The Biggest Nutrition Mistakes Triathletes Make

That flood of products and advice makes the idea of simplification even more crucial—a concept Scott and many other pro triathletes support.

"A lot of athletes are overthinking it," Scott says. "When they simplify it, they're not taking an excessive amount of ingredients, or total calories—which is really the massive thing that causes the greatest amount of trouble.

"I'd rather have people err on the underside of it. I always ask 'Is the amount of calories you're taking during competition or in really hard training, are you doing the same thing under normal training conditions?' And 90 percent of them say 'No, I've never done it.' So why the heck are you doing it on race day?"

It all leads to what Scott sees as the biggest issue triathletes face nutritionally: Doing fine during the swim, feeling so-so on the bike and then succumbing to GI distress during an agonizing run.

"I can't count how many stories I've heard," Scott says.

More: 13 Things That Surprised Me in Kona

Scott recently has teamed up with X2Performance, a supplement that is NSF Certified for Sport (which Scott calls "gigantic.") In addition to his endorsement, Scott will provide training tips and nutrition plans for the brand.

Scott rattles off the benefits of the relatively few ingredients in X2Performance, from ATP disodium ("it enhances blood flow") to coenzyme Q-10 ("it's found in every cell of your body") to ribose ("a mopping system for the breakdown of byproducts").

Doing so, it's clear that the sport—and Scott himself—has come a long way from the dark ages of triathlon nutrition. Ironically, it came full circle—returning to the simple-is-better roots, but this time with a better understanding of what works for athletes pushing their bodies to the limit.

"A lot of the food-replacement drinks and gels out there are based on good science," Scott said. "That wasn't around when I was racing. I gobbled down eight bananas and thought, 'Oh God, I hope I can make it.'"

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