None of us really knew what to expect from this talk and I for one was feeling a little nervous about what I was going to hear, would we be leaving on a strict diet of boiled chicken and protein shakes never to enjoy a chilled glass of pino again?? My only previous experience of sports nutrition was rather stupidly safety pinning numerous energy gels to my top during the London Marathon and ending up in a sticky mess as they all ripped and spilt their contents down me. Turns out I needn’t have been worried, Peter and the folks at OTE specialise in making things simple, he gave us some great straightforward advice and clarified the confusing world of sports drinks, gels and recovery shakes.
So what were these pearls of wisdom? Well firstly he spoke about the issue of weight and how “excess baggage” so to speak was not conducive to cycling up mountains. The analogy of strapping a bag of potatoes under your saddle and the extra effort required to cycle rang a little too true!
Secondly to understand that water is the most important nutrient when it comes to exercising, a 2% drop in hydration results in a 10% drop in performance. It is therefore essential to go into exercise fully hydrated and then to start sipping 20-30 minutes in. If you feel thirsty it’s too late!
Carbohydrates were next, good levels are key for energy whilst exercising, it is stored in our muscles and essential for anaerobic metabolism. The problem is carbohydrate stores in our body run out after about 90 minutes of moderate exercise and the Etape is going to take us a wee bit longer! So how do we keep our carbs topped up without resorting to tucking a baguette into our back pocket? Actually its quite simple we will require about 60g carbohydrate per hour of exercise, therefore if we sip a sachet of energy drink and consume a sports gel or bar every hour we are sorted.
Peter also spoke about recovery, apparently a mug of sweet tea and a large chocolate brownie isn’t enough to maintain this athletic body of mine (ha ha). Instead we should be opting for a combination of carbohydrate and protein to keep us in tip top condition.
My favourite piece of advice from Peter however was the importance of rest for recovery. I just need to convince my husband that not only must he entertain three small children on a Sunday morning whilst I’m out training but he also needs to make a nutritious roast dinner, whilst waiting on me for the rest of the day whilst I put my feet up…The Etape by comparison suddenly looks less of a challenge!