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Q&A With Dave Scott: The Six-Time World Champ Discusses Nutrition, Training and Chrissie Wellington

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Written by: Susan Grant

Inside Triathlon assistant editor Susan Grant caught up with Dave Scott regarding common nutrition mistakes, his new partnership with Forze GPS nutrition bars and his thoughts on world champ Chrissie Wellington’s future.

Inside Triathlon (IT): Looking back, how important overall was your focus on nutrition and nutrition strategy to your success as a triathlete?

Scott: I think nutrition was always paramount for my success. It was one small ingredient at first, but became larger as I began to focus on longer distances. It was key in the early 80s and 90s. Getting that unknown factor taken care of was important. Over time, it was an area that I could rule out and put a check by and know that it wouldn’t be an issue. Fifty percent of the calls that I get asking for advice are nutrition-related; it’s wild!

I think people often take in too much too soon or just not the right formulation and then they just shut down. In Half-Ironman and Ironman races, people think they need to tank-up before the race and they end up taking in too much.

IT: When you look at how today’s athletes prepare, what are some of the more common mistakes you see them making in regard to nutrition?

Scott: I think that one of the biggest things with nutrition is that all the carbohydrate drinks work just fine the way they are manufactured, and you don’t need to add more to them or dilute them to a certain concentration. The other part of the equation is that we know that the carb-to-protein ratio of four to one is key. The proteins helps preserve muscle glycogen and help you not pass water through your system too quickly.

Accelerade was kind of the catalyst of this carb-to-protein movement. Other stuff that I see athletes needing to improve on is overlooking those last three weeks of training and not including enough higher intensity leading up to the race. If you just rest and slow down for the weeks leading up to a race, I guarantee you will have a soft and slow race. Intensity has to be specific to all three of the sports.

IT: You’re now working with Forze GPS, which is a line of bars and drinks designed to be an appetite suppressant. Could you describe how the science works toward controlling an appetite and how a triathlete might use it?

Scott: It’s used during the periods when your hunger pangs are starting to rise and you are trying to control your food intake. Most people have these hunger pangs early to mid-afternoon. Like-say 3 p.m., when you are reaching for something, and often that something is 300 to 500 calories. If you look at the best athletes, the leanest athletes are the best athletes. Your VO2 goes up just by dropping weight. The science behind it is that there is a certain stomach peptide your body produces called cholecystokinin (CCK), which control appetite cravings and the feeling of being full. Certain foods are CCK-stimulating foods, such as those containing calcium, eggs, soy, milk, olive oil and oleic acid, but people tend to eat too much of these foods. The CCK in Forze bars and drinks make your brain say ‘I feel full’ and it works fast.

IT: What are your personal plans for this year? We understand you’ve been struggling with injury issues this past year.

Scott: I feel pretty good injury-wise for the first time in a long time. I had some calf and heel issues that weren’t fun, but now I am exercising a little bit. My motivation isn’t quite where it once was. People tend to want me to push a button and go. Last year I was really motivated to do Hawaii again, then I got this injury and I couldn’t do it. Now, all of the sudden I have all my injury issues resolved to where I can ride and run, and now it’s just a question of motivation. I travel too much. I have five weekends out of six where I travel. I don’t know if I am going to race, is what I’m really getting at.

IT: Chrissie Wellington is spending a lot of time in Boulder. What’s your impression of her as an athlete?

Scott: Chrissie is one in a million. I think she is going to clobber the women, not to discredit any of them, but she has “the gift.” I’ve only met a few triathletes like this; she is relentless and tenacious to the nth degree. She’s very interesting as well; she has evolved into this superwoman in an extremely difficult sport and why not let her exploit this to the nth degree for as long as she can?