Jordan Rapp Outlines his 70.3 Nutrition

Jordan Rapp outlines his nutrition following the 2011 REV3 Portland race where he took 3rd just 11 seconds out of first. His complete race report is here.  Because this was a relatively cool race day Jordan adjust his calorie/fluid ratio accordingly.


Per usual, I had an Ultragen orange cream shake as part of my breakfast. Before the race, I always like to have a bottle just to keep my mouth from getting dry, and I have two scoops of EFS lemon-lime electrolyte drink in a 22oz. bottle. I think it shows how good the product tastes that I’ll drink it before the race and don’t mind drinking it for two hours on the bike as well. I usually save the last 6oz. or so to mix my PreRace in. The lemon-lime and fruit punch both help to mask the strong flavor of PreRace, and the sugar in EFS also helps deliver the caffeine and other ergogenics to your system faster; I take my pre-race 20-30min prior to swim start. On the bike, with the cooler temperatures and fast, flat course, I was focused more on caloric replacement than calories and fluid. I had one 26oz bottle with 3.5scoops of EFS lemon-lime (350cal); one nice thing about EFS is that you can vary the concentration easily – it always dissolves well, even at high concentration – so that on hot days, you can have a higher fluid:EFS ratio, and on colder days you can use a lower fluid:EFS ratio when you aren’t sweating out as much. Very often, the focus is on preventing dehydration, but it’s important to remember, that you cannot – and do not even want to – try to replace 100% of your sweat losses from a fluid perspective; to do so would almost certainly result in hyponatremia. In my own experience, focusing on calories required is the most important thing. And while there is not yet the science covering the exact requirements of electrolyte replacement and how much is necessary and precisely why, I have found that replacing electrolytes is equivalently important to providing calories. I call it, simply, “salt and sugar.” While that ignores the fact that you aren’t fueling only with sugar (BCAAs are an important addition as well as there being multiple carbohydrate sources) and that salt (sodium chloride) isn’t the only electrolyte you need, I think it’s an easier way to remember what’s most important when replenishing during a race. Far too often, people focus on water as #1, and in my experience and in talking to others, shifting the focus to calories and electrolytes, and then to fluids, tends to produce a better result. At the very least, if you’ve had trouble and generally focus on fluids first, try shifting your focus in training. While this may seem like a relatively heavy focus this topic for a bottle that wasn’t all that concentrated, my other bottle for the race was my Specialized Virtue aero-bottle, which holds 21oz. Because of the flat course, and just for general “cleanness” on the bike, I simply mixed my “emergency bottle” (so called because my goal is to replace on course and to only *need* it if I drop a bottle between aid statios) – my aero bottle – and my gel flask, normally carried on the top tube, together. So I had two scoops of EFS, and one whole flask of EFS Liquid Shot, all mixed together with 21oz. of water. So that was a 600cal bottle with even less fluid. But, I knew that if the temperature increased, I could always just grab water at an aid station to dilute everything. My experience has showed me that osmolarity of a given “drink” doesn’t matter to much in the short term. Some drink companies make a big deal about this, but as the numerous folks who do well on gel+water can attest to, you can have a gel and then have some water, and don’t need to have gel+water right at the same time. So, basically, if your *EFFORT LEVEL IS CORRECT* (and for a half, it’s low enough – or SHOULD be low enough – that you have even more margin of error here), then you should be fine if, over a long enough period of time, say – 15, 30, 60min – your total fluid+electrolytes+fuel balance is correct. It’s not important that each time you intake something that its balance is correct. Ultimately, with cool conditions, I never felt any of that intuitive “drive to drink,” contrasted with Leadman, where I always felt I needed to drink more. So, I ended the day with 950cals on the bike and 47oz of fluid, though I probably lost about 50-100cals or so to bad aim (ending up on the bike and on me, rather than in me) and simply not being able to empty the bottles. That’s generally representative of what I like to take in for a half-ironman bike. I might shoot for slightly more in an Ironman, though I don’t think until you get down, at least in my case, to Olympic distance, that the intensity really starts to limit your ability to process calories. That’s also relatively low on the fluid side. I’d shoot to be closer to 30oz/hr typically, but we had virtually perfect conditions in Portland – moderate humidity and very moderate temperatures with relatively low wind – that also led to even less time on the bike, making the whole affair much simpler. So this was about as easy a day as you could ask for in terms of planning for nutrition. Once on the run, I simple make do with what’s offered at aid stations, taking a lot of confidence in the fact that I’m “ahead of the game” after a solid nutrition plan on the bike. In general, I’ve also found that a big breakfast (I take in close to 1500cal) is another massive edge, because you just start off with such a solid foundation.

I also supplement with some extra electrolytes by using SaltStick, but I’ve found this is in general an “insurance policy” and also something that is relatively unique to me; if you consider, for example, that there are people do fine on something like Cytomax, which has roughly 1/6 the total electrolytes of EFS, then there also are going to be people on the other side of the spectrum, for whom even a high electrolyte drink like EFS in not enough. The goal of EFS is to be the right amount of electrolytes for MOST people, but in my case, I’ve found I need about 50-100% more. The person with the highest sweat rate ever recorded at GSSI would need roughly 400% more electrolytes than what EFS offers. As with most science, you have to target an average. The goal of EFS is that it targets what MOST people truly need, but if you still feel like you could use additional electrolytes, it’s worth trying additional electrolytes, rather than, for example, assuming that the drink as a whole “doesn’t work for you.” What I like about EFS is that I’ve found I need to take a lot LESS additional electrolytes because there are so many in EFS, and that, even totally ignoring electrolyte concentration, it’s still the best designed sports drink on the market; even if EFS was just “FS” (the E stands for Electrolytes), and you had to provide 100% of the electrolytes you needed via other means, it’d still be the drink I’d choose, because of everything else that’s in it.

6 responses to “Jordan Rapp Outlines his 70.3 Nutrition”

  1. Great article! I really like the mention of varied needs in different individuals regarding electrolytes. This is something that everyone always wants an exact answer on and its just very hard to recommend an amount. I do recommend EFS often because of it’s no nonsense approach to sports nutrition supplementation and reliable information. Keep these “real life” fueling articles coming. And keep the great tasting products coming.
    Brandon Nichols, RD, CSSD

  2. Brandon,
    Exactly. Often we get questions from athletes wanting to know exactly how many electrolytes, water and carbohydrates they will need for their race. We try to explain that this can vary greatly based on diet, fitness level, environment, training state..etc. I’m glad to hear these ‘nutrition reports’ help athletes realize that this varies from person to person.

    Our recommendation is to start with the recommended dose and then test and adjust accordingly during workouts.

  3. Erik Svans says:

    Great entry Jordan,

    Your topics are always right on point…and much appreciated. I like how you are saying products are not only “one size fits all,” but also addressing how the course and climate (heck, even aerodynamics) come into play with your nutrition and how you adjust for every occasion to “fit” that day. I’ve made some big mistakes lately training in the heat of AZ, mostly trying to replace the immense amounts of sweat I lose per hour, thus putting me into hyponatremia—thanks for your perspective on this. It helps to have confirmation with the “fueling plans” I have tried, and see that when they work, they work for others as well. Also, dialing the concentration to fit personally is a great weapon as well, thanks for that advice. EFS and Liquid Shot have been my saviors in the heat, and I’m looking forward to using your “tactics” in a race August 14th in Flagstaff (meaning: cool like Portland)—I’m thanking you in advance for re-affirming my nutrition plan that I’ll follow–Race Report to come!

    Erik Svans DDS

  4. eric johnson says:

    i’m still confused about electrolytes. if you read the sport scientists blog, they say there is ZERO research that supports the benefit of taking electrolytes in during exercise, at least in terms of preventing cramps. (scroll down to section on muscle cramps)

    love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

  5. Eric,
    Clinical data can be tricky to read and it does not encompass all of the data or evidence. Often it raises more questions that it answers and often it can elicit different conclusions. The following study which was referenced in your link.
    Baker LB, Munce TA, Kenney WL. “Sex differences in voluntary fluid intake by older adults during exercise.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005 May;37(5):789-96
    At first glance this study looks to suggest that water works just as well as ‘Gatorade’ in the loss of sodium. If you look at the graph you can see that the Gatorade consumption offers a trend line that sits above the water consumption line. Though not statistically significant this does not mean it would not be had the study gone further or the environment was hotter. OR had Gatorade had MORE sodium. This study even stated “This occurs even though sports drinks contain some sodium because they still have much less when compared to the body fluids.” Meaning if the sports drinks had sodium levels closer to plasma sodium the results may differ. We agree which is why EFS has considerably more sodium and more of ALL electrolytes than Gatorade and other drinks.
    In the following posts we review the research in totality on electrolytes:

    A couple other points to consider. If a drink is not absorbed fully and rapidly it can affect the delivery of electrolytes effectively. Some drinks simply have ingredients that are not absorbed rapidly enough and therefore cannot deliver the electrolytes effectively. Furthermore practical anecdotal evidence can be just as important as clinical data.

  6. Jordan Rapp says:


    The Sports Scientist blog is a great example of the relatively common lack of evidence and scientific consensus on a wide range of exercise (and other) related topics. The Sports Scientists are correct that it does not appear that sodium supplementation is necessary to preserve serum sodium levels. I read the same article. Where I dispute what they wrote is in the conclusions. In other words, they say (paraphrasing), “sodium supplementation is not necessary to preserve normal serum sodium levels. Therefore sodium supplementation is not effective in terms of preventing cramps.” But that’s not really the same thing. What that could also mean is that cramping is not directly correlated with abnormal serum sodium levels. In other words, sodium supplementation may not help prevent cramps by restoring normal serum sodium levels, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t prevent cramps. I think the incorrect conclusion is that the only way that sodium supplementation could possibly prevent cramps is by normalizing your serum sodium. An interesting example, on the topic of electrolytes, is magnesium. You can test serum magnesium, and you can test blood cell magnesium. One measure the amount of magnesium in your blood stream. The other measures the actual cellular levels of magnesium. And the results are often markedly different. However, magnesium is known to often be harder to absorb than sodium, so I’m not sure if the same difference is or could be observed with serum vs. cellular sodium levels, but I think what it shows is that there is more to understanding the role that electrolytes play in muscle (and nervous system) function than just measuring serum concentrations.

    Ultimately, though, my own experience and that of numerous other athletes is that sodium supplementation prevents cramps. Given that it’s low risk, I’ll keep doing it and wait for scientists to figure out why it works, rather than dismissing it because one possible pathway for functioning doesn’t work. Yes, it is a viable theory that serum sodium concentrations could indicate whether sodium supplementation is necessary. But that doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY indicator. And it’s that conclusion that bothers me.

    Simply put, sodium seems to work. Just because scientists, at least currently, believe that it shouldn’t doesn’t change the fact that it seems to.

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