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27th February 2020 – UCAN: Ironman Nutrition Simplified

There are not many products that I whole heartily endorse unless I’ve seen the benefits myself and to others, the science and research behind the product is sound and “it does what it says on the tin”.

UCAN is one of these products.

Always a sceptic, and being able to see through most products’ marketing, UCAN piqued my interest because of its background story, especially the fact that it was never designed to be a mass market athletic nutritional product like every other one on the market.

If you want to hear the story, then there’s a great podcast all about it here.

After hearing more and more about it on various other triathlon podcasts, I thought I’d give it a try.

UCAN is essentially a super slow release energy powder that you mix into either a thick milkshake or watery drink and is taken before a long workout or race. One serving of UCAN provides approximately enough energy for around an hour and a half and is super low in calories.

Now here’s where UCAN gets clever - unlike any other product, you can “front load” it and have two or even three servings in one go to provide even more long lasting energy. It’s also been designed to be absorbed super quickly and never really sits on your stomach - virtually eliminating any GI distress often experienced with other nutrition products.

Still being sceptical, my first time using UCAN was before a fell race. I drank one serving thirty minutes before the race and off I went. What’s strange is that because it gets absorbed so quickly, you don’t feel like you’ve drunk (or eaten) anything, which takes a bit of getting used to. One hour later, and having had a great race, I was looking forward to my usual post-race McDonalds (something I’ve always done after every race), but then realised that I just wasn’t hungry. In fact, three hours later, I still wasn’t hungry.

Still being sceptical, I tried UCAN again before a hilly sixteen mile run. This time, I drank two servings thirty minutes before the start of the run. I topped myself up with an electrolyte drink throughout the run and I did carry 2 emergency gels with me but didn’t need them. In fact, 4 hours after the start of the run and being back at home, I still wasn’t hungry and once again, passed on my post-race McDonalds.

I was sold (although I do miss my McDonalds).

There’s a great thread on Slowtwitch where the main UCAN guy (an Ironman winner) is pretty quick at answering any questions you might have.

UCAN is available in the UK from here.

All PTC athletes get a discount on UCAN products so if you’re not with us, perhaps this is a good reason why you should be!

Coach Pat.