Walter Thorburn - Go2Max - Endurance Coaching - Services

By: Go2max  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Nutrition, Supplements, Athlete

I have successfully coached triathletes to top three elite and age group titles as well as a large number of World age group Ironman qaulifiers. Add to this Coast to Coast multisport athletes who have finished 8th and 11th place overall and recently one of my athletes finished top 3 overall in the one day.  I coach both multisports and individual sports like cyclists and runners with top 3 placings in the Auckland, Christchurch and Rotorua Marathons.

The minimum amount of time I need in order to turn an athlete around is six months.  During those six months, I provide a detailed daily training programme, but this is only a piece of paper and not the most important aspect of what I think coaching is about. This you can purchase from any bookstore. It is about finding out what you as an individual require to transfer you from the athlete you are into the athlete you want to be.

In my opinion, the so-called ‘balanced diet’ no longer cuts it. If you are serious about optimum performance and optimum health, nutritional supplements are your insurance policy in building a better, stronger and healthier structure.

At the start I try and meet up with every athlete and discuss the following in detail:

  • Goal setting
  • Power programme
  • Stretching routines
  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • Anthropometry (lean body mass testing)
  • Bike position 

Depending on the experience of the athlete and his/her background, we will determine the framework of how the programme is structured.  I often find that people are stuck in certain beliefs and we need to peel back the layers of entrenched old ideas until we can get to the core of the athlete’s true abilities. Time is also needed to build up trust. Once you have confidence in your programme, knowing that what you are doing is correct, only then can you experience unlimited growth. The more you trust in me as your coach, the more I can do for you.

I believe it is a real honor to be given the privilege that people trust their time, money and future in my ability as a coach and I take it very seriously.

The minimum amount of time I need in order to turn an athlete around is six months. I need to ensure that my athletes are totally committed and up-front with time available that I can work with.

$ 1200(+gst).- six month programme, includes:

  • Extensive initial consultation
  • Personalised daily training programme
  • Frequent consultation
  • Training and racing analysis
  • Goal setting
  • Power programme
  • Stretching routines
  • Nutrition and supplementation
  • Anthropometry (lean body mass testing)
  • Bike position  

My Beliefs And Background

In my opinion, the so-called ‘balanced diet’ no longer cuts it. If you are an endurance athlete trying to attain the highest level you can, the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is not relevant for you, and you are holding yourself back. These are for sedentary people, primarily to prevent deficiency diseases. As an athlete, you can’t possibly eat enough to get the required amount of vitamins and minerals for repair and new growth.

I worked for 4 years in one of New Zealand’s leading nutrition company that focused on high-performance nutrition for athletes and "Optimum" health.

I have always had a major interest in the power of optimum nutrition for athletic performance and maximizing my own health as well as the health of those willing to share my enthusiasm for the same attainment. I have also been fortunate enough to access a vast number of products that are on the market and have experimented with them in training as well as racing. Some are a load of rubbish whereas others can give great support for the demands placed on us as endurance athletes.

Just like anything, there is good and bad, and nutritional supplements are no different. The products have to be of the highest quality. Any other supplement choices won’t bring about the desired long-term health gains or performance enhancement in sport. Just a small example, but worth noting: Minerals have different transporters like oxide, aspartate and citrate, to name a few. Magnesium aspartate, for example, is two to three times better absorbed by the body than the corresponding magnesium oxide.

I like to classify supplements into three categories: those for general health, those for increasing lean body mass and loss of body fat and those supporting the training load, so that you can recover faster and grow stronger.

Supplementation is something you want to get right. You can’t just take one tablet of this and one tablet of that. Everything has to be in synergy. At the same time, deficiencies need to be recognised.

It is a jungle out there and the right advice is crucial for your health and athletic performance.

As part of my coaching programmes, I guide my athletes through this. However, I also offer consultation only, where we discuss what supplements would be best suited for the hours of training, age, background, history and goals. In my experience, every athlete has different requirements and therefore a thorough consultation is necessary. For example, if somebody came to me with chronic knee problems and wanted to do the Ironman, and had exhausted all other avenues of rehabilitation, his or her money would be better spent on glucosamine/gondroiten sulfate rather than a protein powder for muscle repair. If the knees are the weakest link in the body, this will be the first to go before the muscles need repairing.

Anthropometry (lean body mass testing)

Anthropometry is one of many ways of determining your body fat percentage and body type. Other ways are underwater weighing, the bodpod (a small capsule you get inside of) and Nir (near infrared interactance).

Anthropometry uses body measurements and is a great and very portable as well as practical way to test. It uses many measurements, which include bone breadths, girths, weight, height and skin folds. The more measurements, the more accurate picture you get of your clients’ make up at that time. It also supplies some very useful information with regard to somatotype, which is a body fat classification system. This is a very powerful tool indeed for future reference when retesting.

Scales and weight cannot be used to estimate body fat, as they are measuring mass only. It is wrong to assume that weight loss or gain is fat mass. It is not very common to gain muscle only, or lose fat only.

There is no perfect body type, only the optimum weight for you. Moreover, you can’t choose your family, so it is important to appreciate the role of genetics. As much as 25-40% of your body fat, or if we look at it in a positive way, 50-75% lean body weight is inherited. Your genes could even drive some of your personal preferences for certain food choices you make.

One thing I should add is, there is no point testing for the sake of testing. If you decide to get tested make sure you do so every two months. It is all about losing fat, not muscle, and testing at regular intervals gives us this vital information. When you are retested, make sure you use not only the same procedure but also the same person to test you. This will limit the chance of error between tests.

I have completed an internationally recognized course about Anthropometry at AUT (Auckland University of Technology). Since then I have tested and retested a large number of athletes.

The test is conducted three times in the one sitting in order to obtain reliable and very accurate readings. I measure eight skin folds, five girths and two bone breadths, and you will get a printout of these measurements. Moreover, you will get the data of your height to weight, waist to hip, weight to skin folds ratios as well as you percentage body fat and your body type classification.

If you are one of my athletes, the body fat test will be part of the overall programme.

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Athlete, Nutrition, Supplements