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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

What do you drink during training and racing, Gary?

Updated: Feb 20

Gary powered to another age group record by his secret blackcurrant-based hydration formula
Gary (left) running alongside John Walker and NZ Marathon Champion and sub-2hr 20m marathon runner, Grahame Struthers in the 1977 Round Rarotonga Race of 19 miles. It was stinking hot and humid that year and I had no water for the entire distance (my drink bottles were with one of the scooter riders you can see in the background but was prevented from following by the police). I had acclimatised by training in a sauna for at least three months. It was what saved me from what could have been a disaster.. I finished 2nd behind Grahame.
"When you say you need to drink heaps what’s the temperature there.. assume hot!  Do you use electrolyte drinks in training at all?  I never did because they were all too sugary and salty but I guess there’s some good stuff around now."

(Question posed by a former world record marathon runner. We are currently in Mont St Ann, Quebec, Canada, where I am preparing to defend my UCI Masters 65+ Mountain Bike World Championship title. The temperatures have been in excess of 30 C degrees)

I've hardly ever used commercial drinks during either training or racing. These commercial drinks tend to be far too sugary, usually based on high fructose corn syrup and just a handful of electrolytes. Just supplying 3-4 electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium does not make sense when there are actually about 80 minerals that the body needs for health and performance.

Pumping heaps of sugar into one's body all of the time, regardless of how much exercise a person is doing does not allow one to shift into fat-burning and is a huge stress of the pancreas. In my opinion, it is setting a person up for diabetes and obesity later in life.

What I use is a home-made NZ blackcurrant-based drink that includes a wide range of nutrients that are known to be beneficial for performance and recovery. I use this formula for both training and competition. While there is some sugar supplied by blackcurrant, it is not a huge amount, but more than sufficient for my needs (having a relatively low sugar diet for many years now means I can now go for hours of exercise without the sensation of hypoglycemia).

"What exactly is in this performance and recovery formula, Gary?"

Well, I'm not telling. It is a secret formula that I've spent years perfecting. It is reserved for my paying clients and for the athletes I'm looking after.

Alofa and I are presently in Quebec, Canada, preparing to defend my UCI Masters 65+yrs Mountain Bike World Champion title. Here in Mont St. Anne, we are suffering a heat wave with temperatures last week exceeding 30 C daily. Next week promises to be cooler. When out training I've been losing about half a litre of water every half hour or so. I've been taking one 600 ml bottle of my blackcurrant mix then diluting it again and again at water stops until it is just plain water. I've been able to do intense workouts for three or more hours on jut that - not even a snack bar required - then eating very well once home.

When I get home I'm making a point of adding lots of salt to my food. Lots of salt! The salt we have is a multi-mineral sea salt such as Celtic or Himalayan. When you look at the minerals in these sea salts you will realise that they are almost exactly the same mineral makeup for what we test on the Interclinical Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. This should come as no surprise since Himalayan salt is the remnants of the Primordial Ocean some 500-600 million years ago in which life evolved. You could say that our cells contain more or less the same mineral make-up of the sea in which we first flickered into life!

I would add that we arrived in Canada from our NZ Winter fully acclimatised. We did this by taking weekly sauna for at least three months so that we were fully prepared for the most extreme heat well before we got here.

More reading about hydration:


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