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Pro nutrition: Profiling the supplements elite athletes use Pro nutrition: Profiling the supplements elite athletes use
Elite athletes need to fuel their bodies for optimal performance during hard training sessions and racing and get the most from their efforts. We... Pro nutrition: Profiling the supplements elite athletes use

Elite athletes need to fuel their bodies for optimal performance during hard training sessions and racing and get the most from their efforts.

We took a peek into the nutrition pouches, pockets and bottles of 6 South African elite endurance athletes to find out their favourite high octane fuel sources.

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio

  • Team: CCC-Liv
  • Sport: Road cycling
  • Nutrition Sponsor: Biogen

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio is South Africa’s greatest female pro cyclist. Ashleigh is the current South Africa National Champion and rides for UCI Women’s pro WorldTour Team CCC-Liv. She has a Commonwealth medal, with an Olympic medal her next major goal. Ashleigh is regularly ranked among the best riders in the world, finishing the 2019 season in 17th position on the UCI Elite Female world rankings after her career-best 5th in 2018. Ashleigh is also a multiple winner of iconic local races, including the 94.7 Cycle Challenge and Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Ashleigh fills her nutrition pouches and bottles with:

Biogen Carbogen: Carbogen is my fuel of choice during my training rides because it´s a low GI carbohydrate source. This helps me to sustain my energy throughout my training ride. I also like that it is enhanced with antioxidants to help reduce the training stress. The Naartjie flavour is my favourite.

Biogen Raw Energy Oats Bar: The slow-release energy from the oats and the nitrates from the beetroot is a perfect combination to get the best out of hard training. I like the Berry Beetroot flavour for long rides.

Biogen Whey Oats Bar: I like the Peanut and Honey flavour. The combination of carbohydrates and protein is great for long endurance rides. 

Biogen Cytogen: This is my preferred race fuel. The faster-releasing carbs and the caffeine providers the perfect fuel for intense race efforts. 

Biogen Real Fruit Energy Gels: I prefer to use gels during races because I find it hard to eat bars during intense racing. Gels are quick and easy to squeeze into your mouth so you can get straight back to business. I like the fact that Biogen energy gels are made from real fruit, as I believe the natural sugar source is much better for our bodies. I like the Strawberry-Apple flavour.

James Cunnama

  • Sport: Triathlon
  • Nutrition Sponsor: Biogen

James Cunnama turned pro in 2009 and has amassed a prolific racing resume over the years. He has won numerous events, including Ironman Florida and Ironman 70.3 Austin, Texas in 2010, Challenge Roth in 2012, multiple wins in 2017 at Ironman 70.3 events in Weymouth and Lanzorate and Ironman Hamburg, and Ironman France-Nice in 2019. His best result at the apex of the sport is fourth at the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Kona.

James’s bottles and nutrition pouch include:

Biogen Real Energy Gels: This is the easiest form of solid energy to get down during a race.

Biogen Carbogen and Cytogen Race Mix: Liquid carbs are my preference throughout the race as they’re easy to digest.

Biogen Energy Oats Bar: Mainly for back-up if I need extra energy.

Biogen Electrolytes: Consumed periodically throughout the race.

Biogen Caffeine tabs: I take these on the run leg. 

Landie Greyling

  • Team: Salomon
  • Sport: Trail running
  • Nutrition Sponsor: Biogen

Landie Greyling is one of South Africa’s most prolific trail runners. Her results include international wins at the Buffalo Stampede Ultra in Australia, Grand Raid Pyranees in France and Riano Trail Run in Spain. She also has notable finishes at the 100km Skyrun and Mont Blanc Marathon. She has won a multitude of local trail races.

The pockets of Landie’s hydration pack and nutrition pouch include:

Biogen Well Range Plant Based Protein Bar: Extra calories and a recovery boost from the protein.

Biogen Real Energy Gels: Vanilla and Coffee are my favourite flavours.

Biogen Real Vegetable Energy Gels: We prefer products that are as close to natural as possible.

Shaun-Nick Bester

  • Team Darkhorse Wheels
  • Sport: Mountain biking
  • Nutrition Sponsor: USN

Shaun-Nick Bester is a pro mountain biker, cycling coach and nutrition expert. He has raced professionally for over 10 years, both as a road cyclist and mountain biker. His racing resume includes wins at iconic multi-day stage races such as Joberg2C GC and the Cape Pioneer Trek. He has also competed in the UCI Road World Championships, the UCI XCO World Cup, and won a gold medal at the All African Games in 2015.

Shaun-Nick’s cycling top pouches carry:

USN PureFit Cyto Power HP: I use this during training and racing for shorter, more intense efforts.

USN Epic Pro: This is an ideal product to use during longer rides. 

USN Vooma gels: Gels are really easily digested at high intensities.

Bananas: It’s the only solid food source I can eat during races. Other foods make me feel uncomfortable.

Jenna Challenor

  • Team: Murray & Roberts
  • Sport: Road running
  • Nutrition Sponsor: 32Gi

Jenna Challenor is an elite athlete who has represented South Africa at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships held in Copenhagen and at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London over the marathon distance. Jenna turned her focus to ultra-distance running in recent years, placing second at the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in 2017 and 6th at the iconic Comrades Marathon in 2019.

Jenna’s seconding crew hand her the following energy sources:

32Gi Race and 32Gi Race Pro: I alternate these drinks during ultra-endurance races like Two Oceans and Comrades. 

32Gi Endure: This is the easiest form of energy to consume while training.

32Gi Gels: I don’t enjoy chewing during races, so I prefer gels over chews, bars or tabs. The Coffee and Vanilla flavours are my favourite.

32Gi Hydrate Tabs: I use these before and after runs to replace lost electrolytes.

Brandon Downes

  • Team TEG Pro Cycling
  • Nutrition Sponsor: 32Gi

Brandon Downes’ breakthrough win came in 2018 when he won the prestigious 947 Ride Joburg, which opened doors for him to race internationally. He signed by TEG Pro Cycling in 2019, which earned him spots at major European races such as the Volta Ciclista Provincia de Valencia and the Vuelta a Tenerife in Spain. He placed second overall in the 2020 Tour of Good Hope before the country went into lockdown.

Brandon’s fuelling on the bike includes:

32Gi Race Pro: I add 2-3 extra scoops above label recommendations into my 750ml bottle to get more calories and boost my protein intake, which aids recovery.

32Gi Gels: I take these in the later stages during longer races. Blood Orange is my go-to but I use all flavours.

32Gi G Shot: For a caffeine kick in the last 45-60 minutes. 

32Gi Hydrate Tabs: I generally drink these before and after a ride, and during indoor trainer sessions.

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