Is motocross nutrition something you think about or take seriously to improve your riding? If it’s not… maybe it should be. My goal here is to help you realize the importance of a proper diet and how it can help motocross riders to increase mental clarity and reflexes, sustain energy and improve performance in training and competition.
Motocross riders must have a high level of cardiovascular fitness as they need to be able to control a heavy motorbike while maintaining high speeds during a race. In addition riders must also have quick reflexes, and be able to deal with inertia and gravitational forces, making balance and strength, all important requirements for the sport. Weight training is an important part of preparation, incorporating core strength and all other muscle groups for strength on the bike.
An ideal training diet should include adequate carbohydrate to match energy needs, moderate amounts of protein and healthy fats, as well as supplying enough vitamins and minerals. Focusing on nutrient-dense foods such as wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, lean meat, poultry and fish or vegetarian protein alternatives will help to ensure that all nutrient needs are met.
Excess fat from takeaway and fast foods, as well as alcohol should be limited as this will impair training adaptations and can make it more difficult to reach body composition goals.
Motocross riders often have busy training schedules with multiple sessions throughout the week. Therefore they need be planned with food choices and ensure that the timing of meals and snacks coincides with their training schedule to optimise fuelling and recovery between sessions. On heavy training days, extra snacks are needed to fuel higher training loads in contrast to lighter/rest days where less food may be sufficient.
I dont’ like to speak about kalories because the most important thing for our body is the amount of each macronutrient:
- Proteines: 1,2-1,5g / kg of body wheight
- Fat : 1-1,2 g/ kg of body wheight
- Carbohydrates: 5-7g of body wheight
For example a 70kg rider needs 84-105g of proteine/die , 70-90g of fat/die and 300-500g of carbohydrate/die.
In general the need of proteine and fat doesn’t change that much between athletes and “normal” people. Instead Carbohydrate need changes a lot depending on the number of hours and the type of training. As a general rule a high heart rate requires higher amount of carbohydrates.
Also Fluid needs can be high because of the high sweat rate that occurs due to the amount of protective gear that is worn. Keeping track of individual fluid losses it is important to avoid overheating and dehydration. High fluid losses can negatively affect both physical and mental performance, as the body is less able to cool itself. Training is a good time to trial and refine hydration habits and monitor changes in fluid losses under different conditions. Most of the time, water is sufficient to replace fluid needs. However, during long or hot training sessions, as well as in competition, sports drinks can be useful to provide fuel as well as fluid and electrolytes simultaneously.
The diet before the competition in very important. Food available at race venues often consists of a typical takeaway menu (hamburgers, hot dogs, pies, chips etc.). These high-fat, energy-dense and nutrient poor options are not ideal for competition fuelling or recovery so it is important to plan ahead. The timing of the pre-competition meal will depend on the start time of the race. Eating a meal 2-4 hours prior to competing will allow sufficient time for the food to digest and stomach to empty and reduce the risk of gut issues.
Last but not least after the race there are three main goals of recovery nutrition:
- Refuel muscle glycogen (carbohydrate stores)
- Repair muscle (for function & development)
- Rehydrate (replace fluids lost through sweat)
Recovery meals and snacks should contain carbohydrate (fuel), some protein (for muscle repair and development) and plenty of fluids and electrolytes to replace sweat losses. A recovery meal or snack should be consumed soon after training or competition, particularly if the next training session or event is the next day. Fluids (mainly water) should also be drunk to rehydrate and restore fluid levels.
In conclusion if you make the effort to improve your nutritional intake, you will feel fitter, stronger and healthier which can only improve your riding skills. If you are really serious about your motocross nutrition, seek professional advice. Remember, there’s no one-specific nutrition program for everyone, so take the time to figure out what works for you.
Copy: Edoardo Mazzocchi, Professional Sport Nutritionist
2019.05.02 @ 10:44am