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Leading Sports Nutritionist answers your questions

Last month, BORA – hansgrohe Head Nutritionist Robert Gorgos answered your questions on Wiggle’s Instagram stories. There were some great questions – from go-to breakfasts to how the team use HIGH5 Slow Release products!

Quality nutrition is important for cyclists, both in training and racing. Cycling puts the body under a lot of stress. Burning thousands of calories over a longer ride means there is a high energy requirement and riders can lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes through sweat. To keep performing at a high level, it's imperative to get the nutrition right. For pro cycling teams like BORA – hansgrohe, the nutritionists play a vital role in the team, educating and guiding the riders on how nutrition and diet can enhance their performance, recovery and overall health. HIGH5 have been working with BORA – hansgrohe since 2017 and recently developed our Slow Release Energy Range with them. Here were our favourites.

1. How many grams of carbohydrate would a pro eat in a normal training day?

It depends on training intensity, length and the body composition of the rider. For a four hour ride with intervals, you’re looking at 550-650g carbohydrates – also depending on body weight.

2. I'm doing a 200km ride for charity - what should I eat?

Breakfast: A carbohydrate-rich breakfast with some protein is key – porridge, fruit, 1-2 soft boiled eggs, spelt bread with nut butter and/or maybe a yoghurt. This will prepare you for the long ride ahead.

During the ride: Aim to take on around 60g of carbohydrates per hour. This could be in the form of liquid energy, such as HIGH5 Energy Drink, or solid food, such as HIGH5 Energy Bar (39g carbohydrate) or rice cakes. You could take 1-2 gels and half to a whole bar per hour, depending on body weight and intensity.

After ride: As soon as you finish, take on a HIGH5 Recovery Drink to start your recovery. Around 30 minutes later, eat a carbohydrate-rich snack such as muesli, rice, bananas or maybe some cheese.

Dinner: For dinner, make sure you’re eating a rounded meal. You could include boiled vegetables, vegetable soup with bread, potatoes with a main of meat or fish and around 180g (dry weight) pasta or basmati rice.

3. How soon before your ride should you eat?

You should eat around 3 hours before a high-intensity ride, and 2 hours for a low-intensity ride. This should be around 700-1000 kcal depending on the ride, body weight and your fitness goals.

4. How many calories should you aim for per 100km, and what mix?

During your ride, your stomach can digest up to 400 kcal/hour. For a 100km ride across 3.5 hours, this would add up to 1200-1400 kcal, depending on body weight. This should be mostly from carbohydrates. On an easier ride, 60g of carbohydrates/hour is sufficient, however, a higher intensity calls for around 80g/hour. The remaining energy can be from fat (10-15g) and proteins (10-15g).

5. Is it possible for a pro to have a vegetarian or vegan diet?

A vegetarian diet for an elite athlete is doable with a varied diet and enough energy, carbs and protein. A vegan diet is more difficult and problematic as it’s hard to get macronutrients like iron, B2, B12, retinol, and zinc, as well as an easily absorbable protein. A varied, plant-based diet focusing on quality carbohydrates with smaller amounts of animal produce (red meat, fish, eggs and cheese) is still the safest way to eat for an endurance athlete.

6. What breakfast do you swear by?

Our go-to breakfast is porridge cooked with oat milk and water, a banana, handful of blueberries, 1 soft boiled egg and some fat from avocado or almonds/walnuts.

7. What is better on longer or faster bike rides - solid food or liquid energy?

The higher the intensity, the more we use liquid nutrition. You can start with a mixture of bars, rice cakes and lower concentrated carbohydrate drinks such as HIGH5 Energy Drink, and later switch to gels such as HIGH5 Energy Gel Aqua and higher concentrated carbohydrate drinks.

8. Do the team do any fasted rides or is it always important to fuel your rides?

BORA – hansgrohe don’t do any fasted training, but sometimes a ride with lower muscle glycogen stores. However, this isn’t very often and is with a low-intensity ride only.

9. Is gluten bad for sports performance?

If you are celiac, then yes. However, for most people, gluten is not bad for sports performance. Some people might are sensitive to wheat and might do better with rice, potatoes and maybe some rye or spelt bread.

10. When do you use the HIGH5 Energy Gels with Slow Release Carbs vs regular HIGH5 gels?

HIGH5 Energy Gels with Slow Release Carbs are perfect for easy base training (LIT) and for reducing Vlamax, but for interval training and racing, the team find the regular Energy Gels are perfect!

HIGH5 Cycle Pack

The HIGH5 Cycle Pack contains the nutrition essentials to support your next cycling training session or event with a combination of our most popular Energy, Hydration and Recovery products for cyclists. Get yours here.

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