Todays guest post is by Nanci Katra, a nutritionist and good friend of Fix Physio:
So, you’ve signed yourself up to ride for an amazing cause- but how can you ensure that you perform to the best of your ability and get the most out of your experience? I have some helpful nutrition tips that you can use to prepare yourself for the ride, and to keep you going through the 24 hours:
PRE EVENT NUTRITION
3 days pre
* Low GI carbohydrate dominant meals- brown or basmati rice, quinoa, sweet and regular potato. These carbohydrate sources are slow digesting, and do not spike our blood sugar as faster digesting, more sugary or processed carbohydrates would. We need carbohydrates to store in our muscle and liver (as glycogen), and provide us with fuel and strength as we move. Consuming an adequate amount of carbohydrates within 3 days of the event is very helpful for performance for this reason. Adequate will differ depending on your own individual needs- your activity level, size, gender, hormones etc. As a general rule, 45-55% of your daily intake is advised for generally active people. However, in the case of prepping for an event, this can be increased by about 10%.
* Hydration– Water is essential and arguably the most important factor when it comes to endurance sport. While it does not provide the body with an energetic value, it is responsible for keeping the body at a safe temperature, as well as ensuring cellular integrity and is the carrier of the body’s waste for removal. When exercising for 45 minutes or less, generally, plain water will be enough to keep the body functioning well. Any more than that, and in the case of extreme sweating, electrolytes are necessary to replace important minerals lost through sweat. For an event like the spinathon, a product with glucose in it may serve well, as it is the fastest fuel source and will provide your muscles and liver with the fuel it needs to push on. I recommend NUUN effervescent tabs, or Endura electrolyte and glucose gels.
* Protein- extremely important for endurance. Consuming a source of protein that contains an amino acid (building blocks of protein- each one has a different role and benefit) profile that is suited to your needs is important, as not all sources of protein are created equal. Fish, chicken breast, grass fed beef, and eggs are all great sources with a complete amino acid profile. Staying away from animal products? Hemp is a wonderful and complete protein source, with essential fatty acids as an added bonus. The required protein intake for an average and moderately active person is about 0.8g per body weight kg. For an extremely active person, however, this can be doubled.
* Adequate fat consumption (approx. 30% of total dietary intake). Omega 3 and 6 fats are of highest priority, as not only do they provide a source of fuel to the body and mind, but act as anti inflammatories (very helpful for recovery), and are vital for immune system support. When we are training for a high intensity event, our immune system needs support, as we can easily deplete ourselves. Fatty fish, hemp, walnuts, seed varieties, and oils, like extra virgin olive oil, are all great sources of fat to include whilst prepping for your event.
* Vitamin C. You may immediately associate vitamin C with immune function and support, but you may be surprised to learn that it is one of THE most important nutrients you can give your body in times of stress (mental and physical- it’s the same physiological response!). We store vitamin C in our adrenal glands, which sit right above our kidneys. When we are under any stress, we use vitamin C to make cortisol, the stress hormone. Once we become depleted (which is very easy to do, as it is water soluble, and needs constant topping up) we begin to run on empty, and can then experience enhanced fatigue, compromised immune function, and skin and gut issues, to name a few. Food such as red capsicum, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kiwi fruit and pineapple, are great sources of vitamin C. Using a good quality supplement can be a great option too, but be mindful that taking too much can lead to diarrhoea (not ideal before an event!). Speak to a trusted health professional before using any supplementation, as there is no one size fits all.
* Nitric Oxide. Nitrates are a compound in our bodies that help produce nitric oxide- a molecule in our bodies responsible for chemical signalling. One of it’s main functions relating to athletic performance is that it widens blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and blood to flow to the areas where we most need it when working out- skeletal muscle! Food high in Nitric oxide include beetroot, watermelon, cacao, walnuts, and pomegranate.
During the Event
While you’re spinning, you don’t want to take blood away from your arms and legs and make your body work to digest- but you need to keep fueling yourself. How do you do that? A very simple way to do this is by consuming electrolytes in your water to avoid cramping and delay soreness, as well as maintain hydration (NUUN tabs are my preference), and some fast digesting carbohydrates in the form of glucose (Endura energy gels) to keep feeding your muscles. You can also have some grapes or medjool dates handy to pop in your mouth quickly if you would prefer.
Preparing yourself as best you can nutritionally can make all the difference to your athletic performance and recovery, and make for a much more enjoyable experience all around.
Or Follow Nanci on Instagram as @thenutrizenist