The following is a talk I gave for the BC Under 18 Rugby team this summer before we went off to Nationals. Even though it was geared towards 2 a day rugby games in the super humid, 40+ degree heat in Winnipeg, the same principles can be applied to motorcycle racing as both involve ATHLETES in very very hot conditions (full leathers at high noon at mission, etc.) pushing themselves to their absolute physical limits. So have a read. It details how and what to eat and drink and when to do it, as well as some other ideas.
And let me know if you have any questions and if you found this helpful!
SPORTS NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
It is commonly recommended to eat 3-4 hours before an event to avoid becoming nauseated or uncomfortable during competition. However, the optimal time to eat varies greatly from athlete to athlete. Some guidelines are as follows:
1) The following athletes should eat 3-4 hours pre-event:
- Athletes in contact sports - Increased risk of injury and possible need for anaesthetic
- Athletes who lose appetite or feel nauseous before competition or training
- Athletes who tend to get diarrhea shortly before or during an event
- Athletes who exercise in heat. Dehydration increases likelihood of cramping or
- Athletes who participate in high-intensity sports with a lot of running or jumping
2) Time food consumption as close to 30 minutes before an event for:
- Athletes who feel uncomfortably hungry during the event
- Athletes who tend to become hypoglycemic (e.g. shaky and weak)
- Athletes who participate in an aerobic endurance event and want to maximize
Content: Mainly of carbohydrates (65-70% of calories) (Fruit, veggies, bread, rice)
Small amount of protein (¡Â 15% of calories)
Little or no fat
Fluids with meal
Protein and fats take longer to digest and are likely to leave athlete feeling
uncomfortable if eaten close to competition
Avoid gas forming or unfamiliar foods
Do not experiment with new "energy bar", energy drink before competing (trial
them in practices, training, etc.)
Digestion times: Large meals - 1000-1500 calories - Take 3-4 hours to digest
Small meals - 600 calories - Take 2-3 hours to digest
Liquid meal / - Under 300 calories - Take 1 hour to digest
Timing depends on next training session / competition (e.g. multiple competitions during 1 day period). Athletes who are training two or three times a day or who do not have long periods of time to recover should consume carbohydrates in the form of food or supplements
IMMEDIATELY post-event. There is thought to be an optimal window of time post-exercise (up to 2 hours) for glycogenesis, as a result it is often better to consume carbohydrates as soon as possible after the event / training session. Although emphasis is placed on carbohydrates, consuming a balanced meal ensures the availability of all substrates for adequate recovery.
Water's most important role during activity is body temperature regulation (mainly by the evaporation of sweat). During intense exercise, the sweat rate may be 1.25 - 1.5L per hour. In extreme conditions of heat and humidity, an elite athlete may lose up to 3L per hour in sweat.
Winnipeg is the sunshine capital of Canada, with on average up to 2300 hours of sun per year. And summer temperatures regularly rise above 35¨¬C. It is mainly flat, at the lowest level of the praries, and sits at the bottom of a huge lake, Lake Agassiz, so expect humid, muggy, not so west-coast like weather.
Thirst is not a reliable indicator of dehydration, especially during exercise, as the thirst mechanism is dulled. By the time get thirsty, you are already 1-2% dehydrated. But just being dehydrated 1-2% equates to a 10% drop in strength and performance. When dehydration is 3-5% of body weight, the risk of heat related injury is HIGH.
Dehydration is a major cause of declining performance and increasing fatigue.
Signs of dehydration: Thirst
If an athlete becomes dehydrated but is still mentally alert and has no gastrointestinal (GI) pain, then s/he can re-hydrate orally.
But, if the athlete has lost consciousness, has become confused or is suffering GI pain, s/he needs to be transported immediately to an emergency medical facility
Can I drink too much?
YES you can! While most athletes understand the importance of proper hydration, most do not realize that overhydrating can dangerously lower blood sodium levels - a condition known as hyponatremia or "water intoxication". Distance athletes, such as ultra-marathoners and triathletes who sweat profusely over many hours, many of whom drink primarily water during an event, can succumb to seizures, coma and even death due to the effects of the electrolyte imbalance from hyponatremia.
When asked about hyponatremia, Dr. Paul Watson, sport medicine physician from Duncan BC, said "Clearly, hyponatremia is more common than we thought. Not simply over-hydration, but an interaction between the nervous and endocrine systems, it is a problem of the water preservation system of the body. Each of us responds to exercise in all sorts of ways, and our bodies don't accommodate well, if untrained, to certain environmental conditions. Although we now know more about the sugar, sodium and potassium content in sports drinks, we still don't know enough." The underlying message Dr. Duncan shares with us is that you must "know your body, know your sweat rate under various conditions, and prepare accordingly."
Ultimately, hydration is not simply a question of drinking fluids, but of knowing your own body and drinking the right fluids for you and your various activities, in various environmental conditions.
The follow is the position statement of the American Academy of Sports Medicine on pre-competition hydration
Schedule water intake throughout the day. Drink at least 2L / 8 cups / day
Prior to Competition:
In sports where heavy sweat losses occur, like rugby, drink water up to 2
hours before start time, then STOP DRINKING!
Then 5-10 minutes BEFORE the event, consume as much water as
comfortable (500 mL or more)
This procedure allows time for the bladder to empty, then provides fluid
(that will not reach the body) to help keep the body hydrated
During Exercise or Competition:
Drink 100-250 mL every 15-20 minutes.
Athletes who sweat heavily or exercise in hot temperatures should drink
Cool fluids are absorbed fastest
After Exercise or Competition:
Quenching thirst does NOT satisfy the body's need to water
Drink 1L of fluid for each kg of body weight lost during exercise
Monitor urine color and amount (plenty of pale urine during the day is a
sign of sufficient fluid intake)
Limit or avoid: Alcohol All are dieuretics which
Tea cause your body to lose
Coffee excess amounts of water
Plain, cool water is sufficient for events or training one hour or less
Beverages containing 2.5-10% carbohydrates (2.5g-10g CHO per 100mL)
are beneficial when activity lasts longer than one hour
Choose one that tastes good WHEN YOU ARE EXERCISING
Test it out during practice/training before using in competition
Addition of a SMALL amount of sodium helps enhance carbohydate
Note: Athletes may believe that sodium and other electrolytes need to be
replaced frequently. However, loss of these electrolytes only occur
during very high intensity activities in heat and humidity with exercise
lasting more than 3 hours.
Sports Nutrition Advisory Committee (SNAC), Fluids for Athletes.
Chuey, P. The 101 most asked Nutrition Questions. Eating for energy, 1999.
ACSM position statement: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, pp.2130-2145, Dec, 2000.
NSCA, Essential of Strength Training and Conditioning, 2nd Ed., Chapter 12, 2000.
Exerpts reproduced from RSPT 443 Course Notes - UBC SRS - With permission from Tyler Dumont, BScPT, PT, AMSMC.