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Nutrition Plan for Sportspeople

I am sure you’ll be interested in the ’backstage secrets’ of the Exemplary Countrywide Bike Ride, so here is the nutrition plan!   The Exemplary Countrywide Bike Ride (ECBR) is an ultra-distance sports achievement which requires a properly timed and designed nutrition plan. Below, you can see all the necessary information summed up; I’m sure you’ll find it interesting and useful!   One of the most important factors in ultra-distance sports is proper nutrition which requires a properly timed and designed nutrition plan. Below, I have summed up all the necessary information and I think you’ll find it interesting and...

No matter what kind of exercise you take, this is the single most important factor!!! While exercising, your body temperature increases and in order to maintain the optimum body temperature your body will get rid of the excess heat by sweating.   In 1 hour of training your body will produce 1 litre of sweat on average. WARNING!!! If your water level decreases, the amount of blood in your body also decreases. Your body temperature will rise and your heart rate will go up. In such cases you must drink water immediately!!! If you don’t, your body will become dehydrated, your physical performance will drop sharply, you’ll...

For longer training sessions, the consumption of sports drinks is recommended. They contain 60-80g of sugar on average: this is water and carbohydrates in one, so it helps to replenish your fluid levels and glycogen stores! Of course you don’t need to buy the expensive ones, because you can make them yourself: 80g sugar + 1L water + 1g salt + 0.1L fruit juice for flavour. It’s that simple! :-) The important thing is that you should DRINK A LOT OF WATER, and some sports drinks sometimes too!

Almost all kinds of nutrients consist of a mixture of the following 3 components: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. 1g of carbohydrates can produce 4 kcal of energy, 1g of proteins can produce 4 kcal of energy, 1g of fats can produce 9 kcal of energy.

The GI is an indicator of how much time it takes for the different types of nutrients to be absorbed. The higher the GI, the faster the absorption, and the increase in blood sugar level. The lower the GI, the more you’ll feel full or sated, and the lower your blood sugar level. You should have foods with different GIs at different stages of your training: - 1 hour before training: low GI (<40); - During training: medium (40-60) and high (60-100) GI; - After training: medium and high GI foods.

Carbohydrates are stored by the body in the form of glycogen, ~400g in your muscles and ~100g in your liver.  If you do the quick math, 500g X 4kcal = 2000kcal. The carbohydrates stored by your body provide you roughly 2000kcal of energy. The more carbohydrates stored by your body, the better you can maintain your tempo and delay reaching your exercise fatigue level. While training you should replenish those continuously deflating glycogen stores! You need those carbs absorbed in your blood as fast as possible so that they can reach the muscles quickly! You need to replenish your glycogen stores after exercising, too:...

For a nice, even performance, you should never wait until you reach your exercise fatigue level! It takes at least 30 minutes for the food to be converted into energy and reach the muscles so, You need to take 50g of carbohydrates/hour. I recommend: Peanuts, raisins, glucose/dextrose tablets, bread and honey, chocolate. You should eat small portions at regular intervals. Do not wait for fatigue or starvation!

Proteins constitute the tissues of your muscles and various organs, ie, they’re the building blocks of the body and not primarily a source of energy. HOWEVER, the body may use proteins as fuel when it runs out of carbohydrates, ie, when the glycogen stores are emptied. The longer and more intense your training is, the higher the chance of protein being used for fuel in your body. THIS IS WHY IT IS SO VERY IMPORTANT to replenish carbohydrates during long-distance and endurance type training and sports activities.   There is an optimal level of protein intake: ~ 1.5g / each kg of your body weight. Exceeding this limit...

Proteins consist of 20 different kinds of amino acids, 8 of which the body cannot produce on its own. These are called complete proteins and you need to have them via your food intake. There are such complete proteins in dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and soybeans. After long and endurance type training, it is essential for the recovery of muscle tissue to have quality proteins! Just like carbs replenishment, constant amino replenishment is highly important. You should have proteins 5-6 times a day, ie, every time you have food containing carbohydrates. Whey or milk plasma is the most efficient way of protein replenishment.

BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) consist of 3 primary amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.  They are particularly useful for the prevention of the breaking down of muscle tissue! If you exercise regularly, it is essential to replenish BCAAs.

Glutamine is also an essential part of an athlete’s diet.  It is a secondary amino acid, playing an important role in the prevention of the breaking down of muscle tissue, aiding muscle growth and boosting the immune system.

Fats are stored to a minor extent in the muscle tissue (300g) and to a major extent around the internal organs and under the skin. There are saturated fats, which are solid and increase your blood cholesterol. There are also non-saturated fats, liquid and beneficial to the body. Roughly 15-30% of your total food intake should come from fats, so it is best to pick non-saturated fats as a source of fat intake: vegetable oils, olive oil, various seeds, sardines, canned tuna in oil etc.   Fats are made up of fatty acids. Your body cannot produce essential fatty acids, so you need to include them in your diet. There are...

Creatine is an organic substance composed of 3 kinds of amino acids. It is stored in the muscles as creatine-phosphate. It plays an important role during high intensity training as it boosts energy levels and delays fatigue.

The harder and longer you train, the more vitamins and minerals your system will need. Vitamin B – essential for perfect metabolism Vitamin C – protects against viruses Vitamin E – powerful antioxidant Calcium – required for building bones and muscles Iron – necessary for haemoglobin production, improves the oxygen transport capacity of the blood beta-Carotene – boosts regeneration

Hard training increases the amount of free radicals in your body. The optimal level, however, needs to be maintained, so you need antioxidants to neutralise the excess amount of free radicals. The most common antioxidants are: vitamins C and E, beta-Carotene, flavonoids, Selenium, Manganese. Copper, Zinc. You should have 5 servings of fresh fruit a day, seeds, walnut, peanuts and a teaspoon of olive oil!

These are the fundamentals that you need to apply in order to be able to support and supply your body with the adequate quantity and quality of nutrients. And now I’ll discuss how I applied this knowledge in practice during the 2500kms and 21 days of my Exemplary Countrywide Bike Ride!

The ECBR did as a matter of fact heavily tax my body so I had to take the following supplements in addition to my standard food intake.   Vitamin complex: 2 x 1 tablet, morning and evening Vitamin C: 2 x 500mg, morning and evening Mineral complex: 2 x 1 tablet, morning and evening Glucosamine joint cartilage supplement: 2 x 1 tablet, morning and evening Whey protein: 90g/day, divided into 6 portions Creatine-monohydrate: 3g/day BCAA-amino acids: 4g/day Glutamine: 9g/day

Calorie demand depends on age and gender. The minimum requirement for women is 1500-1600 kcal/day, for men: 1800-1900 kcal/day. This amount of energy is required for basic life functions like breathing, digestion and blood circulation.   Athletes use 3500-4000 kcal/day on average.   Daily basic metabolic needs calculation (kcal/day)   Age (years)              Men                                   Women 10-17 17.5 x body weight + 651 12.2 x body weight + 746 18-29 15.3 x body...

During the ECBR my carrying capacity is rather limited as I ride from town to town, carrying my luggage with me all the time.   Of course, I’d love to take a trailer with a fridge and a cooker but, unfortunately, this is not an option! :-) Also, my diet has to consist of easily accessible and available foods.    OK, so now I’m gonna share with you a sample diet. It contains some guiding principles so, for example, if you go on a day-long ride or hike, they are just as applicable and it will all be fine.

Breakfast, 08:00 yoghurt + bread & sour cream + cheese + eggs   Elevenses, 10:00 yoghurt + bread + sour cream + sausage + garlic   Lunch, 12:00 canned beans + bread + canned sardines + soy chunks   Snack, 14:00 bread and honey + ham + cheese   Supper, 16:00 bread and sour cream + ham + liver paté + olives   Dinner, 18:00 canned beans + sausages + bread and jam   Finally, here are the snacks I usually have on the road. You should never reach a point of starvation or exhaustion so you should replenish your carbohydrate stores continuously!!!   Snacks, every 20-30...

I hope you found this little compendium (aka the nutrition plan of the ECBR) interesting and useful. Though this sports achievement is based on my 2 decades of sports experience, I wouldn’t have been able to do it or even a smaller-scale achievement without the thorough planning of my nutrition.   Serve your body with the right nutrients and you’ll be able to master it like a well-kept horse – and it will surely help you on your way! GO FOR IT! :-D   This has been a summary of sports nutrition. If you want to know more about healthy living, check out the unique and extremely simple health theory of FitFive.