Fuelling your best performance….

Fuelling your best performance….

Endurance, Triathlon, and Ironman Functional Nutrition Mentorship Programme

Hi all,

I just wanted to announce that over the coming months I will be rolling out a mentorship programme for a select few serious endurance athletes. Places will be limited so if you are interested watch this space or email me to reserve your place (andreacullenhealthsolutions@gmail.com).


Are you a triathlete, ironman, endurance runner, cyclist, swimmer, rower or adventure racer? Are you interested in taking your training and genetics to the next level? Are you SERIOUSLY committed to achieving your sporting goals?

How bad do you want it?

Will you invest in you?

Are you committed to achieving excellence?


Are you prepared to work hard to achieve your goals?

Over the years I have been blessed to worked with many top class, elite and Olympic athletes in addition to numerous sports teams from the professional to the amateur. Truly it has been an awesome journey.

Last year I took time out from working in sport as I started to get deluded by the lack of fire and passion in people to truly push the boundary with their nutrition and performance. Also, I was plain exhausted by feeling a need to compete with the marketing lies and BS that is out there in Google land and the media. Don’t believe everything that you read; fads and hype are mega business!

It often feels tiresome for those working within sport and consistently studying to keep abreast of  the scientific advancements in sports and health nutrition to persistently be the voice of truth beyond the marketing hype. These days everyone has an opinion; and not many want to sit back, listen, explore and bust through dogma. And this is perfectly fine; bring your arguments to the table IF you spend a similar number of hours in education and research as myself and many esteemed colleagues do!

So on my little sojourn from the real world I read and studied and asked questions and made superb contacts in the realms of research and then I decided to just be myself and to let actions and experience be my voice and to let unfold what would unfold….

And then I met my Ironman boyfriend and went to Kona (and here) as supporter :-). It was there, thanks to meeting some awesome athletes that I realised that I have so much more to give and to throw myself back into the world of sports nutrition.

I also made a commitment to further my ‘practical experiential learning’ this year and became involved in the not only training for longer distance triathlon but also to be competitive to the best of my ability. I cannot express enough how much this has added to my expertise from a practical stance. I have been not only training my ass off but training my brains :-). So after a period of learning, then training, and now competing I have  reopened the clinic where I provide many new services and a wonderful place to visit.

andrea triathlon

It is funny because for me I am not the most competitive athlete against others; I like to see others succeed. But I do compete against myself; I push hard in training and will test my body in competition. I want to feel and understand everything that is going on in my body as I endure training sessions and then apply the science and see how far this little body can go in this crazy sport called triathlon. I have even set a goal of competing in Olympic, Ironman 70.3 and full ironman all within 12 months (I must be mad).

Every session generates more observations and questions. I have spent more time in research than I have in training which says a lot. And then I test the personal theories that I have about sports nutrition practically. And I discuss this with the worlds best scientists and then we all have more questions and opinions… and so the learning curve expands.

“What drives me; is making you the best….. based on you as an individual and unique athlete….”

I am known to be an out of the box thinker. This I think is what makes me different in the competitive sports nutrition arena; this coupled with my background in pharmacy and health and functional medicine. And although I may not be out to win my age category and more; I am competitive as hell to get my athletes winning. THIS is what drives me; I want to make you a winner and to achieve all the goals that you have set in stone to pursue.

For me: 1+1 in science = the whole alphabet in practical application. I will read as much research as I can get my hands on and then ask the questions that have not been posed. Science is only giving us answers as to what the body can do…. there are so many exciting practical tools to be explored in sports nutrition and performance when you marry functional medicine, diagnostic medicine, health, nutrition, sports nutrition, the power of the mind and sports physiology…..and when you can add in a team on your side of coaches and exercise physiologists then the limits can be pushed… Personally I find this fascinating….how far can you go?


Have a ponder on the following:

Do you know that nutrition is equal in importance to your training and most often the forgotten discipline in training? (Actually proper recovery and strength training are often ignored also but this is another discussion don’t get me started!)

The A-C health Solutions foundation to sports success:

  • Training – get a good coach or get educated!

Training is not about more and more, but quality. Train smart! You are asking your body to become efficient and economical, strong, metabolically flexible, and to have not only endurance but speed. All these outcomes require different training approaches (and nutrition can greatly improve the efficiency of each). We are looking to improve numerous cellular and metabolic functions, oxygen dynamics, fuelling efficiency, strength and power, etc…

swim nbike run

  • Nutrition – you are actually what you eat; think about it.


Your body is turning over all the time and how efficiently and effectively it does this is based on how well you nourish it. Food is not only fuel but it is what makes you structurally and biochemically; how awesome is that! From the quantum level to the cells, tissues, and organs you are the result of the food that you place in your mouth. pH balance, inflammation, mitochondrial biogenesis, the balance of anabolism and catabolism, bone regeneration, neural plasticity, and so on too are modifiable by nutrition.

Is it any wonder that we are a sick nation when you consider the standard diet. Or that nutritional needs of the athlete are compromised when you look at not only the quality of our food but where it comes from and how it is grown; add processing to the mix and we further deplete nutrient content.

I’ll bet that there is plenty of scope for improvement in your diet; not only in what you add but in the chemical additives and food associated chemicals that you (will) remove (e.g. aspartame, pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds, etc.). I won’t even brain spin you with the impact of our environment and chemical toxicants on your health and performance and significantly hormone balance and body composition.

the problem

  • Hydration – every chemical reaction in the body happens in the medium of water. Water is life. Using the BodyStat 1500MDD we can start to explore your day-to-day hydration levels and the impact of key sessions as well as chronic training, competition, and menstrual cycle (females) on your hydration status.


  • Intuition – nothing can replace listening to your body and adjusting training nutrition, or recovery, as you go and providing this feedback to your coach. All the gadgets and apps such as HR monitors and morning heart rate and HRV apps are support tools. I see them as best used to gain knowledge about yourself rather than dictating what you do to yourself; see the difference? (We still don’t know enough about HRV to ignore intuition about how you actually ‘truthfully’ feel).
  • Recovery
  • Sleep
  • The power of the mind; visualisation, guided visualisations, positive mind-set, affirmations, daily and racing mantra, etc.

the difference between winning and losing

  • Strength training
  • Flexibility training
  • Massage therapy and supportive therapies such as PEMF, aromatherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, the Bowen technique, music therapy, reflexology, fun, etc. (in other words whatever works for you to make you relax, recover, and feel better!).


Are you aware that no amount of expensive bikes, trainers or wetsuits will make you achieve your full potential if you are racing above optimal body composition, in an under-recovered / over-reached state, or from a poor nutritional base? For example  This is a nice little article that discusses how improving leg strength and body composition trumps simply upgrading your bike. In other words training and diet are always the first priority. As a small athlete for example I need to get strong; not a new bike!


Do you expect your body to train day-in-day-out, injury free, and well recovered when you omit to place equal importance on your fuelling strategies and daily nutrition as you do your alarm clock and hours spent training?

Do you have any idea about how hard to push or when you are pushing too hard? As part of the programme we can feedback important info to your coach about your physiological markers of rest-recovery. Did you know that there are a number of functional tests available through the clinic to assess hormone status and rest-recovery balance (cortisol, DHEAs, sIgA), sex hormones (free testosterone, oestradiol, progesterone), melatonin (important should you do shift work or frequent travel), and also a service to interpret standard medical lab tests. We also use a test called the Ragland’s postural blood pressure test to monitor adrenal health. Fatigued athletes can avail of sessions of PEMF to assist recovery and healing. The more we can explore how your body responds to training and develop a clearer picture then the better we are in a position to optimise your training load.

As an athlete involved in multiple hours of weekly training are you achieving your ideal macro-nutrient (protein-carbohydrate-fat) intake? Micronutrient intake (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids, antioxidants) to match your elevated physiological needs? And more specifically are you periodising these across the week dependent on your training session requirements and goals?

Do you battle injury; coughs, colds, upper respiratory tract infections, or asthma; fatigue, insomnia or poor energy, low motivation and focus during the daytime; poor recovery, muscle soreness, or stiffness; menstrual cycle problems or poor libido? Or are you off training due to chronic over-training or with a stress fracture? Poor nutrition choices on a daily basis will increase the likelihood of all of the above.


These are just a few points to consider! We will be covering a multitude of exciting areas that most high-end athletes tend to ignore. For example many of the following will be covered:

  • Functional athlete health assessment with diagnostic tests as determined based on your individual needs (these will be repeated as required during your preseason and competition season).
  • Body composition assessment, on-going monitoring and optimisation for your sport and individual body type.
  • Daily nutrition basics; correct fuelling of training and optimising nutrition for individual training session goals (e.g. some sessions will be geared towards improved fat oxidation and others for fuelling high intensity performance. Specific sessions will be aiming to improve mitochondrial density and others lactate clearance, and so on).
  • Interpreting training HR data and thresholds in relation to nutritional requirements.
  • Recovery basics and advanced periodisation strategies.
  • Race day from T-3 to T+1 (preparation to recovery).
  • Nutritional supplements; do you need them and what will be a wise investment for you based on your health and training specific goals?
  • Cooking, shopping and quick prep tips to support your busy work-life-training balance.

…..And a whole lot more which I will update in future blogs. Trust me you will be kept on your toes as this is a journey of no limits. best-investment_resized




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