Rest Station Treats For Performance
BY DR. THIMO KAMBOURAKIS
There you are, riding along the route. Enjoying the breathtaking scenery. Adrenaline pumping. You got your rhythm down when you see the sign, REST STATION! Your thinking to yourself; “Do I need the break?” or “Maybe I’ll pass on this one and stop on the next. “
What are you thinking?
Not only are you doing a disservice by not sampling the local fare of what these farmers are sharing, you may not have the fuel to continue on your route. These farmers have put together their finest treats from their own land. Fruits, vegetables, cheeses, pies, just to mention a few. The key here is knowing what you need to keep motoring to the finish line.
Participating in all the events last year has open our eyes on the nutrient dense sources of fuel that are provided at all the rest stations. Before we begin on what to sample, we need to understand what our body needs for fuel.
Here’s the science:
Glycogen is the primary source of fuel (a carbohydrate), followed by fat, that used during exercises. Low muscle glycogen stores results in muscle fatigue and the body’s inability to complete high intensity exercise. The depletion of muscle glycogen is also a significant factor in acute muscle weakness and reduced force production. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise decreased glycogen stores, so the need for carbohydrates is high for all types of exercise during the energy phase. There is strong evidence from several studies indicating that carbohydrate feeding during exercise of approximately 45 minutes or longer can greatly improve endurance capacity and performance. Athletes need to continually load and reload muscle glycogen stores.
The term aerobic refers to the presence of oxygen in the reaction. When oxygen is introduced, the breakdown of glucose, fat, and protein can be converted into energy in the most efficient way. This process takes longer and is therefore ideal for longer periods of low intensity energy usage. Fat is an essential factor in this system due to its high energy make up of the molecule, and can therefore re-synthesize even more ATP than glucose.
Those marvelous treats!
At each rest station, the farmers have assembled various selections of their produce in the form of desserts, fruit and berries, honey, ciders, natural potato chips, and cheeses. We will look at a few of these ingredients in their natural state and analyze why these foods are a good source of fuel.
The bright orange color of these root vegetables is a visual cue that they are an abundant source of the high-powered antioxidant, vitamin A. They also are a great source of potassium to help soothe sore muscles and maintain the right amount of fluids in the body. One cup provides 27 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of which are fiber.
This breakfast staple has been promoted as a "heart-healthy" food due to its high soluble fiber and low saturated fat content, both of which have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Besides keeping your ticker kicking, the magnesium found in oats helps to maintain nerve and muscle function and is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. One 1/2 cup of dry oats provides 27 grams of carbohydrates.
Strawberries, blueberries, and other berries are among the best nutrients source of carbohydrate. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and performance in many ways. One cup of strawberries provides 12 grams of carbohydrates.
It can be made from the milk of goats, sheep, or cows. Cheese can be high in sodium and fat, but it also delivers powerful nutrients. One ounce delivers 4 grams of high quality protein, 1/2 grams of carbohydrates, 2 ½ grams of fat, 1/3 of your daily calcium and vitamin D. All this for only 40 calories.
Honey is carbohydrate rich due to its fructose and glucose content, making it a high powered natural energy snack. Pure honey contains small amounts of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals and trace elements. Honey is also known to have antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. One tablespoon provides 17 grams of carbohydrates, 60 calories, no cholesterol or fat.
As you can see, there are several whole food options available at each rest station to help you perform at your best. Keeping in mind that all nutrients need to be in moderation, so don’t load up at one station and enjoy what these farmers have prepared.
Happy cycling and make sure you register for the chef prepared Farm to Fork dinners available the night before your event. The food prepared for each event is locally grown in that region and the flavors are unbelievable. It’s an excellent way to fuel up before your ride.