Enhanced training adaptations, rapid recovery and peak performance – as an athlete, you soon notice how the right nutrition makes a difference. But what do professional athletes really eat?
Our first glance behind the scenes takes us into the kitchen of Germany’s para-cyclist, multiple Paralympic champion and Rio 2016 gold medallist in time trial, Michael Teuber: “Especially during recovery phases, or on days when my muscles come under intense strain, I have a real crave for beef – and I listen to what my body is telling me. Without meat, I’m really lacking something! So one of my most successful recipes is a tri-tip cut of American beef with special chimichurri sauce.” First and foremost, beef supplies high-quality protein which is important for building and repairing muscles. Secondly, it is also a good source for the micronutrients iron and zinc, minerals that are essential (amongst others) for a healthy immune system and energy metabolism. The fresh mix of herbs in Michael’s special chimichurri sauce contains loads of other ingredients that are vital to well-balanced sports nutrition.
But it’s not only about the right nutrients – it also has to taste good. “The recipe packs plenty of flavour, something that I find really important”, the pro athlete adds. Michael is famous for his outstanding barbecue skills: “I’ve picked up a few barbecue tricks, but I’ve never really learnt the art of cooking.”
MICHAEL TEUBER’S RECIPE:
Tri-tip of American beef with special chimichurri sauce (serves approx. 4)
The tri-tip joint can be cooked whole or as cubes threaded onto a skewer. I like to buy a big joint, weighing about three pounds, of succulent all-American beef, but home-grown beef is just as good – pasture grazing is essential when it comes to taste, of course. As the joint is pretty big, take it out of the fridge a few hours before cooking so that the middle isn’t too cold, otherwise it won’t turn out so well.
You need the following ingredients for my special chimichurri sauce:
- 50 g flat-leaf parsley
- 75 g coriander leaves
- 25 g mint leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 200 ml olive oil
- 3 shallots, diced
- A little chopped chili
- Freshly ground black pepper
Wash, dry and finely chop the herbs and mix with the remaining ingredients, then leave to infuse for about 20 minutes. That’s all you have to do, luckily – I’m hardly a chef, but even I can manage that!
Now for the barbecue. It’s a good idea to use a steak thermometer, otherwise it’s difficult to judge how well the meat is cooked. You should also have two zones on the barbecue, one with direct and one with indirect heat. I sear the meat on all sides directly over the embers. About 2-3 minutes on each side is about right. Then move the meat to the side to continue cooking with indirect heat. I tend to cook the meat until it’s medium-rare, so I wait about 15 minutes until the core temperature almost reaches 55°C.
Then I remove the meat from the grill and wrap it in foil, turn it over and place it on a wooden board so that the juices disperse. After about five minutes I unwrap the meat and grill it again for about one minute on each side to enhance the smoky flavour. If everything has gone to plan – which it should if you stick to the instructions – the perfectly cooked joint can now be sliced and savoured with the special chimichurri sauce.
You could serve a couple of baked potatoes and some grilled vegetables on the side for a simple, yet really tasty and nutritionally balanced barbecue meal.
© Corinne Mäder Reinhard, Senior EU Sports Nutrition Manager PowerBar. International Olympic Committee post-graduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition