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The Näak application for tailor-made nutrition plans. 

Gastric and dietary issues affect 85% of runners. They even represent the leading cause of abandonment (23%)*. At Näak, we have made reducing these figures our greatest challenge! How? Through the Nutrition  Calculator: a simple, concrete, and user-friendly application that designs personalized nutrition plans for you, based on your profile, goal, and race characteristics. 

Developed in collaboration with Mathieu Blanchard, who already has two podium finishes at the legendary UTMB Mont-Blanc, this guide incorporates advice from our professional athletes to offer you a tailor-made nutrition plan. They will tell you what – and when – to eat and drink, to make your trail or ultra-trail a success, whether in terms of enjoyment or performance.

To discover the Näak application that will revolutionize the world of sports nutrition, click here!

« Gastric and dietary issues affect 85% of runners. They even represent the leading cause of DNF (23%)*. At Näak, we have made reducing these figures our greatest challenge! »

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WHAT IS THE NUTRITION CALCULATOR? 

Grégoire Guyot - the scientist of the team, our Director of Products & Innovation - defines with the meticulousness that is known to him and that is gently teased, this Nutrition Calculator: « It's a nutrition application that allows the runner to know what to drink and eat, at and between each aid station, to achieve their race goals. » 

These customized nutrition plans are designed based on your profile, goal, and the characteristics of the specific race. 

Näak's mission is to guide and educate, so this Nutrition  Calculator advises you ‘what’ to eat and drink, but also ‘why’ you need to do it. Grégoire Guyot explains: «The Nutrition  Calculator is intended to provide solutions along with keys to understanding. What drives us is to guide, advise, and enhance the skills of passionate runners on this crucial topic of nutrition during a race. »

Today, our Nutrition Calculator is capable of generating a personalized nutrition plan for trail runners registered in all races of the UTMB World Series, with which we are partners, as well as in the most renowned national and international 'classics'. 

« It's a nutrition application that enables the runner to know what to drink and eat, at and between each aid station, to achieve their race goals.»

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PERSONALIZED NUTRITION PLANS: HOW DID IT START? 

The Nutrition Calculator was born at a crossroads. The intersection of two realizations, a conviction, and a special relationship with one of our athletes, Mathieu Blanchard.

The first observation, according to our Product & Innovation Director, "is that sports nutrition can be difficult to understand"; and the second is, "that its role is absolutely crucial to achieving your objectives in an ultra-endurance race, since 23% of withdrawals from an ultra-trail are the result of digestive problems or a drop in energy". So we asked ourselves how best to tackle this problem. 

How? By returning to our deep conviction, where our mission lies: guiding, supporting, and educating enthusiasts. That's where the first seed of an idea germinated: a sports nutrition app that provides keys to understanding, advice, and personalized diet plans, with free access.

At the same time, Mathieu Blanchard confided in us that he had a similar project in mind. We joined forces and pooled our skills to design the most accomplished resource possible. As Grégoire Guyot admits: "There's a lot of Mat' brain juice in this Nutrition  Calculator!”

In fact, we developed the Näak application in the same way we develop all our products: with the inspiration and support of our professional athletes. As a result, the questions you'll be asked to customize your nutrition plan follow the same intellectual path and the same reflections that Mathieu Blanchard uses to build his nutrition plan for one of his objective races.

"There's a lot of Mat's brain juice in this Nutrition Tool!”

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WHY THE NUTRITION CALCULATOR IS ALREADY A SUCCESS? 

We began working on the Nutrition Calculator in early 2022, with an official launch planned for spring 2023. A year later, the application is experiencing success beyond our expectations: many trail runners have come to build a personalized nutrition plan on our Näak application ahead of their goals.

Pleasantly surprised, Grégoire Guyot nevertheless explains this success: « We receive a tremendous amount of requests, and users leave satisfied because the Nutrition  Calculator aims to be simple, concrete, easily understandable, and easily applicable. » 

« We receive a tremendous amount of requests, and users leave satisfied because the Nutrition Tool aims to be simple, concrete, easily understandable, and easily applicable. »

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR CUSTOMIZING THE NUTRITIONAL PLAN?

The Nutrition Calculator takes into account: your uniqueness as a runner; whether you're aiming for pleasure or performance; and the characteristics of the race you're preparing. The application then cross-references this information with the intellectual path followed by Mathieu Blanchard to build his nutrition plan, to propose a nutrition plan perfectly adapted to your needs.

The personal characteristics we consider are your weight; your height; your trail or ultra-trail experience; your level; your goal, pleasure or performance; the time you plan to run; your taste preferences, and gut sensitivity. 

The race characteristics we integrate are altitude; temperature; humidity; technicality; and the proportion of the event run at night.

"The application then cross-references this information with the intellectual path followed by Mathieu Blanchard to build his nutrition plan.”

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"The personal characteristics we consider are: your weight; your height; your trail or ultra-trail experience; your level; your goal, pleasure or performance; the time you plan to run; your taste preferences and gut sensitivity."

NÄAK’S NUTRITION CALCULATOR: USER GUIDE? 

Sports nutrition is a complex science. This application aims to make it more accessible. That's why we have made it a point of honor to make this Nutrition  Calculator a resource with simple and intuitive usability.

Here are the steps to access your personalized nutrition plan:

Step 1: Go to the Nutrition Calculator

Step 2: Answer a quick quiz designed to identify your needs based on your runner profile and the characteristics of the race you're preparing for.

Step 3: The algorithm will interpret these customization criteria.

To give you some concrete examples:

  • If you aim to perform by achieving a specific time, the algorithm will estimate your energy needs higher. If you aim to finish, these needs will be "rationed."

  • If you are tall, the algorithm will grant you a small caloric bonus. Makes sense! Your body requires more energy to function. 

  • If you consider your intestinal sensitivity to be high – meaning you regularly experience gastric issues – the Nutrition  Calculator will lean towards the lower end of the recommended intake.

Step 4: Select the products that you prefer or that you want the most from all of our ranges of drink mixes, energy bars, waffles, purees and gels

Step 5: The Nutrition Calculator processes and delivers to you in a few minutes what you should eat and drink - where and when - to reach your goal in the targeted event. 

Step 6: You receive your personalized nutrition plan in two formats in your email inbox: a nutrition plan integrated into the race profile and a summary in the form of a detailed table. 

In this personalized nutrition plan, you will find:

  • The list of refreshment points, including their names and distances

  • The estimated time between each of these refreshment points

  • The targeted number of calories for each segment of the race, between each refreshment point

  • The details of the products to consume on each of these segments (Drink Mix, Energy Bars, Waffles, Purees, or Gels)

  • Instructions to follow at the aid stations, so you don't have to think but only apply because we know how lucidity and willpower can diminish over the kilometers.

Q&A ABOUT THE NUTRITION CALCULATOR WITH MATHIEU BLANCHARD

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The athlete is at the heart of our innovation strategy, whether it's products or projects. The Nutrition Calculator application is no exception, as it was co-developed with Mathieu Blanchard, the ultra-trail runner with 2 podium finishes at the UTMB (hoping for more?). We interviewed him about this collaboration at the confluence of passion, sports, and entrepreneurship.

Mathieu, what role did you play in the development of the Nutrition  Calculator application?

I had the idea of an application that could guide trail runners on what they should eat and drink during the race in the back of my mind for quite some time. I get along wonderfully with the Näak team, so it was only natural for me to propose this collaboration to them. From there, we combined my field expertise with Näak's know-how. This project is the culmination of a perfect symbiosis between experience and science. I am proud and happy that we are behind a first in the world of sports nutrition.

The nutrition plans offered on the Nutrition  Calculator are inspired by your mental framework for building your own before races. Can you describe the different elements you take into account to develop these nutrition plans that will allow you to express your full potential?

I consider a really wide range of parameters: the distance of the race, the elevation gain, altitude, temperature, humidity, technicality, estimated time, number of refreshment points, their spacing, my dietary preferences, and also the race strategy. I aim to have maximum energy when I attack or, to alleviate strain on my digestive system when I need to slow down. Based on this, I calculate the number of calories to consume per hour. However, I want to emphasize that nutrition remains a sensitive subject because it's highly individual. What works for me may not necessarily work for my neighbor. That's why we work with data ranges for more flexibility, with maximum and minimum values, or upper and lower limits, rather than fixed and rigid numbers.

 

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What advice from your experience have you instilled in this Nutrition  Calculator

There are several. Spontaneously, I would say: the importance of favoring liquid or semi-liquid energy intake because starts are often faster than expected; a decrease in caloric intake above 2000 meters because the intestines are more fragile at this altitude; an increase in intake just before a planned change of pace, at the point where you want to 'toughen up' the race; and finally, the right caffeine intake, ideally from solid products, during the night...

We're making progress every day, even at your level. What's the latest thing you've learned about nutrition? 

I wouldn't say it's an apprenticeship, but lately, I've clearly deepened my understanding of the different types of simple carbohydrates: fructose, glucose, maltodextrin... The devil is in the details. I realized how crucial it was for each product to be composed of a balance between these different carbohydrates, to offer the body maximum options in terms of energy source. The products in the Näak range maintain this balance, and it's fantastic from a performance perspective.

 

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Finally, one last question before I let you get back to training: is there any advice you regularly give regarding a mistake you often see enthusiasts make?

(Spontaneously) Without a doubt: 'gut training'! Concretely? Train your gut to digest and assimilate the sports nutrition you plan to consume on the big day! You should consider your digestive system like a muscle and prepare it just as you would prepare your quadriceps for tackling all that downhill. For this, I recommend testing your nutrition during your long outings! That's the key to avoiding digestive problems or energy crashes on the big day.

« With Mathieu Blanchard, a collaboration at the confluence of passion, sports, and entrepreneurship. »

« I am proud and happy that we are behind the first in the world of sports  »

« What works for me may not necessarily work for my neighbor. That's why we work with data ranges for more flexibility, with maximum and minimum values, or upper and lower limits, rather than fixed and rigid numbers. »

« Based on that, I calculate the number of calories to consume per hour.»

« Lately, I've delved deeper into my thinking about the various types of simple carbohydrates: fructose, glucose, maltodextrin... »

« You should consider your digestive system like a muscle and prepare it as you prepare your quadriceps to tackle all that downhill elevation. »  

*study sciencedirect.com

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