How does nutrition play a role in power gains?

Last weekend, Everitt and I went out to cheer for my husband and brother-in-law racing in the Jacobs Well Road Race. While I was there, I was asked by Matt Sevier, host of  Splash Mash Dash Youtube channel, to discuss how power gains on the bike are impacted by nutrition. bike race 3 My first thought was, well there is not one particular food source that is directly related to power gains. Power in the muscles is impacted by the mitochondria in the cells which convert nutrition into ATP or energy. Meaning, I can’t tell you to eat lots of pineapple and you will see power gains. I can tell you that nutrition as a whole can impact your power gains. Nutrition as a whole accompanied with specific training is what impacts your ability to gain power. Proper nutrition is what allows the mitochondria to do their job and fuel your muscles to perform; through proper nutrition and training you can achieve power gains.

bike race 1

So what is “proper nutrition”? Often, people want to isolate a particular nutrient or food source to benefit their goals. They put their “binoculars on” and look so hard through a pinhole just to get frustrated they can’t find a solution. Instead of having such a narrow search for a golden egg, try broadening your search and look out the window rather than the pinhole. What do I mean by that? Take a look at your overall food intake. Start with making minor changes that can help with your goal rather than trying to pinpoint the one food/nutrient that will help with gains. Once you have looked out the window and made the big changes, then it is time to narrow the focus and fine tune your nutrition.

 

Start with writing down or taking photos of everything you eat and drink. I have found that when my athletes have to report what they eat, awareness brings about knowledge. It is easy to assume you are consuming everything your body needs, but are you really? Could you be sacrificing performance and power gains for laziness or lack of planning? I get it, planning meals and snacks is a pain and takes time. We are all short on time but we all have 24 hours in a day.  You have to decide to dedicate precious time to planning in order to have the gains you desire. If power gains are a true goal, you will make planning your food and snacks a priority in your life. Once you have tracked for a few days, assess if you are consuming adequate protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluids for the stress you are placing on your body. Assess if you are consuming adequate needs for recovery from the training you are putting your body through. If not, that is where to start your focus for power gains.

 

If you need help or don’t know where to start, leave me a comment and we can chat! I would love to help you get on track to achieving your goals.

 

For those of you in the Austin, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Boerne or San Antonio area, Robert puts together great Road, Criterium, Cyclocross and Mountain bike races . Check out Cibolo Creek Racing for more information on upcoming races.

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