Fuelling Practicality

We coined the phrase ‘Fuelling Simplicity’ when we developed the TORQ Fuelling System. Here we talk about how our dedication to science combined with our wealth of experience provides you with the practical fuelling product solutions you need.

Over the last 20+ years TORQ has worked directly with athletes and physically active people through our Fitness Consultancy, whether via a bespoke coaching programme offering session by session fitness training planning, or by providing tailored nutritional strategies to an array of sports people from different disciplines. Through this wealth of experience, the sport science staff at TORQ have developed an archive of solutions to overcome the practical nutritional challenges that many sports people are faced with and the aim of this article is to share some of these insights with you. We will also explain how we have incorporated these solutions into the development of our award winning Performance Nutrition product range.

Simplifying Complexities…

Science can be complex, very complex. Over the last 2–3 decades sports performance has been has been scrutinised to a microscopic level so that variables such as diet and training can be manipulated to try to achieve optimal performance gains. Committed sports people all want to see an improvement. A significant amount of time is invested into ‘training smart’ as well as researching the type and timing of specific nutrients to support this continual drive for ultimate performance.

With knowledge being considered as power, the desire to dive deep into the dark depths of science can seem like a great idea, until you find yourself returning to the surface confused and none the wiser. It’s our commitment at TORQ to do this “diving” for you, and bring to the surface practical, simplified solutions to complex scientific matters.

The TORQ Fuelling System is a prime example of TORQ’s focus on scientifically supported yet practically focused simplicity.

Over 20 in-depth scientific research reports were critically evaluated by TORQ to produce an easily digestible (sorry we couldn’t resist the pun) fuelling and hydration regime which can be adopted by all endurance sports people to deliver the carbohydrate calories, fluid and electrolytes they need to perform optimally. The science is complex, but the system is frighteningly simple. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain the TORQ Fuelling System in detail, but if you would like to learn more you can click here or watch the short video below to get a flavour of it.

2004 was a big year for advancements in endurance sports fuelling recommendations. Research from Jentjens and colleagues (2004) established that when glucose and fructose were ingested together at 90g per hour in a 2:1 ratio (60g from glucose & 30g from fructose), carbohydrate absorption and oxidation (burn rate) was significantly greater than when only glucose was ingested. This meant that 2:1 Glucose:Fructose formulations could deliver more carbohydrate than ever before, providing a new generation of support to endurance performances.

TORQ kept a close eye on developments within this space and once a number of papers supported the research findings that 90g of carbohydrate per hour could become the new upper limit of carbohydrate absorption per hour, we formulated all of our fuelling range at 2:1, ensured that each product contained 30g of carbohydrate and created the TORQ Fuelling System. Constructing our energy drinks, gels, bars and chews into 30g fuelling units meant a person would simply have to choose 3 TORQ Units to consume per hour to achieve an optimal carbohydrate ingestion rate of 1.5g of carbohydrate per minute, which equates to the golden target of 90g per hour. We called this ‘Fuelling Simplicity!’

More recently (2020), research has explored the effects of carbohydrate oxidation (burn rate) on the ingestion of 120g of carbohydrate per hour (4 TORQ Units) from a 2:1 Maltodextrin:Fructose formulation (maltodextrin is a special form of glucose). The findings from this work suggest that 120g per hour could now be considered the upper limit of carbohydrate absorption. You can learn more about this research by reading our The Best Just Got Better article.

Inside The Athlete’s Mind…

Where TORQ has excelled is in addressing the users’ practical considerations whilst adhering unwaveringly to the science and this is because we understand athletes.

Texture: The TORQ Energy Bar was our first ever product, born in 2004 (we were simply a Fitness Consultancy before then) and from a practical perspective, we wanted this product to be easy to eat, because everything else on the market was chewy and quite frankly rock hard! Our tag-line ‘Moist & Chewy’ drew a few smiles, but was ultimately telling the story to our new customers that they could actually eat our bars without needing a toffee hammer! Since the launch of this product, texture has played a key role in our product development and we describe our drinks, gels, bars and chews as wet, silky, soft and chewy respectively. All products contain 30g of optimised carbohydrate and you choose the texture you feel like consuming.

We talk about the concentrated nature of TORQ’s fuelling units shortly, but there’s a fine line between getting the concentration of the product ‘high octane’ so to speak and it being easy to consume. At TORQ, finding the optimum balance has been a huge focus for us. With the exception of the TORQ Chew, which has been designed to be deliberately chewy, all of TORQ’s fuelling products are class-leading in terms of their ease of consumption, because we know how important this is from a practical perspective.

Palatability & Flavour Fatigue: One of the biggest factors influencing a sports person’s desire to fuel optimally is the flavour of the product they are consuming. Back in the late 80’s and 90’s, sports nutrition products had a poor reputation for their flavour profiles, with many popular brands still paying little attention to the importance of flavour to this day. Yet, if you are asking a sports person to fuel optimally, which requires a high level of product consumption, it is critically important that the sports nutrition products taste as good as they function, so the fuelling process becomes something to look forward to rather than a dread! At TORQ, we are widely recognised for our optimal 2:1 carbohydrate formulations and exquisite flavour profiles, with TORQ’s Director commonly referred to as the “Willy Wonka of the sports nutrition industry.” It’s because of this that many of the best athletes in the World choose to purchase TORQ nutrition outside of their contractual nutrition agreements, which really does speak volumes.

We have also explored the interaction of the flavours between products and how these should be considered within the TORQ Fuelling System. TORQ Gels are quite sweet due to their compact nature and offer a potent delivery of carbohydrate per serve. The sweetness of our gels is complemented however by our TORQ Energy Drink which is deliberately mild, offering a refreshing splash of fluids and electrolytes to support performance whilst acting as a refreshing pallet-cleanser and hydration aid within the TORQ Fuelling System.

Flavour fatigue is a common issue with ultra-endurance athletes because of the volume of products they need to consume and the long periods of time they need to consume them for. A variety of flavours becomes essential here, as we talk about in our 24 Hour Race Nutrition resource and one product we formulated specifically for the ultra-endurance market was our Vanilla Energy Drink. This product has all of the functional properties of our other flavours, yet provides the pallet with a well-earned break from ‘fruitiness’ by offering an entirely different neutral flavour profile. This gives these athletes, who are often under significant psychological stress, a vital tool they need to get the job done.

Concentrated TORQ Units: As previously discussed, there are four TORQ fuelling products that make up the TORQ Fuelling System, with three of these products considered as “concentrated” TORQ units. These concentrated units are the TORQ Gel, Bar and Chew. The TORQ Bar and Gel offer a potent 30g of carbohydrate in a compact 45g serve. The TORQ Chew packs a significant carbohydrate punch offering 30g of carbohydrate in a very compact 39g bar. Many other energy gels and bars on the market are often much larger in terms of their physical size. Some gels sachets for instance can be as large as 60g whilst paradoxically also containing far less carbohydrate (as low as 20 grams). With endurance sports people often having to carry an array of different supplies to cover themselves for the unexpected that may lie ahead, this can often leave very little room for nutrition and therefore these concentrated TORQ units can offer a large quantity of fuel, whilst taking up a small amount of space, without adding excessive weight.

Product Size and Weight: We eluded in the previous paragraph to the fact that TORQ’s Fuelling products are concentrated and therefore less heavy and bulky than their counterparts. We have also already mentioned that many elite level athletes choose to use TORQ products whilst racing and it is within these aggressive racing scenarios that we see the application of TORQ’s concentrated Fuelling System units really steal the limelight over other products on the market.

Consider this, you have spent the last 5 months training through the winter, maximising your training and optimising your nutritional strategy in order to arrive at event day in your best physical shape. You have perfectly planned your competition day nutrition and you know exactly how many gels and much fluid you need to consumer per hour to maintain optimal performance. However, the one area you have not accounted for within your plan is when and how you are physically going to consume these gels within the aggressive racing conditions of a road race for instance. Within a peloton, visibility is often significantly reduced and you have to choose your fuelling opportunity at a point within a race which is free from pot-holes and road furniture as well as timing your feed at a section of the race which is less prone to attacks from other riders trying to drop you. There may also be sections where you are climbing out of the saddle which is another instance of when fuelling would be exceptionally difficult.

In a mountain bike race, there are literally obstacles to overcome and ‘grabbing a feed when you can’ will be at the forefront of your mind. The bottom line is that you will need to be reaching into your pocket as few times as possible! Therefore, having an optimised formulation delivering 30g of carbohydrate in a small package means two things:

1. You don’t have to reach into your rear jersey pocket as often.

2. You’re carrying less weight, which given the amount we’re prepared to spend on our bikes to shave off a few grams, is a significant point. Losing body weight may also have been an important part of your preparation, so it would be illogical to carry more weight than you absolutely need to.

The image below highlights how 4 TORQ gels (enough fuel for a 2-hour event when you have bottles on your bike too) compares to the equivalent 6 gels from another well-known sports nutrition brand due to its less concentrated consistency. As well as the space saving in the pockets, also consider the overall weight saving of a 45g vs 60g gel (180g vs 360g). Then imagine that your competition is 4 hours long (360g vs 720g and 8 small gels vs 12 large gels)?

In summary, TORQ is not just a run of the mill sports nutrition brand. TORQ is a package containing a wealth of experience within the endurance sports fuelling sector. TORQ boasts a research-focused, evidence-informed product range, over 20 years of applied sport and exercise science work with athletes and first hand elite level racing experience. It is all of these factors that allow us to combine cutting-edge science with the practical experience we have learned over many years to bring you the best possible products.

If you have any questions about this article or any other subject, please don’t hesitate in contacting us at enquiries@torqfitness.co.uk or phone 0344 332 0852.

References 

Jentjens, R.L., Moseley, L., Waring, R.H., Harding, L.K. and Jeukendrup, A.E., 2004. Oxidation of combined ingestion of glucose and fructose during exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology.

Viribay, A., Arribalzaga, S., Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Castañeda-Babarro, A., Seco-Calvo, J. and Urdampilleta, A., 2020. Effects of 120 g/h of Carbohydrates Intake during a Mountain Marathon on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Elite Runners.Nutrients12(5), p.1367.