From the conversation between the nutrition expert Robert Gorgos (among others nutritionist of the cycling team BORA Hansgrohe) and pro-coach Philipp Seipp it soon turned out that nutrition during and after training and/or competition should be a firm component in the programme of each athlete. In this summary of the webinar “Nutrition in training and competition” (see live blog and G&Q in German), we’ll look at the why.
Nutrients charge your battery
The expert duo Robert and Philipp know thanks to their work with athletes that nutrition can increase performance potential. From the webinar with Philipp “Training before volume – train as little as possible” we have deduced that the goal of training is specific stimuli, whereas the goal of recovery is the transformation of these stimuli. According to the 51:49 rule, in order to develop ourselves further, we must always recover more than we push ourselves. Nutrition supports this process, no matter after which sort of session.
What role does intensity play?
It plays an important one. The higher the intensity of the session, the greater the combustion of carbohydrates. For this reason note the following:
Low Intensity Basic Endurance Session
- Basic Endurance sessions are also to be fed. For this purpose, you should rely on so-called “slow-release” carbs. They give you steady energy for your training and keep the fat metabolism going.
- If you nourish your body continuously during (longer) sessions, you avoid the threat of your body taking energy from glucoplastic amino acids, i.e. from proteins from the muscles and the immune system.
- Robert’s recommendation is an intake of 30 – 40 g of carbohydrates per hour for a longer Basic Endurance session, preferably from the first hour.
High Intensity Sessions
- Start training with full glycogen storages.
- Teach your body how to generate power through carbohydrate metabolism. Food should therefore be part of the training.
- Robert’s recommendation is to provide yourself with as much nutrients as possible during training, i.e. with well over 60 g of fast available carbohydrates per hour. It is better to do it with drinks, otherwise you would have to eat a lot, thus strain your digestive tract.
If you follow these points in training and competition and get your body used to the nutrition during the sessions, you will not decrease your capacities, you will lower the risk of infection and you will promote recovery.
What do you need to keep in mind during fasted training?
Not every session has to be fed in principle. Fasted workouts at low intensity are designed to shape the body.
- Your goal (competition duration, key factor to improve) should be known.
- If necessary, take proteins without carbohydrates before the session so that you do not reduce your muscles.
- The session should be gentle on your immune system and not exceed 90 minutes, so that you don’t empty yourself completely.
After the fasted session you should get a portion of all three main nutrients fat, protein and carbohydrates. Robert suggests something fresh for breakfast, for example fruit with yoghurt and oats, a porridge with nuts or scrambled eggs with vegetables and herbs.
How do you earn the full anabolic potential after the session?
The body can better absorb nutrients immediately after training. Robert recommends:
- Ideally take nutrients in the first 30 minutes after your session.
- Stimulate the growth of mitochondria with a prompt intake. Mitochondria provide energy and are therefore the power stations of our cells. When carbohydrates are metabolized, free radicals are created which affect them.
- Quickly available carbohydrates mixed with proteins (either amino acids or whole proteins) fill the glycogen stores in a targeted manner.
These steps will help you regain energy for the next session more quickly and generally shorten the recovery time. Therefore, if you want to train optimally, you have to plan your nutrition. If you think about the intake of nutrients before, during and after training and competitions, you will get the most out of this process.
Would you like to hear the tips in Robert’s and Philipp’s words (in German)? Then take a look here: