Alexey Vermeulen competed as a professional cyclist for a number of year’s before transitioning to mountain biking. Through racing competitively, he’s gained insight into how fueling properly can improve your performance as an athlete. He shared with Honey Stinger how he fuels before, during, and after training and race day.
Photo: Wild Glass Photo
There are a lot of different opinions about the best way to fuel while training and racing. I have found that eating whole foods and avoiding processed sugars, unless doing a very hard intense training, works best. Sugar, salt and fat are NOT your enemies as an endurance athlete.
In my experience, nutrition plays a huge part in people’s race performance. To stay well fueled in a race, you need to know how to eat and drink correctly in training as well. Practice makes perfect. You shouldn’t need to remind yourself, it should be muscle memory.
I always have a drink in my hand. Staying hydrated before the race is important because the first hour of the race can be the most difficult to eat or drink. I eat breakfast or my last big meal 3 hours before the start. My favorite is scrambled eggs with white rice, olive oil and salt. It’s well balanced, tastes great, and I like the texture as well. At the race or about 1 hour before, I have a Honey Stinger energy bar or a Cracker N’ Nut Butter Bar.
I look at what intervals that I might have to do when I plan my nutrition for a training. When I have an endurance ride without much intensity, I will ride with Honey Stinger Cracker N’ Nut Butter Bars, energy bars and waffles. On more intense rides, I build on that base and bring Honey Stinger chews as well as the bars and waffles. During race intensity rides, or as my coach calls them “kitchen sinks”, I bring all of the above as well as a couple gels to spike my sugars before starting all out efforts.
In the first 30 minutes after training or racing, get something to eat. I reach for a protein bar and chocolate milk directly after a race before changing and washing up. About 1 hour to 90 minutes post-race, I try to have a full meal. Make it a goal to get something with more protein as well as carbs. Burritos are my personal go-to post-race meal.
You can take these tips and trips with you from the training ground into race day. One thing to always remember as you continue training and pushing toward new goals is when you feel it, it’s too late. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. So, always be proactive!
Photo: Wild Glass Photo
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