Food for Champions
With the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour just around the corner on 10th of March 2013 we take a look at the preparation that goes into being ready to cross the finish line. When we think of preparing for a cycling event of this magnitude, we conjure images of furious peddling with hours on the road and rippling muscles. However there is more to it than just clocking up kilometers. Training for an endurance event like the Argus requires a holistic approach with correct nutrition being an important factor.
Lets face it if there is no fuel in your body, or if the fuel is of inferior quality, you are not likely to get very far without experiencing fatigue or loss of stamina. It is important to use the same energy meals on your training rides that you will use on race day to prevent any nasty digestion surprises. Some suggestions are: sports bars or gels, jelly babies, dried fruit, boiled baby potatoes, nougat, dates, banana bread, bananas or sandwiches.
In a Q&A with Kevin Garwood*, he provides some helpful tips on what it takes to optimize your bodys ability to perform in preparation for the big day.
Q: Are your eating habits generally healthy or do you adopt a specific eating plan leading up to an event such as the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour?
A: I generally have healthy eating habits. Since I am training for other events as well as the Argus, I have a periodization plan for the year. Part of the plan is a nutritional plan that continues throughout the year, even during my transition between seasons. Generally the plan would include protein from meats, vegetables and fruit would supply carbs.
Q: Do you use any additional nutritional supplements, such as protein shakes, to support your meal plan?
A: I do add some nutritional supplements in my diet, like calcium, magnesium, Salmon oil for EPA. I use PeptoPro, which is a protein powder and PeptoSport which is a sports drink with protein while I ride. The PeptoPro I add to my sports drink for additional protein, this I use for recovery after the event or training. It is important to have this 15 to 30 minutes after exercise for the recovery process.
Q: Is it important to carbo-load before an event? If so, how long before the event do you start and what types of carbohydrates do you fuel up on?
A: I do not specifically carbo-load before an event. I generally eat according to my training load, however, I do not cut back in my taper period and with that I would effectively be carbo-loading. The length of the taper depends on the event, how I rate the race according to my training program.
Q: There are so many products on the shelves to provide energy during a race and it is often daunting trying to choose which to use. Which do you find most effective energy drinks; gels; bars; gums – or do you use a combination?
A: There are many products out there. First there is your sports drink, I use PeptoSport. I have found this an extremely good drink for me. It includes protein peptides which are easily absorbed by the body, which are required for you muscle function. I also use Powerbar bars for carbs on the ride as well as the Powerbar Ride shot. I have recently also used the GU Chomps. The Ride Shots and Chomps are like jelly gums which provide carbs during the ride. It is important to have water when having these. I use the gums because they are quick and easy to eat, but the bars are still important for carbs during the ride. It is important to use the products that you are going to use during the race on your training rides. There is always the possibility that your digestion does not agree with a product and if you have not used it before, could give you serious problems during the race.
Q: Do you have any post-race nutritional tips to aid recovery?
A: I use the PeptoSport with additional PeptoPro protein which I have immediately after the event. Chocolate milk is also good to have in the 30 minute period for recovery. It is good to then look at eating a meal including protein as soon as possible after that. It would be important to also look at drinking water in small amounts to help rehydrate after the event. One needs to be careful of not drinking too much water as well.
*Kevin and his son, Nikki, who is disabled, are an inspirational triathlete team competing in many events together such as IronMan. They will be cycling the Argus Cycle Tour in support of the Chaeli Campaign raising funds and changing peoples perceptions about disability.
For more information on the Chaeli Campaign please go to www.chaelicampaign.co.za