(Posted - 07 Feb 2010)
Jason English – 24 Hour Solo MTB World Champion gives his advice on nutrition for the Otway Odyssey
The Otway Odyssey is a seriously challenging course and just to finish is a feat in itself. Whatever your goal for the day one thing is for sure, it will be a lot more enjoyable if you have a sound nutrition strategy in place.
I hope what follows will help you to understand and simplify the sometimes complex world of sports nutrition. In reality it is basic human physiology and really not that difficult to get your head around. The science is in the way sports nutrition products are formulated and the manufacturing technology behind them.
What type of fluid should I consume during activity? Well this is a question that can be answered without too much problem. The key to avoiding, or at the very least, minimising the negative effects of dehydration is to attempt to match your fluid intake with your fluid loss.
Rule of thumb is to try and consume 750ml – 1 litre of fluid per hour. Remember your gut can only handle around about 1 litre of fluid per hour. On hot/humid days where your sweat rate can be upwards of 2 litres per hour try to manage your fluid intake to minimise the effects that dehydration has on your performance.
Set your watch to beep every 10 minutes to remind you to drink. So what type of fluid? If you are admitted to hospital with dehydration you are placed on a saline drip which contains water and sodium. That is it! Water and sodium. It makes sense then that if a hospital provides this solution to assist in the recovery of dehydration then it makes sense that this type of solution would be used to avoid dehydration in the first place.
The Shotz Electrolyte Tablet is the answer – it is an effervescent tablet that dissolves in water, it is amazingly simple to use and super portable. You just drop one tablet into 500ml of water. If you suffer from cramping I suggest you give these a go!
Important to know that there is no sugar in the tabs, it is designed purely for hydration. The benefit of this is that won’t get the bloated feeling you get from traditional sugary sports drinks.
Oh yeah these Shotz tabs come in a tube with 20 tablets which makes 10 litres.
What type of food and why? Because so much blood is being directed to the active muscles, mostly the legs for MTB, the key is to not disrupt this process too much. One way we can do this is to consume foods that do not require large amounts of blood to be taken away from the active muscles and directed to the gut.
During activity, particularly for mountain biking, the brain sends a message to increase the volume of blood to the legs. In the blood carbohydrate, oxygen and nutrients are carried to fuel the muscles. As the blood leaves the active muscles it takes away heat and carbon dioxide.
When we eat food blood is redirected to the stomach to digest and turn this food into a fuel the body can access. At rest this is not too much of a concern but during activity the key is to avoid having too much blood taken away from the active muscles.
The brain and active muscles rely heavily on carbohydrate, particularly during activity, as it requires the least amount of energy to be converted to fuel the body can access which in turn minimises the amount of blood being taken away from the active muscles.
The Shotz Energy Gels are scientifically formulated to fuel the body and minimise the amount of blood being taken away from the active muscles, they are very low in sugar which allows for a steady release of energy and not the highs and lows you can get from high sugar products.
The texture, mouth feel, flavours and taste combine to make the Shotz Energy Gels easy to use and easy on the stomach. If you prefer a solid food option for your energy requirements the Shotz Energy Bars are low in sugar, low in fat and high in complex carbohydrate. They are easy on the stomach even at high intensity and great for fighting the hunger flats you may experience in longer duration events. Four great flavours which are moist and chewy and easy to get down.
Check out the Shotz marquee at registration and get a sample of what is on offer.
Enjoy your Otway Odyssey experience – all the best from the Shotz crew.