The optimal nutrition for your PowerBarTour
To allow maximal physical and mental performance, the right sports nutrition strategy is an important factor in exploiting your full individual performance potential. Here at PowerBar we’re giving away tips on how you can prepare optimally.
A GENERAL APPLICABLE NUTRITION GUIDELINE:
- No experiments with nutrition on stage days. Every cyclist is an individual! Assess and try out what, and in which amounts you tolerate best during intense training sessions! This way you’ll get a feel for WHAT and WHEN you should eat and drink and in WHICH quantities before and during race conditions. With this method you can avoid nasty surprises, or very unpleasant symptoms as a result of low blood sugar levels. High exercise intensities or nervousness can reduce the tolerance for certain foods, and this should therefore absolutely be taken into account.
- Generally try to avoid difficult to digest foods. Eating too fatty, spicy or fibre-rich foods, such as fresh wholemeal bread, esp. in the hours leading up to a ride, can lead to discomfort and gastro-intestinal problems and/or abdominal pain during the race.
- 3-4 hours before the start an easily digested, carbohydrate-rich meal helps to fill the body’s own energy stores (glycogen stores). Highly recommended are, for example, easy to digest breakfast cereals, such as Corn flakes with sliced banana and milk (as long as milk / dairy products are tolerated well!), pasta with low-fat sauce (e.g. lean Bolognese or Tomato sauce with a little Parmesan cheese), rice with steamed carrots and some chicken, white bread rolls with e.g. honey, jam, or low-fat cold meats. Drink sufficient with the meal!
1-BEFORE THE RIDE
In the last hour leading up to a ride have a carbohydrate-rich snack and fluid for the optimal preparation.
Rice cakes with honey, white raisin bread / buns or sports bars, such as e.g. PowerBar® ENERGIZE bars, are ideal choices in combination with sufficient fluid. For those with a very sensitive or nervous stomach, the liquid delivery of carbohydrates (sports drinks or gels dissolved in water) can be recommended, as these are generally well tolerated.
2-DURING THE RIDE
During the ride make sure to regularly eat and drink so that the regular intake of fluids and carbohydrates is sufficient.
The actual fluid requirement during a stage depends on several different factors, such as e.g. climatic conditions, individual sweat rate and level of exercise intensity. Those who haven’t tried and tested an individual fluid strategy can use the ‘rule of 15’ as a backup: 150ml of fluid every 15 minutes. Specifically made isotonic carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks (e.g. PowerBar® ISOACTIVE Isotonic Sports Drink) contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance and enhance the absorption of water during prolonged endurance exercise. PowerBar® ENERGIZE bars or POWERGEL®s can additionally be used as an ideal and quickly available source of carbohydrates during exercise.
During competition the optimal amount of carbohydrates to consume depends especially on the duration and intensity of exercise, and must be tailored individually to fit with the tolerance of the athlete. Therefore: “train” and practice your carbohydrate intake strategy during training, and never try out new things during a race! The current scientific recommendations for the optimal amount of carbohydrate intake during a race can be found in the diagram below:
3-AFTER THE RIDE
Besides sleep, targeted nutrition measures play a deciding factor and influence effective and quick recovery: immediately after a stage it’s important to consume carbohydrates to replenish emptied glycogen stores (energy stores in the liver and muscles). In addition, the body requires protein for muscle repair processes, as well as fluids and electrolytes (esp. sodium) for an efficient rebalance and compensation of the fluid deficit in the body. Here PowerBar® RECOVERY Regeneration Drink, PowerBar® PROTEIN PLUS 30% bars with a drink, a soft pretzel with a big carton of a fruity drinking yoghurt or a low-fat sandwich with a drink can be recommended.
We wish you lots of fun and success during your PowerBarTour!
© Corinne Mäder Reinhard, Senior EU Sports Nutrition Manager PowerBar. International Olympic Committee post-graduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition