New 'Zinc Out Loud!' on Fueling with Food & Noshing for Performance

Zealios 'Zinc Out Loud!' exclusive series interviewing pro athletes & more

This month’s topic is on fueling with food & noshing for performance. As we all know, this topic has a lot of opinions, trends and diets making things a little sticky. Learn how Team Zealios pros Linsey Corbin, Jesse Thomas and Joe Gambles eat for performance - including Joe’s plant-based diet recipes & tips!



 Linsey Corbin professional triathlete and 7x IRONMAN champion

Linsey Corbin, 7x IRONMAN Champion

Q: How have you seen nutrition play a supporting role in your training and recovery?

A: Nutrition plays a huge role in both training and recovery. What you eat BEFORE sets you up for a workout or a race, then you have to consider fueling DURING exercise, and lastly you have to fuel appropriately immediately after exercise for RECOVERY.

You hear all the time that nutrition is the 4th discipline and I agree.

Q: Can you share some tips for athletes trying to dial in their nutrition?

A: Nutrition when it comes to endurance sports is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. What works for one person may not work with another. You have to be willing to experiment and try different things to figure out what works best for you. If you are dialing in your race day nutrition, I think it is really important to put it to the test under race day intensities and conditions (hot weather / high sweat rates) so that on race day you have confidence in your plan and how your body will react to it.

Linsey Corbin pro triathlete during an indoor bike trainer workout


Q: You’ve actually taken your love for food & started a new Instagram account And you intro the page as “It’s all about food that tastes good & fuels good”. What’s the inspiration behind the new account & what can we expect?

A: Yes! Thank you for highlighting this. I have always loved food, cooking and have been fascinated in sports nutrition (I studied exercise physiology in college).

Linsey Corbin's new passion project, Hazel.and.Blue about food


Hopefully I can inspire the endurance community that eating well and cooking doesn't need to be hard or complicated and is totally possible. I think cooking is like triathlon - you get to try some new things and not be afraid to fail. Hah!  

As for what to expect - I am not 100% sure, I just wanted to get started with it and see what people would be interested in and take it from there. I am the cook of the house, so I hope to share the recipes and foods I eat to fuel as an athlete with others and inspire them to try new things and eat a healthy, balanced diet with real food. I am excited to hear what people think and develop the project over time.

Linsey Corbin in the kitchen rolling homemade pie crust Linsey Corbin cooks up healthy real food Linsey Corbin has taken your passion for cooking to a new Instagram account


Q: We see your ‘will ride for treats’ training posts… how do you use food as a motivator or reward while training?

A: I am always game for a treat!

I think most endurance athletes under estimate the amount of calories it takes to train properly. I also think on the long days of training where you are consuming endless amounts of sports nutrition, eating REAL food tastes so good. While I love my sweet treats, after a big day riding in the Cascade Mountains, nothing tastes better than salty snacks or a big burrito.

Linsey Corbin post long bike ride with a coffee & treat


Q: How important is it to find a good balance and relationship with food?

A: I pride myself on living a balanced life outside of triathlon, and I think the same goes for nutrition. It's okay to treat yourself to a beer or wine, splurge on nachos or an ice cream after a race.

We work really hard at what we do, so why not. I have always been a believer in everything in moderation, so when I refer to real foods - I'd rather have a small serving of ‘the real deal’ ice cream vs. a large non-fat frozen yogurt. The way you fuel should be fun, we only have one life, you may as well enjoy it.

Follow Linsey @linseycorbin or
Also check out Linsey's new Instagram account




Jesse Thomas pro athlete & Picky Bars CEO

Jesse Thomas, 2x IRONMAN champion

Q: Can you share a quick 101 on protein, fats to carb ratios when fueling for training & racing?

A: Our philosophy at Picky Bars is that, healthy, balanced, sustainable eating habits centered around real food provide the building blocks to success over the long term. Our energy bars are formulated around a 4:1 carb to protein ratio, which has been shown to provide sustainable fuel and hunger management in and around exercise.

In general, as you're in and around exercise, you're going to be looking more toward carbohydrates to provide the fuel necessary for best performance and recovery. Some protein helps for hunger management and muscle recovery post workout. Healthy fats are a necessary part of a well balanced diet.

I focus my carbohydrate intake during the morning, through my mid day workouts, and in the 90-120 minutes post workout, then balance the rest of the day with healthy proteins and fats, including lots of fruit and vegetables! It's pretty basic when it comes down to it. My philosophy is that if a diet sounds crazy, it probably is.  

Jesse Thomas Picky Bars CEO


Q: As a professional athlete, what foods do you rely on to keep you fueled properly?

A: Picky Bars, Oatmeal, and Granola, of course! Ha!

Obviously I do believe in our products and use them almost exclusively for morning and mid-day/mid-exercise snacks.

Our oatmeal and granola are a great balanced fuel breakfast, which I like to enjoy either with some nut butter or yogurt. The bars digest and fuel well in and around exercise. Outside of that, it's real food - eggs, potatoes, rice, whole grain bread, fish, some chicken and red meat and plenty of fruit and veggies.

Jesse Thomas Flat Bruce with his Picky Bar fuel


Q: How strict would you say you are when it comes down to a week or 2 before a big race? “I won’t even look at a french fry!” to … “A little ice cream never hurt anyone…”

A: Much more on the "A little ice cream never hurt anyone" side.

I don't believe in demonizing any particular food or food group. I think that creates messed up incentives and priorities in your mind and body. It’s such a simple rule "all things in moderation", but it's a surprisingly hard thing for a lot of people to do with food.

I think natural human tendency, particularly for aspirational or high level athletes, is that it's easier to just completely cut something out and call it "bad" than let yourself have some of it from time to time. But I've found that type of mentality isn't sustainable long term, and because of that, ultimately isn't as successful.

Q: How critical is it to practice your nutrition for race day?

A: SUUUPER CRITICAL. Everyone is different. I have lots of friends who eat like I do, but I have lots of friends who fuel differently, for an example maybe more liquid based, etc.

Everyone has a different tolerance in their stomach for general digestion, certain "irritants" like gluten, soy, and dairy, or just taste and texture preferences that make it easier or harder to fuel in exercise. As they say, it's the fourth discipline in triathlon. And whoever says that is right.

Q: Any tips for athletes trying to dial in their nutrition?

A: Aim for a consistent, sustainable, B+ diet based around balanced eating and real food.

Like I said, it's easy for people to get excited about the latest fad diet or nutrition trend, but research shows that most of those may give you a perceived gain for a few weeks, but usually lead to long term losses and steps backward.

Balance and consistent, sustainable health for the long term is what will give you the best return on investment!

Check out Picky Bars and their sweet Picky Club deals.

Picky Bar Club


Also, get more tips & advice from Jesse and his badass wife, Lauren Fleshman on their podcast Work, Play, Love

Got a question? Submit it here and you could be featured on an episode!
Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman's Work, Play, Love podcast Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas rocking I Love Carbs shirts
Joe Gambles professional triathlete & coach

Joe Gambles, pro triathlete & coach

Q: What’s your motivation in choosing to eat vegan?

A: As a lifelong vegetarian, animal rights have always been important to me but recently I decided to take it a step further and cut dairy and eggs from my diet. In addition to feeling much better physically, I am happier psychologically knowing that my plant-based diet does no harm to living creatures.

Although being a vegetarian is preferable to being a carnivore, the production of eggs and dairy products still involves exploitation of animals and cruel practices such as removing calves from their mothers, keeping cows in a permanent state of pregnancy, cramped, restrictive and unnatural conditions for hens, etc. Knowing also that the world is in crisis regarding carbon emissions, loss of productive land, and water shortages, a reduction in the world’s meat and dairy consumption would alleviate these shortages significantly.

 Joe Gambles in the kitchen prepping a plant-based meal


Q: As a professional athlete with a tremendous training load, what foods do you rely on to keep you fueled properly?

A: The most challenging issue has been replacing the calories that dairy provided for me in the past. Dairy products are high in calories, which are not necessarily good, but with the amount of training I do on a daily basis I had to find suitable replacements that would provide the essential energy that I need to maintain my regimen.

In the morning I am pretty hungry but I need to make sure to eat something that is easy to digest since I still have the bulk of the day’s training ahead. Generally I have coconut yogurt with vegan granola and fruit or toast with peanut butter, banana and cinnamon.

I try and keep lunch quick and easy but I do need a lot of calories at this time of the day.  I might make a quinoa bowl with leftover veggies, garbanzo beans and avocado. Most days I finish training by 4pm and definitely need to refuel, so I usually have a recovery drink and a late afternoon snack like a hummus wrap with homemade veggie burgers and veggies.

 Joe Gambles cooking in his vegan kitchen


Q: What protein sources do you choose to help with muscle strength & recovery

A: Generally, I have a plant based protein shake after my hardest workout and have a high protein snack after less strenuous sessions.

 Joe Gambles pro athlete on a training run. Photo @bedstrawstudio

Photo @bedstrawstudio


Q: Can you share a few tips you have for an athlete looking to transition into a plant-based diet?

A: My advice would be to pick 1 or two days a week to be vegan and plan to eat really well over that day, paying close attention to meeting all your dietary needs as an athlete. As you notice yourself feeling better, and as your vegan repertoire improves, then add more days per week.

Check out Joe’s food diary on transitioning to a plant-based diet.


Q: What’s a favorite vegan dish in your household?

A: My favorite meal is my wife’s Vegan Chili over pasta or brown rice. She has been working on perfecting the taste for this chili for 20 years.


  • Fresh chili peppers (jalapeno, habanero, any kind if you want extra spice)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • chili powder, salt, pepper, sugar to taste
  • 48 oz crushed/chopped tomato
  • 30 oz black beans
  • 30 oz kidney beans
  • 30 oz pinto beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Brown rice or shell pasta
  • Cilantro and fresh jalapeno


Chop fresh chilis with or without seeds depending on your heat tolerance (cut chilis CAREFULLY, wash your hands, knife and cutting board after handling fresh chilis). Saute chilis in olive oil with chopped garlic. STIR constantly until peppers are soft and be sure not to brown the garlic.

Then TAKE the majority of the chilis out. You may have made that too spicy and it's best to add it back in bit by bit.

Add chopped onions and cook until translucent. Add chopped red and green peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes on MEDIUM heat. Add tomato paste and stir for one minute, then add about 1 tbsp of chili powder and stir until combined.

Add chopped or crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and about 1/2 tsp of sugar then let cook on low, covered for 30-60 minutes. You may need to add some water to thin out the consistency.

TASTE the chili occasionally and add more powder, fresh chilis, salt or pepper.

Add half the beans and cook for another 30-60 minutes. Once it tastes done add the rest of the beans and the corn. You can let it sit until you are ready to eat or let it sit overnight for the best taste.

Serve over brown rice or pasta shells with fresh jalapeno and cilantro on top.

Find more recipes and vegan tips on Joe’s Veggie Blog.

Follow Joe @joegambles or