A good start to Go Faster Food Ambassador Dan McKimm's sojourn in France ...
Meet Go Faster Food Ambassador, Dan McKimm! He has just arrived in France to train with pro cycling team AS Corbeil-Essonnes Cyclisme, having taken a sabbatical from his Sports Science degree at Birmingham Uuniversity to try his hand at becoming a professional cyclist.
Dan takes his diet very seriously, as part and parcel of his training. He'll be vlogging for us, along with British Pole Vaulter Lucy Bryan, over the next few months. So we'll meet him in the kitchen cooking up his favourite Go Faster Foods and talking about his training. If you've got a set of the "eat like a sports star" posters, you'll find the QR codes will link directly to these vlogs. If not, click here to view...
Dan McKimm - Eating for Cycling Success!
For us cyclists, our pre-season training camps are very important events in our preparations for
the new racing season. Not only does it give us the chance to get away and train in warm, sunny weather, but it also enables us to focus solely on our riding without any of the distractions and stresses of normal, everyday life.
This year, my team’s training camp was held on the north of Spain, not far from Barcelona, and was one week long. Whilst the primary aim of the camp was to get plenty of high quality miles and sessions in my legs, nutrition played a huge role in how successful and beneficial the camp turned out to be for me. Because I was training every single day, my body was put under huge amounts of stress and it was vital to ensure I properly fuelled and refuelled after every training session to ensure I maximised the gains from the training I had done, but also to make sure I avoided any illness and injury.
It is common to have two training sessions in one day on these camps, often called ‘double-days’, and on these days managing nutrition is key to a good days training. Below is my food diary from one of the double days I had on this year’s camp, showing you what I ate and hopefully explaining why.
With the first session of the day starting at 10 am, I was down at the breakfast table by 8am sharp with the rest of my team mates to ensure that there was enough time for my food to be digested before I started exercising. Because I knew that the morning session was focusing on climbing, and that I would be doing some long, high intensity efforts up some big hills/mountains, I needed to eat a relatively light breakfast so that I was not going to feel sick during these efforts. However, I still had to make sure what I ate provided me with enough energy to be able to complete the session well. So I chose to start the day with porridge, a favourite of mine. Just one bowl, made using water, is packed full of slow-release energy yet it is light enough not to make me feel sick or weighed down during exercise. I added a couple of spoonfuls of stewed fruit to the porridge for a boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and then I finished off breakfast with a banana. To drink, I had a cup of tea, a glass of fruit juice and multiple glasses of water to make sure I was properly hydrated.
10.00 – 13.30: Morning Training Session
Throughout the session, I was reliant on carbohydrates to provide me with the energy for the multiple long, intense efforts I did on the climbs. Therefore, it was important to the keep the level of carbohydrates in my body topped up, so I frequently snacked on energy-dense bars made from seeds and nuts. My rule of thumb is one bar for every hour of training. Similarly, it was important for me to remain hydrated to keep my performance levels up. So with me on this morning I had one bottle of water and one bottle of homemade isotonic energy drink, the recipe for which can be found on page 43 of Go Faster Food for Kids.
Whilst most of the team went back to the hotel after we had completed our prescribed training, I decided to stay out and do some extra training, including an additional climb and interval. Must have been that breakfast I had! However, this extra riding made my decisions at lunchtime even more crucial to my ability to train well in the afternoon session. With only an hour-and-a-half until I had to be back out on the road, I once again chose to eat a light but energy-rich meal so that it did not make me feel bloated or sick, but still ensured I took on enough carbohydrates to replace what I had burned in the morning. It was also important for me to take on a small amount of protein, because my body would have already started its recovery processes after the morning session. I also opted to include a little bit of fat on my plate, but good fat, as this is the body’s main source of energy for lower intensity exercise.
So, from the hotel’s buffet selection, I chose a piece of salmon because it is high in healthy fats and omega-3, as well as amino acids which are excellent for the growth and repair of muscle (ie. recovery). I then plated up some couscous, which was my main source of slow-release carbohydrate that I needed again for the afternoon, finishing off with some salad that provided additional nutrients, as well as also being another source of carbohydrate. With plenty of water to wash it down and re-hydrate, this meal set me up nicely for the afternoon session without making me feel too full.
15.00 – 17.00: Afternoon Training Session
Again, I continued to snack on my nut/seed bars throughout the session and, just like in the morning, I went out with one bottle of water and one bottle of homemade isotonic drink.
After another tough couple of hours on the road, I was definitely ready for dinner! Having done a total of five, hard hours of training throughout the day, and with a similar training load scheduled for the following day, it was really important for me to ensure that I refuelled properly. So for my protein, to aid the repair and strengthening of muscle damaged during training, I had a couple of pieces of chicken, for my carbohydrates I had couscous once again, mainly because I love it and it’s a fantastic source of slow-release energy which I’d need the following day, and finally some more salad for all those nutrients it has! And, of course, another couple of glasses of water to make sure I was re-hydrated and to aid the digestion of my food.