Category Archives: Nutrition

Tour de France Diet

What do riders eat during 21 days on LE TOUR?

When I started to study Sport Nutrition in Barcelona University that was my first motivation…study how these riders eat and drink. Now, I can tell you…

They spend around 7.000 to 8.000 kcal/day and need to recover it daily, and they need high level of energy before, during and after each stage. How to manage that? They eat natural food and energetic bars!!!!

They have breakfast around 3 hours and half before the start. Usually they have oatmeal with quinoa or white rice with quinoa. They also eat lots of white rice and quinoa during lunch and dinner. Why? White rice is 100% natural cereal, a fast source of carbohydrate and there is no gluten in the composition, which makes the organism absorption better. They also have quinoa, a vegetal protein and carbohydrate source that is also easy to digest and is full of vitamins and amino acids.

Two hours before the start of a stage they drink slow-release carbohydrates for energy. They will sip this half-liter concoction on the bus and in the morning’s start town to bring their day’s calorie count to around 1.000 before the gun even goes off. Most riders burn 600 to 900 calories an hour, but their bodies can process only 250 to 300 per hour.

During the stage they eat gels, chews, and energetic bars. Garmin, for example, cooks up batches of rice bars and starts to give riders homemade salty and sweet options. That’s great for them. In this way the riders go up to about 2,500 calories by the end of a stage.

After crossing the finish line, they start to re-hydrate, drink some water with soda and isotonic drink, to keep sugar and mineral salt back to the body.
Once back on the bus, they have their first recovery drink, a sweet and fruity carbohydrate mix, and containers of white rice and egg dishes. They have also an optional second recovery drink that is a chocolate-flavored and protein-packed to aide muscle repair on the drive to the next hotel.

Dinnertime is white rice again! A meal can be a light Thai curry over white rice, for example, as well as some vegetables for their antioxidants.

That final binge of the day adds about 2.500 calories and enables to replenish muscles energy stores, give muscles the necessary protein to rebuild, then start loading up for the next day’s effort.

The riders should eat a rich meal, but also a good test meal! The body and mind of these champions need to be happy to keep riding during the 21 days in maximum effort.

Green juice secrets

Green juices are power packed with nutrition

Green vegetables have the ability to transform sunshine into the food that all creatures consume.

True to their nature, greens produce chlorophyll, which oxygenates the body.

This enables us to release stored toxins in the body.

If you are a sportive person, this is an excellent supplement to your diet.

Taking green juice, your haemoglobin (that has a similar molecular structure as that of your red blood cells) will get elevated, improving the blood circulation as a result and giving your body a boost of energy.

A green juice will cleanse your digestive system, lungs and liver (which will rev up, if sluggish – causing you to retain weight).

However, few know that one must opt for green juices as opposed to just vegetable juice.

So what makes the green juice a better option?

This is because without the fiber, fruit juice is basically sugar, which will add to your weight.

So juice fruits as a treat but try and eat them whole as far as possible.

While the fiber content takes a beating, juices do deliver a powerful array of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are absorbed immediately into the blood stream. However, avoid combining vegetables with fruits, as they require different enzymes for digestion. The only exception is an apple, which has a more neutral effect.

You can see below some recipes.

All green plants have Vitamins A and C, which are important co-factors for calcium absorption.

Chlorophyll foods also act as a form of ‘stored sunshine’, to regulate calcium and Vitamin D deficiency.

So if you get no sunshine, then increase the greens in your diet.

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This quick and easy recipe is made in a blender, giving you the option to strain the juice for a thinner consistency, or no, it’s up to you.

Ingredients:

RECIPE 1

– 1 1/2 cups water
– 2 cups kale
– 2 green apples cored
– 1/2 cup parsley leaves
– 1 medium cucumber
– quartered ?2 celery stalks roughly chopped
– 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger peeled
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice

RECIPE 2

– 1 1/2 cup of water
– 1 cup spinash
– 4 broccoli florets
– 1 medium cucumber
– 1 apple cored
– 1/2 cup parsley leaves
– 1 medium cucumber
– quartered? 2 celery stalks roughly chopped
– 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger peeled
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

OPTION 1

Add all  the ingredients into the blender jug in the order in which they are listed. Blend the ingredients on the highest-level setting, such as “liquefy,” until the juice is well blended.

It will have the consistency of a smoothie.

If you want to enjoy the pulp with your juice, pour the mixture into glasses and serve. If you prefer a thinner consistency, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, and using a spatula, press the pulp into the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the strained juice into glasses and serve.

OPTION 2

You can do the same process with just 1 cup of water and without the lemon juice. You leave this consistency smoothie in ice cubes.

Then, when you want to do the juice, you take one ice cube and make your lemon juice (1 cup of water and 1 lemon), mix all into the blender.

NUTRITION BASICS FOR ENDURANCE ATHLETES

Most endurance athletes train year round, during which their training cycles pass through different phases such as preparation, pre-race, race, and recovery. A nutritional plan for endurance athletes should follow the same pattern or match the goals of their training program. For example, during race phase, the main nutritional goal is to provide the endurance athlete with enough energy to complete not only their daily activities but also their training sessions. At the same time, the nutrition plan must be focused on replacing glycogen stores and repairing lean muscle mass. In addition, emphasis is placed on eating frequently and timing of meals (pre, during and post)

– CARBOHYDRATES
Given that energy requirements for endurance athletes tend to be high, carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel.It is important to consume the proper amount of carbohydrates in order to replenish muscle glycogen used during training. Basic carbohydrate recommendations:
• For moderate duration, low intensity training: carbohydrate consumption should range from 5-7 g/kgof body weight
• For moderate-heavy training: carbohydrate consumption should range from 7-12 g/kgof body weight.

– PROTEINS
While protein provides a small amount of the energy needed for long training sessions, it is essential in supporting muscle development and recovery.Obtaining an adequate amount of protein each day is important, but athletes should not under value the importance of the timing of protein intake throughout the day, especially after exercise.

Basic protein recommendations for endurance athletes : should range from 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight.

– FATS
Fat is an essential part of an endurance athlete’s diet because it is a primary energy source during periods of rest and low-intensity activity. Fat, in conjunction with carbohydrates, are also used as a source of energy during moderate intensity exercise. Fat also plays an important role in proper immune function.

Basic Fat recommendations: 25-30% of daily calories should be consumed from fat. Emphasis should be on choosing sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like vegetable oils, fatty fish and avocados and while minimizing intake of saturated fat sources such as butter and bacon and avoid trans fats.

Additional Nutritional tips for Endurance Athletes:

• CARBLOADING (CL): Carb-loading refers to the consumption of carbohydrates in days leading up to an event or race. Studies indicate carbo-loading helps maintain speed during later stages of a race. Studies also show that exercise performance is enhanced, in both how long and fast one can go.

It is difficult for an endurance athletes to eat all the energy needed during an event, thus carbo-loading helps optimize reserves in order to enhance race day performance.

• SUPPLEMENT PROTEIN: Eating protein during a race helps reduce significantly the onset of post-race soreness. It also helps prevent muscle damage important in multi-stage races. Studies have revealed that consuming BCAA (Branched chain amino acids) provides an added benefit. It has been showed that athletes consuming BCAA can reach higher levels of exertion.

• EAT SOLIDS: A good tip for endurance athletes is to practice consuming solids during an endurance event. Solids are more calorie dense foods thus providing more energy. Eating solids also allows for fluids to be easily processed. However, one must learn how to eat solids during training or an endurance event in order to avoid gastrointestinal problems. Recommendation, eat at moderate levels of intensity and not during high intensity.

• HYDRATION: Water is one of the most important nutrients for endurance athletes. Two-thirds of the human body weight is water. It plays an essential role in every major organ and system, therefore should not be overlooked. The best advice for an endurance athlete is to pay attention to hydration the week leading up to an event.

Tip for determining daily water requirements:
Divide your body weight in pounds (lbs. = kg * 2.2) by half. That is amount of water in ounces you should be consuming daily without exercise. Add another 8 to 16 ounces for every 60 minutes of exercise.

PLEASE, ANTIOXIDANT EVERYDAY!!!

The term antioxidant refers to the “activity” that many vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals have on substances considered harmful, called FREE RADICALS. The free radicals can react chemically with other components of the cells (by oxidizing) altering their stability and functionality.

When we are running, cycling, working or fighting…we are producing oxidation reactions and free radicals to all our body! We are “KILLING” some cells! Therefore, we need to include ANTIOXIDANT in our meals to neutralize the free radicals.

Yes, oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. Consequently, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants end these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.

Then, be careful! Dark and intensely-colored plant foods usually contain MORE chemically active antioxidant pigments than pale ones. Some of the most healthy nutrients in fruits and vegetables are bright red, orange and green.

LET’S TRAIN AND EAT!

Training is positive for the libido!

A good and balanced diet with some exercises help the libido!

When we do sports, it helps our health: reduce the cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, improve blood glucose, help in weight loss, oxygenate the cells, develop muscle strength, control inflammation.

This combination of positive factors help to improve libido too. A woman’s libido increases 20 minutes after vigorous exercises and, for men, testosterone levels related to behavior and sexual interest hormone, also increases rapidly and after intense physical activity.

But be careful… excessive exercises are related to the drop in testosterone, leading to a reduction of libido in men. In women, excessive exercise causes a reduction in estrogen and progesterone hormones, decreasing libido and sexual satisfaction.

The overtraining also increases the level of cortisol hormone in both sexes, causing muscle catabolism (muscle reduction), suppressing the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women.

To counteract the effects of grueling trainings, healthy diet and rest are the key

The diet needs to provide nutrients able to increase the production of sex hormones.

So the intake of good fats like olive oil, avocado, salmon, tuna, sardines and nuts are important.

The consumption of good sources of vitamins and minerals are also necessary

An alternative is the use of Arginine as the amino acid stimulates the production of nitric oxide, leading to vasodilatation and improvement of peripheral circulation. Fish, seafood, sunflower seeds, brown rice, walnuts, hazelnuts are examples of foods with arginine. Arginine can also be supplemented by a doctor or nutritionist.

Dopamine, is also super important in this process

This neurotransmitter increases sexual interest. The main hormone precursors are the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine present mainly in foods of animal origin.

Here you can see some sources of these elements:

B6 Vitamin: wheat germ, oats, whole grains, beans and bananas.
B9 Vitamin: mushrooms (shimeji, shitake), broccoli, tomato and spinach.
C Vitamin: watercress, parsley, kale, tomato, citrus fruits (cherry, pineapple, lemon, orange, strawberry, kiwi).
Copper: beef, apple, lamb, bananas, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, walnuts and cocoa powder.

Have a balanced diet, training (no overtraining) and a good rest and you can have a healthy sex life.

WHAT SHOULD I EAT BEFORE, DURING & AFTER THE EFFORT?

By now, most of us know that nutrition plays a vital part in the training process of an athlete. What and when is eaten before a workout can make a significant difference inperformance and recovery.

Here are some basic peri-workout nutrition guidelines to help you perform and recover faster.

PRE WORKOUT NUTRITION

Basically, what we look for in a pre-workout meal is something that will provide us: sustained energy, adequate hydration, something that will boost performance while preserving muscle mass and also speed recovery. However, food is only useful once it has been digested and absorbed. Therefore, timing is important when considering a pre-workout meal.

– 30 minutes prior to workout:

When we have less than an hour before a workout there is less time for digestion: for example an early morning session. The best recommendation for this type of pre-workout meal is to look for liquid or easily digestible foods.

Some examples:
• Fruit and milk or other low calorie beverage such as unsweetened almond beverage
• Sports drink
• Carbohydrate gel
• A banana

– 1-2 hours before a workout:

Eating a nutritionally balanced meal is the best option for fueling when there is adequate time to digest. Nutritional requirements will vary depending on duration and intensity of training session. Here are come suggestions:

Some examples:
• Liquid meals: example, protein shake
• Smoothies or shakes
• Sports bar
• Cereal with milk
• Fruit

Exercising in a fastened state is generally not recommended. While it is true that a greater proportion of fat stores might be consumed as a source of energy. It is more likely that if you eat a carbohydrate snack or meal prior to a workout, you will be able to exercise harder and for a longer period of time.

DURING WORKOUT NUTRITION

The most factor during a workout is keep your body hydrated. If your workout session is less than an hour, most likely you don’t need to eat. However,
If you are engaging in high intensity vigorous workouts or your workout lasts more than an 60 minutes, the standard recommendation is consume 50-100 calories every half hour in the form of carbohydrates.

– Example of snacks for +60 minute workout:
• Sport gel
• ½ high-carbohydrate, low-protein, low-fat sport/energy bar, such as PowerBar or Clif Bar
• Bite-sized sport/energy bars or gummies
• Medium banana
• Large orange

POST WORKOUT NUTRITION

The primary goal of post work nutrition is “Recovery”. Recovery refers to and includes the following: restoring muscle and liver glycogen stores, consuming adequate protein in order to promote muscle repair, and fluid and electrolyte replacement.

Studies have determined that the body’s cells are most receptive for replenishing nutrients 30 minutes after intense or prolonged training. The goal is to provide carbohydrates into your system within this lapse of time. Taking advantage of this window of opportunity will allow for muscles to be replenished much faster thus preparing them for the next training session.

In some cases, athletes may not feel hungry immediately after an intense exercise session. In this situation, the recommendation is to consume juice that is high in carbohydrates. When appetite is restored, consume a meal that is high in carbohydrates and also includes protein and fat. Post workout recovery meals vary, depending on workout intensity and duration.

General Tips:
• If your workout lasted less than 1 hour, proceed to replenish fluids and eat a normal balanced meal.
• If your workout lasted longer than 60 minutes and or was a high intensity workout:

– Replenish fluids, examples of what you can eat:

  • Protein shake with banana
  • Tuna and whole wheat
  • Yogurt and Fruit, such as berries
  • Turkey and Cheese slices with Apple slices
  • Peanut butter and banana on Whole Wheat Toast

– Examples of post exercise snacks/ meals for prolonged training sessions:

With in first 30 minutes post exercise:

  • Recovery drink: protein based for example chocolate milk or other sports recovery drink
  • 2 sports gels
  • 500 ml fruit juice
  • 2 slices of toast with honey or banana

After an 30-1 hour:

  • Proceed to eat a balanced meal
  • Eggs, toast and fruit
  • Whole wheat tuna o turkey sandwich with fruit (apple)
  • Burrito with beans, brown rice and guacamole

Gluten… An enemy?

Have you tried to eat gluten free food? Maybe it can be good to feel how your body system works without it.

Your body needs carbs, your body does not need gluten

Gluten are the protein fraction of wheat, oats, rye and barley.The gluten are king of “intestinal mucosa aggressor”. The explanation accepted for this effect is that the molecules derived from the digestion of wheat are too large and can cause a flattening permeability.

Also, the gluten  can be responsible for a reduction of the production of digestive enzymes with local effects like a reduction of the nutrients absorption, an increase of the absorption of food allergens, abdominal cramps, gases, bloating, diarrhea alternated with constipation.

Most wheat has absolutely no nutritional value because of the processing factor, wheat is usually fortified because of it’s lack of nutritional value. What I like best about being gluten free is that cutting out gluten has also meant nearly all of the processed food diet has been eliminated (pasta/bread).

Plus, we are also ingesting far less sugar and sodium which has made a great difference in the area of weight and general feeling of health.

The skin gets better, no acne, no gas in the intestine.

Peptides which affect blood circulation as products of the gluten digestion can provoke systemic affects such weight gain, inflammation, headaches, joint and muscle pains, bloating, mood swings, lack of concentration, insulin resistance, increased abdominal fat and food cravings.

Let’s try?

We can try to take out the pasta, bread, rye, oats, biscuits, soy sauce and barley for example…

Then, you can have rice (100% natural cereal), potatoes, corn crackers, sweet potatoes, corn, hominy, rice crackers, quinoa…

I hope you feel “lighter” and eat “cleaner”! 

When should I eat Fibers?

When Should I Eat Fibers

BEFORE AND DURING THE RACE: NO!

High fiber foods like vegetables, grains and fruits are high in fiber. They need to be avoided before and during the race. They can cause gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea, which is not good for running, especially before and during the race. While those foods are good, healthy food choices for runners, they may cause digestive issues  to those who consume them the night before or during the day of the race!

So, please, take care of it! NO vegetables, integral bread, integral biscuits or fruits with high fibers during the dinner or breakfast before your race. It can make all the difference.

In my opinion, the good option can be:

Refined carbs: White rice and plain bagels (ciabatta, pita bread) are good choices. They are easier on your stomach because the whole grain is already broken down. A plain bagel with some peanut butter (and a glass of water) would be a safe choice before a long run race.

Low-Fiber fruits and veggies: If you really want to eat fruits or vegetables before your race: tomatoes, zucchini, olives and grapefruit are all low in fiber.

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DURING YOUR TRAINING DAY: YES!

The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily fiber intake of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, which may come from dietary fibers, both soluble or insoluble, or the addition of “functional fibers” to the diet.Why is fiber good? Because fiber plays an essential role in our heart, skin health, and may improve blood sugar control and weight management. Fiber gets the molecules of the fat inside our organism and helps it to eliminate the fat.Fiber helps lower cholesterol (especially “bad” cholesterol).Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, slows the digestion of fiber-containing foods which increases satiety and releases glucose into the bloodstream more slowly, which prevents spikes in insulin.

During our daily life and training it is not a problem to have fibers, but always respecting the right quantity !

Enjoy your training and race!

IRONMAN nutrition strategy

Physical demand exists and the role of food is vital to achieve this goal

The average total caloric expenditure for an IRONMAN can range from 8,000 to 11,000 calories. Consuming this amount of calories is extremely difficult, but the athlete needs to eat and drink, not to loose too much calories and performance.  Nutrition for an Ironman influences, so you can be first or second, or you can or cannot reach the goal.

Carbohydrate Intake/Hydratation

  • Do not consume too much food as it can cause intestinal distress (diarrhea, abdominal pain).
  • Consume enough carbohydrates to provide additional fuel to the working skeletal muscles.
  • Keep the blood sugar (glucose) to the limit to avoid unnecessary wear during races and maintain certain performance.
  • Avoid weight loss during the trainings. Some of the lost weight is fat and carbohydrates (besides water that is stored, carbohydrate, or glycogen). The loss of more than 2 Kg of weight will definitely affect performance.
  • Optimize hydration including sodium, electrolytes and carbohydrates (sugary drinks).

All carbohydrates are ingested immediately and used by the muscle (oxidized). The carbohydrate source can be glucose, sucrose, maltodextrins or fructose. Consistency of carbohydrates: solid, liquid, gel, etc. 

What is sought is to increase the oxidation of muscle, and to achieve this it is recommended to consume a combination of glucose (or maltodextrin) and fructose (2 parts glucose and 1 fructose) as they are transported in two different ways in the small intestine and will eventually bring more profit.

Also, drinks containing glucose and fructose are better tolerated than solid foods, because they require less digestion. It is very easy to prepare these sports drinks, ingredients are maltodextrin, fructose, salt and water. You should calculate what should be your carbohydrate intake during the race in order to meet their needs and to not be weary. An easy way to calculate is 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of weight. For smaller triathlons, the recommended intake is between 30-60 grams per hour.

Electrolyte requirements

  • The consumption of sodium and other electrolytes is of great importance. Gels are good source of electrolytes because they provide approximately 200 mg per unit, depending on the type and flavor. A cyclist loses about 1 liter of sweat per hour equivalent to 1300 mg of sodium, 230 mg potassium and 12 mg of magnesium. For this reason, in some cases it is helpful to supplement with additional electrolytes (sodium or tablets or capsules of electrolytes).
  • Hyponatremia (drinking too much water) is a problem during an IRONMAN. It is normal to have lost water weight during the competition, but ideally would be minimal and properly hydrated. You can not take large amounts of water as they can cause hyponatremia. You should preferably be hydrated with sports drinks and gels and consume foods that allow you to replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates.

Swim time / Cycle time / Run time

  •  During the swim section try to avoid eat and drink, keep your energy to relax and swim well. If you feel weak, take a gel.
  • Remember that the first feed zone is during the bike section (because of distance, convenience and stability stomach).  It is the best time to eat solid food. The best option of solid food? Need to be a fast carbohydrates (sushi, sweet potato, white soft bread, rice bars…). Aim for 200-600 calories per hour on the bike based on your size, training and racing experience, and tolerance for food intake.
  • Carry most of your calories with you on the bike and get water and sports drink at aid stations.
  •  Rely more on drinks and less on solid food as the race progresses. If you tend to forget to eat and drink during your race, set your watch to beep every 20 minutes.
  •  When you leave the bike and go to the run section…remember that you have a long way to go and need to settle into a smooth cadence, it’s important to drink and eat well. You can take a gel or bar with some liquid calories such as a maltodextrin and an isotonic drink. The electrolytes are also important during the run section.
  •  Eat and drink as much as you feel like it, but try to get more liquid food during the run time. – – Don’t drink water as this may exacerbate hyponatremia.
  • When you finish the race, some electrolytes and amino acids are welcomed for a faster recovery.

Prepare your mind and stomach because IRONMAN is not easy, but if you eat and drink well you can HAVE FUN, for sure!

To be a vegan…

I was thinking about what to tell you, then I’ve found this photo!

(Put the photo here).

A follower of veganism is a vegan. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.  The number of vegan runners is increasingly high.

Looking at this picture we can see that the “piece of meat” has less protein than the “broccoli” piece does. It’s calculated per 100 gr of aliment. When we see it, we can think: “Oh yes, it’s easy to be a vegan or vegetarian runner!” But you don’t see that it can be easy to take 100 gr of meat for example and that it cannot be easy to eat 100 gr of broccoli. The piece of meat has vitamin B12.  The piece of broccoli doesn’t have vitamin B12. Therefore, it’s not as easy to be a vegan runner as it looks like.

The vitamin B12 is a bacterial product needed for maturation of red blood cells, synthesis of DNA, cell division, and normal nerve function. A deficiency can lead to several health problems, including megaloblastic anemia and nerve damage. The consensus among nutritionists is that vegans and even vegetarians should eat foods fortified with B12 or use supplements. The broccoli is a rich source of protein, vitamin A, C, E, K, Calcium, Riboflavin…it’s great, but no B12. I think a runner can be a vegan, but take it easy.

A vegan runner needs the animal sources, animal protein, so he really needs to take “vitamin B12” supplement everyday. The vegan runner also needs to pay attention to calcium. He should take 3 servings per day of high calcium food to have bone health, and also a good metabolism functions like muscle function and vascular contraction. It can be soy milk, tofu, almonds, or hazelnuts, or a calcium supplement, as necessary.

Common vegan dishes include rice, beans, vegetable soup, falafel, hummus, veggie burritos, veggie burgers and pasta. But the bases of vegan dishes are the soy. Soybeans are a complete protein. Plant milk such as soy milk, grain milk (oat, rice) and coconut milk are used instead of cows milk.

The main difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet is that vegans exclude eggs and dairy products. Ethical vegans state that the production of eggs and dairy causes animal suffering and premature death.

The good point is the vegetarian and vegan diets usually contain as much iron as animal-based diets, or more; vegan diets generally contain more iron than vegetarian ones because dairy products contain very little quantity of iron.

If you’d like to be a vegan runner go ahead, this is a nice lifestyle!

Just take care of your diet properly!