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What are the top ironman athletes fueling with?

What I Learned In Kona

The 2023 Kona World Championships are in the books, but the story of what athletes are using for record breaking performances is still being written. Check out what we took away from this year's edition.

The Buzz Around Cooling

Undoubtedly, the Omius cooling headband has taken this year by storm. Its visibility is undeniable, adorning the heads of numerous athletes. These headbands aren't just for a place like Kona; they're fantastic for your indoor workouts, too.

The secret lies in the graphite cooling stones, functioning like a heat sink, providing a refreshing sensation against your sweaty forehead. Athletes here are all for it, and I concur—the coolness is a real relief under the blazing sun. Just ensure the stones stay moist, either from sweat or a splash from your water bottle.

The Shift to High Carb Fueling with Maurten

Maurten, the official Ironman Gel, is the go-to choice for the majority here. It's conveniently available at all feed stations along the course.

Athletes are pairing it with Maurten drinks, consuming a minimum of 2 Maurten Gels hourly during cycling, and some upping this to three for the running segment. I noticed a preference for the Maurten 160 Gel, packing 40 grams of carbs allowing athletes to lighten their load.

High-carb fueling isn’t just a fad; it’s the new norm among competitors. I gave the new 6D 45-gram Gel a shot in this climate and was impressed, it was both full of flavor, very liquid, and packed with energy. You might want to try it out it yourself.

The Era of Big Bottles

A glance at the transition area revealed a unanimous choice: big bottles. My favorite was the exclusive Maurten 25.2 oz (750ml) bottle, which dominated the scene.

I secured 100 of these Maurten 750ml bottles for our Feed Athletes. They're perfect for enduring rides, indoor sessions, and stylish rehydration and refueling.

Run Bottles were BIG time.

Winner and now World Champion, Lucy Charles-Barclay, had her run bottle (identical to these Feed ones) with her the whole time. So did our own Taylor Knibb. Grab a six back for your next run here.

The Gel Saturation Point

Talking to some competitors, I learned they hit a wall with gel intake. Resorting to just water, they struggled significantly during the latter half of the run.

Had they begun with substantial fuel like the Spring Awesome Sauce Gels while cycling, transitioning to Maurten or similar gels for the remainder of the race, they might have had an easier time reaching the finish line.

Pillar's Buzz

The conversation around Pillar and its magnesium-centric drink is growing. Previously exclusive to elites like Jan Frodeno, now it’s the talk among many participants. Its absence on shelves explains a lot, but it’s back now. At just over a dollar per night, users are convinced of its sleep-enhancing powers.

I can personally attest to its role in fighting jet lag and promoting deep sleep, thanks to its advanced formula, including highly absorbable magnesium from Traacs. Do give it a shot for better sleep.

”HOTSHOT Became My Race Day Hero"

My on-course survey of discarded gel wrappers and other packages revealed a clear winner: HOTSHOT. With the extreme heat, cramping was a major adversary.

Every cramp-hit athlete I met who had HOTSHOT was thankful for its power. A pro tip: ingest it the moment you sense a cramp coming.

Shhh...Exciting New Finds

I uncovered several fresh products, including international brands and intriguing high-performance tech, soon to grace The Feed's offerings. Stay tuned for the reveals!

What struck me most were the resilient age-group athletes. Battling the heat was as challenging as the course itself. Hats off to all who dared to start, and to the finishers, you've earned the title of Ironman.

Avatar Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson / Monday, October 16, 2023