When preparing for an event it is important that you plan your nutritional strategies in as much depth as you plan your training. It is your day-to-day nutrition that supports your training and will ultimately improve your performance on race day.
When it comes to training for an event, preparation is key. It is important to look at what factors may affect your race-day nutritional strategy:
• How many feed stations are there?
• How much will you take on the bike?
• What brands of drinks, gels and energy bars are available?
• What will the range of temperatures be?
Preparation can have a big impact on your performance. Simply put: the better you prepare, the better chance you are giving yourself to perform.
Your nutritional strategies before exercise should focus on ensuring you have enough fuel to support your session and to ensure you start exercise hydrated.
The energy required to fuel your ride comes from the carbohydrate that you store and the additional carbohydrate that you take on board during exercise; therefore carbohydrate must be the focus of your pre-training meal.
Gatorade 01 Prime provides a convenient and functional blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes and B vitamins that can be used to supplement your pre-exercise carbohydrate intake.
It is also important to pay attention to your fluid intake before exercise. Starting exercise dehydration can negatively impact your performance.
Monitoring your urine colour and volume is a simple indicator of hydration status – if your urine is dark in colour and low in volume you need to drink more. Light in colour and plentiful is the aim.
When we exercise, heat is produced and the body loses this heat by sweating. If we do not replace the fluid that is lost as a consequence of sweating the body will become dehydrated.
It is also important to note that we do not just lose water in sweat. Sweat also contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium.
Therefore, the goal of drinking during exercise is to limit the degree of dehydration by the provision of fluid and electrolytes.
The amount and rate of fluid to drink depends upon your individual sweat rate. Fluid requirements can be monitored by routine measurements of body weight before and after training. This will also ensure you do not over-drink as this may put you at risk of a rare but very serious condition called hyponatremia (low blood sodium concentration).
Sweat loss = Pre-exercise weight – post exercise weight + fluid intake (ml)
1kg lost = 1L fluid
Riders at risk of losing a significant amount of sodium, through high sweat rates or being a ‘salty sweaters’, may benefit from consuming additional electrolytes during training.
TIPS TO IDENTIFY ‘SALTY’ SWEATER
• Eye irritation when salt gets in their eyes.
• Salt stains may be visible on clothing worn during training or matches.
During prolonged exercise (>2 h), ingesting carbohydrate becomes essential as the body stores relatively small amounts and carbohydrate depletion is often associated with fatigue. Carbohydrate intake depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise bout, but recommended intakes can be as high as 60-90g/hr during long hard rides:
Gatorade 02 Perform is formulated for those engaging in significant physical activity because, unlike water, it contains a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes, which stimulate fluid intake, ensure rapid rehydration and provide energy to active muscles.
The nutritional challenge after exercise is to replace lost fluids, replenish carbohydrate stores and repair and rebuild muscle tissue with protein.
Protein serves as both a fuel and a trigger for adaptations after exercise. However, adaptations are dependent on the availability of amino acids. Ingesting 10-20g protein after exercise provides the amino acids needed to start this process.
Many riders finish exercise dehydrated. It is therefore important to replace the fluids and electrolytes that you lost after exercise.
As previously discussed, your body uses carbohydrates for fuel and therefore you should start the process of replenishing your carbohydrate (glycogen) stores as soon as possible after exercise.
Gatorade 03 Recover is a protein, carbohydrate and electrolyte drink that provides hydration and muscle-recovery benefits. 03 Recover has the consistency and great taste you’d expect from Gatorade to help you to prepare for the next challenge.
Now you know the science behind nutrition for cycling why not check out the Gatorade range available now at ProBikeKit.com.
Original article by Gatorade’s Matthew Evans