Get your Best Start for the Beti Bike Bash with These Performance Nutrition Tips!
Whether you’re new to racing or you’ve been in the game for 10 years but have never quite felt confident with your nutrition strategy, here are some tips to get you on the right track, from start to finish!
Advice from Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and VIDA MTB Coach Uriell Carlson
1. Eat your last balanced meal 2.5-3 hours before start time. This gives your insulin time to kick into gear and transport the fuel in your food to where it can be used as energy. It also allows time for those other components (protein, fat, fiber) of a balanced meal to digest.
2. As you get closer to the start, simplify your food intake. This is because protein, fat and fiber take a relatively long time to digest (read: they sit in your stomach longer) compared to carbohydrates. Instead, if you’re less than 2 hours from your start and feel like you need to eat something, focus primarily on carbohydrate. You want to get to the start line satiated, not hungry but not full.
2 hours out: complex carbohydrates such as fruit or a PBJ on whole wheat bread are fine
Less than 1 hour to go: simple carbs such as a few bites of a high quality baked good, a carbohydrate based bar with real ingredients or anything that you already know has worked for you in the past are your safest bet
3. While racing: as long as you’ve had a balanced meal 2.5-3 hours before you start and maybe even had a small serving of carbohydrate 1-2 hours out from your start, you should not need to eat if you’re racing for less than 1-1.5 hours.
Incase of an emergency, carry an easily accessible primarily carbohydrate snack with you. Some of my favorites include Skratch Labs fruit drops (unwrap them and leave a few in your jersey pocket), a soft Hawaiian roll with cream cheese + jelly or even just the most delicious looking baked good from the nearest bakery!
4. General Hydration Guidelines can be looked at as a timeline.
In the 2-3hrs before, drink 16-24 ounces of water
Throughout the the 1hr before, sip a total of 7-10 ounces of water
During: aim for 2-3 sips every 15 minutes to ensure your performance is not compromised due to lack of hydration. If it’s hot and you’re going to be sweating a lot, drink electrolytes instead of plain water.
The reason for this is because, when it comes to hydration during exercise, the goal is to replace what you lose in your sweat. This is mostly sodium, some potassium and a few other electrolytes. My go-to is Skratch Labs Hydration Mix because it has real fruit for flavor, it replaces what I lose in my sweat and it gives me a small dose of carbohydrate to hold me over for a quick race.
Now, get out there and fuel your potential!