Tips From A Pro: Kevin Portmann, First-Year Professional Triathlete
Hi, I’m Kevin Portmann! After a relatively successful 2016 season, winning IRONMAN® Coeur d’Alene and qualifying for Kona for the second year in a row, my fiancée convinced me to race as a pro in 2017. This year, I left my full-time 9-to-5 to embark on this journey as a professional triathlete. All in! It is a pretty scary life change; I think to myself, ‘what I am getting myself into??’ probably every day, but for the most part I am enjoying the process and it’s been awesome to see the slow but sure progression.
Even before turning pro, part of the adjustments I made in my training regimen was with the unequivocal fourth discipline of triathlon: nutrition. TriSports.com and Klean Athlete have played a major role in my triathlon “successes.” TriSports picked me up in their Elite Team back in 2015 and their support – from gear, equipment, training and race day nutrition, you name it – has been nothing short of incredible. Klean Athlete has been helping me with my nutrition since Coeur d’Alene last year after I decided to make nutrition a priority for Kona. Having raced two IRONMAN® in five weeks (Canada & CDA) and with Kona being only 6 weeks after my last IM, I knew there was not much I could do to get faster or fitter. I needed, however, to find ways to optimize my recovery and dial in my nutrition in order to maintain fitness, minimize injury and hold onto motivation. I was fatigued after CDA, and I knew that a fatigued body and mind would have a negative impact on my Kona build. I had to really focus on my nutrition. Here is what I did:
- Talk to an expert
I decided to work with a certified nutritionist. I have always maintained a relatively healthy diet, eating clean and balanced meals but what she taught me about fueling myself as an endurance athlete was eye opening. Needless to say she completely changed my diet. She walked me through what to eat, in what portions, and when to eat in order to minimize the stress that training had on my body and get me ready for my next workout. Just as important, if not more, she taught me about how to properly fuel during recovery.
- Take recovery as serious as training
My nutritionist introduced me to omega 3s (an antioxidant that helps support healthy joints) and daily vitamin supplements (increase intake of key vitamins and minerals to support the immune system).‡ I started taking Klean Omega™ and Klean Multivitamin™ every morning. She also introduced me to different types of recovery drinks. The recovery powder I used to take had a 2.8:1 carb-to-protein ratio, which especially for an endurance athlete, is sub optimal. Studies indicate after a hard workout, your muscles are primed and ready to take in carbs to replenish glycogen and give you energy. So she strongly advised to find a high quality recovery drink that offered the necessary 4:1 carb to protein ratio to optimize the recovery process, which Klean Recovery™ by Klean Athlete provides.‡ I also forced myself to eat five, six times a day in controlled portions and macronutrients, and started having a recovery drink after each training session, regardless if it was an easy 20-30min run or a hard intervals set. If my training was longer than 3 hours, I made sure to take 2 scoops of Recovery in my post training drink. She would also have me take in extra protein with the Klean Isolate™ powder 30 to 45 min before going to bed. That would give my body a little extra help to repair all the muscle tissues damaged during my training, so the muscles don’t go to bed “hungry” for 8 hours while I sleep.‡
- Stay consistent
I followed my nutritionist’s recommended plan to the T in my 6-week build to Kona, and the day of the race I felt great, better than I had the year prior, and better than at Coeur d’Alene. I continue to follow her recommendations, and advice, even still now and continue to see improvement in both my overall training and recovery. My body feels ready to go 95% of the time; there are still some training days that will take a lot out of you! Nutrition is a literal science, so there is still a lot I am learning and continuing to adapt to as my body changes.
Consistency not only in training but also how you fuel your body is key. Sure, I allow myself to indulge every once in a while – because what’s life without pizza?! But after a while, fueling your body properly becomes second nature – a lifestyle adjustment, not a fad diet. It also helps to have easy access to Klean Athlete; TriSports.com sells all Klean Athlete products and with their quick order processing, I have a replenished cabinet of everything I need with no hassles. I am one easy online chat away with Eric and Ross from the Trisports’ Customer Service team if I have any questions about the products. They always have an answer, and will dig one for me.
What do I use?
- Klean Omega™ & Klean Multivitamin™ (every morning)
- Klean Recovery™ (after each training)
- Klean Isolate™ (3-4 times a week)
Any favorite recipes?
I like to keep it simple. With Klean Recovery™, I usually blend it with almond milk (mixing it with water does not taste as good), one banana, and some frozen berries if it is hot outside.
Sometimes I’ll mix in a scoop of Klean Isolate™ into my yogurt. The good thing is you can mix it up with almost anything.
My fiancée likes to mix Klean Isolate™ with almond milk, one banana, a tablespoon of almond butter and a couple handfuls of spinach to get her greens in (you can’t even taste it!). I have yet to add either Klean Recovery™ or Klean Isolate™ to cake dough, but that is on my experiment list.