Etixx nutrition sponsors some of the finest pro teams in the sporting world - not least Etixx - Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team, home to Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin, amongst others. These are athletes that dedicate every day of the year to becoming the best sportspeople possible. The winter is no time to slack off! Whether it’s rest days, nutrition, trainings days… everything is meticulously planned.
Nutritional tips to help you
Here, (Etixx’s in-house nutritionist) gives his tips for how you can get through the off season like a pro cyclist.
Maintaining mileage, keeping fit and avoiding seasonal illness are all potential minefields when it comes to winter riding. The good news is that some nutritional planning and preparation can help you stay healthy, get the most out of your training and be in great shape come summer.
Trying to chew through a frozen-solid sports bar during a long ride can often seem more effort than it’s worth, leaving energy depleted and training quality compromised. Cold weather can also reduce appetite and thirst, meaning you might not be fuelling or hydrating adequately enough to support your training, which can compromise your immunity to those pesky winter colds & flu.
Keep on top of your in-ride nutrition by frequently grazing on freeze-proof, high energy snacks like nuts, flapjacks, an Etixx Energy Bar or try mixing up a carbohydrate/ electrolyte drink like the Etixx Isotonic Powder or Energy Load with hot water before you head out, wrapping your bottle in a sock or insulating sleeve to keep the heat in. A hot sports drink in cold weather prevents you getting brain freeze with every sip and will encourage you to drink more, keeping you fuelled and hydrated at the same time.
Ensuring you eat a meal containing sufficient protein and carbohydrate after a long ride will help you to refuel and recover- but don’t forget about fats! Including 2-3 portions a day of essential fats such as those found in avocado, nuts and oily fish can help reduce inflammation and aid recovery and will also provide a source of fuel for long, steady rides.
If you are really serious about your upcoming spring and summer riding then now is also the time to start your loading regime with Beta-alanine (Beta-alanine loading is proven to combat some of the fatigue inducing effect of Lactate). Fortunately Etixx has slow release version that diminishes that annoying side effect of pins and needles that most products cause. This is a true performance product with solid evidence of its effectiveness - Etixx Beta-alanine slow release + zinc.
Early morning turbo or roller sessions can be your only option during really bad patches of weather. Get the biggest physiological benefit from easier or technique-focused rides by avoiding carbohydrates before you train. This trains the body to tap into fat stores for fuel, meaning you save muscle glycogen for more intense bursts of activity and helping you to stay trim during the winter months.
To make those early morning rides tolerable, eat some protein (e.g. eggs) to stave off hunger and protect muscle mass and use caffeine to make sure you’re awake and ready to go - try Etixx Energy Release.
As well as upping your consumption of healthy fats, eating oily fish such as tinned sardines can increase your winter levels of Vitamin D- an immune boosting vitamin your body synthesises during summer sun exposure. Other minerals which are important to boost energy and immunity include B vitamins, Magnesium and Vitamin C. Eating a varied diet full of fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains will help keep these micronutrients in balance.
Sleep also plays a big role in recovery and health. A pre-bed snack like fruit + Greek yogurt or a warm drink (try a chocolate recovery powder mixed with hot milk/water) can top up energy levels on tough training days and improve sleep quality. Using a magnesium soak or supplement before bed like Etixx Magnesium Absorption Plus can also help to reduce symptoms of twitchy or achy legs after long, tough rides, enhancing sleep quality and keeping you well rested throughout the winter months.
Author bio: Glen Kearney
Glenn Kearney is one of a number of experts working with Etixx nutrition to ensure that their products reflect the most current research available and the needs of athletes. In his role as an elite sports nutritionist, Glenn has managed the nutrition of a number of high profile teams and individuals across a variety of sports. The Lawn Tennis Association, British Athletics at London 2012 Games, New Zealand All Blacks and the New Zealand Olympic Track Cycling team have been among those lucky enough to have worked with him.