Eating to Win: What We Can Learn From Pro Cyclists

Variety Counts

To keep eating and drinking hour after hour, racers have a lot of choices so that they can find something palatable.

Food Safety

Racers' food is kept cold in the team car. Any perishable protein food (sandwiches, rice cakes with eggs, etc.) should be unrefrigerated no more than one hour if hot (90° F / 32° C) or two hours at room temperature.

More: 12 Training Tips for an Ultra-Distance Ride

Recovery Begins Immediately

Riders start drinking and eating as soon as they get in the team bus; they don't wait until they are back at the hotel. Radioshack riders start with 1.5 L (48 fl. oz. or 3 pints) of a diluted proprietary hydration drink. Pedialyte is the most equivalent commercial drink. They follow this with 1.5 L of a simple sugar drink with 360 calories plus vitamin C. Riders are required to drink at least 1.5 L regardless of weight loss. Most guys consume both drinks, totaling 3 L (3 quarts) weighing 3 kg (6 lbs) of fluid within the first hour. For food, the team provides fresh steamed rice plus some protein, for example, chicken stir-fry or scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit, especially watermelon. Some riders drink a protein drink with 30 grams of protein/ L.

Dinner

In addition to carbohydrates, Grealish prepares large quantities of meat (beef, chicken and fish). She also serves beets, kale and spinach. Some think that the nitrates in these vegetables enhance endurance.

More: Can Beet Juice Instantly Improve Endurance?

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