My Fuelling Strategy
Morning! Last week was crazy – I shot a video here in Devon with ŠKODA before heading straight to the airport for a couple of days shooting mountain bike gear with Fox in Catalonia. Forty-eight hours later I went direct from the trails to the airport for a plane to London to co-present the Zwift Kiss Crit finals LIVE ON AIR.
Yesterday, a long, delayed journey brought me back to Devon once more and I now feel like a bit of a wreck, if I’m honest. Still, there’s work to be done so work I shall do.
The non-stop nature of my job and the race training I somehow (usually) manage to fit in around it mean that food is really important to me both on and off the bike. It’s crucial that I eat regularly to keep my energy levels up and like many athletes I get really hungry and live in fear of being without food. For that reason, I always (and I mean always) have a stash of Tribe bars with me for those moments when I need something to tide me over or when I need a little boost. It’s pretty awesome having a nutrition sponsor!
The bars are made of nothing but natural ingredients, which is important if you eat snacks regularly, for whilst there’s nothing wrong with the odd piece of chocolate cake, it’s definitely best as an occasional treat. You’ll find them in my backpack, handbag, glove compartment, bedside table and suitcase; pretty much everywhere, because it’s reassuring to have products to hand that will me good rather than just fill a gap.
Of course I don’ just snack on Tribe whilst travelling. Here’s how I fuel myself for training and racing using 100% natural products.
Fuelling with Tribe
Without a proper fuelling strategy you risk poor performance. Too much fat or fibre can also be detrimental. With a broad range of products in the Tribe line up – Trail Mix, Protein Bars, Flapjacks, Energy bars (and the all new Hydration Mix) there’s plenty of scope for customizing your nutrition and getting it spot on. I enjoy mixing things up and my favourites change all the time.
Our fuelling needs change depending on the length and intensity of our workouts. I don’t eat for training rides that are under an hour long and would only eat for a ride of 90 minutes if it were very intense. Longer rides, however, would see me start eating around an hour in.
Carbohydrates are most beneficial as these are what your body burns to provide energy and after a certain point, your stores of Carbohydrate (glycogen) will run out. If we don’t eat enough carbs, the body turns to protein as a source and this is a fairly inefficient way to fuel yourself as it takes longer to process as energy.
The general rule of thumb is to take on one gram of carbohydrate per kilo of bodyweight each hour, so as a 56kg rider I’d be looking to consume in the region of 56 grams of carbohydrate. To do this, I eat a Blaze Trails bar, which has around 25 grams of carbohydrates and a banana (25-30grams of carbs) or simply another Blaze Trails bar as sometimes a banana just isn’t convenient (on long rides they get mushy and take up too much room in my jersey pocket).
My favourite Blaze Trails Sour Cherry & Buckwheat bar is made of fruit, nuts, seeds, buckwheat, almond oil and sour cherries and delivers 25 grams of carbs. It’s boosted by the cherries’ anti-inflammatory properties, contains no refined sugars and is easy to eat and digest on the go.
The optimum time to fuel up before racing (and training for that matter) is around three hours before departure and I like to eat a decent meal of carbs, fats and protein to make sure I don’t get hungry during my ride. I always make sure it’s nothing to heavy or hard to digest.
If I’m racing I like to eat a Tribe Infinity Peanut Butter and Banana grain-free flapjack in the hour before we start as the slow release carbohydrates keep me going and stop my stomach from rumbling. Like many cyclists, little and often works best for me.
Like with training, my race fuelling strategy depends on the event. During last year’s three day mountain bike stage race I was eating really frequently and the race food we were provided with was not good at all – think cookies, cookies, more cookies and Gatorade. My body absolutely hated me – not only did I have a sore stomach and get grumpy, I also came home with my back covered in spots (sorry, gross I know). Next time I’ll take as much of my own food and see if I can persuade them to take some of it to checkpoints for me.
As I race a lot of criterium (which are usually less than an hour) I often won’t consume any solids, preferring to use a gel if I need one. Longer road and mountain bike races are fuelled by a combination of gels and Blaze Trails bars. If only Tribe made gels, I bet they’d be amazing. Something to think about guys?
The stresses training place on your muscles cause muscle protein to break down (even if you’re eating carbs) and that’s why it’s really important to get plenty of this macronutrient. The amino acids in protein help rebuild your muscles and help your recover faster.
Though recently, there’s been some talk of pro-cyclists using some protein whilst training on the bike, it’s generally consider best to consume protein after cycling as an aid to recovery. Whilst I don’t use protein myself whilst actively training, sometimes I get a head start on recovery by eating a Tribe 10 protein bar during the last bit of my ride. Or I’ll wait till I’m home and eat one with a glass of soya milk.
My favourite Tribe 10 bar (Bogoya Banana at the moment!) has 10 grams of protein from three different seeds (sunflower, chia and pumpkin) and rice protein and also contains carbohydrates to replenish depleted glycogen.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Even slight dehydration has a bad effect on performance so I make sure to drink plenty whilst training and racing. Like with food, what I take depends on the situation but a new favourite is Tribe’s incredible Hydrate electrolyte drinks.
These super sachets are absolutely amazing – I’m so happy to finally have a natural hydration drink to use. A blend of fruit, botanicals and natural electrolytes (the minerals that we lose through sweat) this product is a game changer:
- It’s made of real fruit
- It uses potassium from coconuts & sodium and chloride from sea salt
- It includes ashwagandha, which improves stamina & stabilises blood sugar.
If you’d like to try Tribe’s products, use my code to get yourself and entire box delivered to your home for just £1. Enter JULIETELLIOTT at the checkout. Enjoy!