Fuelling Athletes: Tristan Arraial of Olympian Swim Club

This month in Sports Nutrition, I wanted to feature one of the athlete’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with since December 2014. At our initial consult, an extremely motivated 15-year old Tristan and I worked together to develop the following goals for his upcoming 2015 season:

  • Optimize body composition through nutrition timing and intake. Tristan wanted to increase lean body mass and decrease body fat. We call this optimization of power-to-weight ratio for an athlete. His progress was monitored through our InBody 230 Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis machine every 2-3 months. Tristan worked to incorporate three balanced meals and two snacks daily, along with his recovery shake to optimize muscle refuelling and repair. Additionally, Tristan began to keep track of his hydration during training, which consisted of an ice-cold sport drink mix containing carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) to minimize muscle breakdown, reduce glycogen depletion and promote fluid intake.
  • Maximize post-exercise refuelling and recovery for a training schedule which consisted of a series of water and dry-land training 7-days a week. This became a key focus as Tristan attended a Performance Training Camp in Phoenix, AZ where temperatures hovered 40-44°C for the two weeks he was there.
  • Improve the consistency and tailoring of nutrition strategies for training and race days to minimize gut intolerances. Tristan became cognizant of his food selection and the impact certain foods had on his performance. His goal was to hone in on competition-safe foods, which would provide him the fuels needed to perform while minimizing any sort of gastro-intestinal discomfort.
  • Prevent leg and foot cramps, which were occurring at an average of 1x/week. Through improved hydration and fuelling strategies to optimize recovery, Tristan’s cramping episodes have completely stopped. Athletes experiencing cramping episodes may not be cramping due to compromised hydration contrary to popular belief. Instead, utilizing nutrition timing and fuelling strategies to reduce the risk of training fatigue or in a depleted state can often resolve these issues.
  • Periodize his supplementation through optimal dosages and timing to maximize effectiveness of supplements once a sound nutrition base was developed. The first supplementation was implementation of a carbohydrate and BCAAs sport drink mix. Now, we are in the midst of trialing Beetroot Juice shots to optimize oxygen used during training. These Beetroot Juice shots will allow Tristan to become a more efficient swimmer.
  • Correct nutrient deficiencies. Tristan has low ferritin and Vitamin D levels. These are two common nutrient deficiencies for athletes, which result in suboptimal performance. Our nutrition program emphasized the intake of Vitamin D and iron rich food sources. A higher-dose Vitamin D supplement was introduced with a recheck of blood work. Tristan will also be starting a meal plan with Mikhail Prime over at Greenhouse Salads for his lunch and supper delivery. One dish he will be eating to aid with his deficiencies is their Iron-Born Meatball – a meatball Mikhail has worked tirelessly to perfect which contains iron-packed organic liver. It’s flavoured so well that you can’t even tell this secret ingredient is in there!

For now, we wish Tristan the most success in his upcoming summer competitions with even more seconds shaved off his 200m backstroke! We are proud to be working with Tristan and look forward to a phenomenal race season! Continue to read his interview and statistics below:

Athlete: Tristan Arraial
Team: Olympian Swim Club
Event: 200m Backstroke
Years in the Sport: 7
Personal Bests:

  • Short Course 25m pool – 2:16.27 for 200m backstroke
  • Long Course 50m pool – 2:23.14 for 200 backstroke.

Support Team:

  • Swim Coach – Lesley Serediak
  • Dry Land Coach – Devon (ASDC)
  • Nutrition Coach – Ricky Ng, RD
  • Sport Psych Coach – Erin (ASDC)

Primary Focus for 2015-2016: Qualify for Age Group National Championships
Motto: “What are you waiting for?”

What were major nutrition issues/concerns you were facing when you first came to Revive?
“I was struggling with my eating habits. I wasn’t eating the right kinds of foods, the right amounts or at the right time. Drinking water and staying hydrated was a huge issue as well.”

What has surprised you the most when it comes to nutrition and how it impacts performance?
“How fast I have become and the amount of time I have taken off in my chosen events. My training has not changed – the only thing that has is what and how much I am putting in my body”.

What is one nutrition advice you would give to an up and coming athlete?
“Eat lots of veggies and drink your green juice!! Oh, and don’t wait until you have a headache to drink water!”

What advice can you give to someone who is aspiring to become better in the sport you are currently in?
“Always try your best, stay positive – don’t give up, eat healthy and remember to STAY HYDRATED!”

July 20, 2015
Revive Wellness