mind starts wandering.
I’ve noticed that if I have a stressful night or restless sleep, my glucose is definitely higher, which then affects me physically and mentally the next day. My body just doesn’t feel as good.
What else do you love about the CGM Program?
It’s been amazing to go back on a day from when I started and see where the spikes were… hindsight is 2020, right? It helps me reflect on my habits and how they affect my body. I've made some minor adjustments this way.
I think athletes really need this, from Olympians and triathletes to cyclists and swimmers! Because many of us want to work out with no fuel on board, we can lose weight today. But then performance suffers… I think people don't know what they're feeling, don't know what they need, and need to figure out how everything is connected. And from a performance standpoint, that's important.
For instance, when I have high-intensity intervals, my glucose is at 160. I am at threshold for eight minutes times four, at my max heart rate, which requires an immense amount of fuel.
With my glucose monitor, I could see that it was during my intervals that my glucose spiked a lot and was a long spike. And through my journey, I began to understand things like when I need the gel or carbohydrate drink, when to load up again, and the intervals between.
And you’re already benefiting from all the changes…
Yes, it's already helped so much. I used to take on a full gel, but now I just take a half, and my legs recover better!I'm also so much calmer. I feel more level.
My meal frequency has changed too. I used to snack every two hours, small portions all day long. Now, I have a big breakfast, don’t eat for almost three hours, and just stay hydrated, which has changed how my body utilizes its energy.
Nutrisense has changed how I approach my health journey, and I’m benefiting so much from it!