About Mountain Biking-Training Nutrition and Refueling

About Mountain Biking-Training Nutrition and Refueling
About Mountain Biking-Training Nutrition and Refueling

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The races consist of a short leg (6 km max lap); Circuit (minimum route 6km; 1-2h & 12-24h); Enduro (1 or more days of different events); Point to point (starting and ending different; 25-100 km)

Downhill races typically involve athletes competing at full intensity for 2-4 minute runs. High strength is required for the high output power required for success as well as advanced anaerobic capabilities. Races include downhill (single; 1.5-3.5km; technical; 2-5 minutes); 4-cross (4 runners pass a series of gates; 30-40 seconds); Dual slalom (knockout races; 2 runners, 20-45 seconds).

A year typically includes pre-season, competition and off-season, the length of which varies according to the athlete’s schedule. The cross country racers aim to build a foundation of endurance in the pre-season by combining cross country and road racing.

Downhill riders mostly ride on the trail. Combat training is also integrated into both sports, especially in pre-season, to improve strength and power. In Australia, the focus of the season is the FIFA World Cup (April to September) consisting of six races. Before that, drivers will compete in five National Series races (November-February/March) and other events before the World Championships (August/September). 

Physical traits depend on discipline. Cross-country runners typically have less muscle mass and body fat. This achieves a higher power-to-weight ratio, which is beneficial for climbing. Downhill riders are usually bigger and have more muscle to generate more power during training and racing. 

Training diet

An individual’s nutritional needs will be determined by training volume, athlete-specific needs, training goals, body composition goals, fitness, and growth adjustments. Your exercise regimen should focus on a variety of nutrient-dense carbohydrates (e.g., whole wheat bread, fruit, vegetables), as well as regular intake of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and dairy products for protein, calcium and iron.

Carbohydrate needs should complement training volume to optimize performance and recovery. Regular meals and snacks can help meet energy and carbohydrate needs when demand is high, such as during hard training days or competitive races. Ideally, include a high-carb, high-protein snack within 30-60 minutes of training or competition to help ensure adequate energy delivery and maximize muscle repair and adaptation. , especially when another demanding training session takes place within 8 hours or during a demanding competition. If training or racing away from home, packaging of portable, non-perishable snacks may be required (e.g. liquid supplements, flavored tetra milk, creamy rice, nuts, breads) sandwich, baked beans).

Protein requirements depend on the stage of endurance training and energy intake. The distribution of protein intake for the day is more influential than quantity.

For those looking to lose body fat, limiting energy-dense foods/liquids (e.g., “junk food,” alcohol) and timing workouts to complete around normal mealtimes can help. Limit the need for extra snacks. Also, doing easy morning exercises (no breaks or thresholds) on an empty stomach can help use up more fat stores. 

Hydration needs for mountain biking

Cyclists should aim to drink enough fluids each day to replace lost fluids, correcting for factors that increase fluid loss such as temperature, sweat rate, exercise intensity, time and altitude.

It is neither necessary nor practical to replace 100% of the fluids lost during a workout or race, but should aim to replace 150% of the fluid lost within 4-6 hours of the session. practice. 

What to eat and drink before a race

Because carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel during intense training, muscle fuel stores must be replenished within 24-36 hours of competition to optimize performance on race day. Depending on the length of the event, distance runners can schedule rest or light training the day before the event while following a carbohydrate loading plan to maximize muscle glycogen stores. Eating low-fiber foods within 12 to 24 hours before the event may reduce the risk of bowel disorders.

The pre-event meal is an important opportunity to replenish glycogen stores (especially in the liver) and optimize hydration. For an early morning run, when time is tight, you can eat a light, low-fiber, high-carb snack 1-2 hours before your run. A later race may allow a large meal 3-4 hours in advance, followed by a small snack or carbohydrate-containing liquid before the race begins. These meals should be practiced in training before an outing.

Appropriate pre-match meals and snacks include:  

  • Porridge with banana
  • Weet-bix with milk and fruit
  • Rice or pasta dish
  • Sandwich/roll with light fillings or banana
  • Baked potatoes
  • Creamed rice
  • Crumpets or toast with jam or nut butter
  • Sports bars

To prevent dehydration and consequent reductions in concentration and performance, it’s important to increase fluid intake in the days leading up to the race and pre-race meals. 

What to eat and drink during the competition

During a race, food and fluid requirements depend on distance traveled, pre-race meal choices, and the actual challenges of eating during the competition. During short, high-intensity events, small amounts of carbs (eg, drinking a sports drink in 5 seconds) can improve performance.

For runs longer than 60-90 minutes, consuming 30-60g of carbs per hour can help prevent muscle fatigue, maintain speed and cognition, and improve performance. Testing during prolonged, strenuous training sessions or prep races will help determine an athlete’s fluid and carbohydrate tolerance, as well as identify any gastrointestinal issues. A combination of sports foods and whole foods may be included depending on individual preference and tolerance. The following carbohydrate-rich foods are commonly used in mountain bike races:
bananas, sports bars, gels, fruitcakes, savory muffins, jam/vegemite sandwiches, sports drinks, dates and jelly beans.

During the race, it is not possible or necessary to replace 100% of the liquid lost during the event. Understanding an individual’s sweat rate will help determine an appropriate fluid intake plan for jogging – a certified sports nutritionist can help. 

Post-race recovery

After training and racing, eating a meal or snack containing a combination of high-quality carbohydrates and protein will improve muscle fuel delivery and protein synthesis to aid muscle recovery. Fluids and electrolytes should also be included to assist with rehydration.

Nutrient-rich options are more valuable than nutrient-poor options for achieving overall nutritional goals (e.g., protein, micronutrients) and healthy fats to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Suitable restorative foods include:  

  • Omelet or eggs on toast
  • Yogurt with nuts and fresh fruit
  • Wraps with lean protein, avocado and salad
  • Homemade beef or chicken burgers + salad

When energy needs are high and appetite is low, fluids with a combination of carbohydrates and protein may be preferred (e.g. smoothie, flavoured milk, liquid meal drink).

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