Nutrition: Training Your Gut

 It's three months away from your epic cycling trip around Cayuga Lake. You’ve been stocking up on equipment, fundraising like crazy, and putting in hours and miles on the bike and generally preparing yourself for a great ride experience. But what about your diet? Have you thought about food? Before the Ride? After the Ride? During the Ride? In my experience as a Registered Dietician and endurance athlete, it is always surprising to speak with clients and discover that they are not eating to work-out, they are working-out to eat! Just like your car needs fuel to run…you need to feed yourself to perform at your best! Now is the time to train your gut! You need to boost your GI system’s tolerance of pre and during exercise food intake. The first piece of advice is to start early and start small. Start with a sip of sport drink or bite of granola bar. Gradually build up to at least 200-300 calories within an hour of your work out. Add food to your pre-workout snack until you hit that 300kcal threshold. If you are working out for less than 60 minutes, try snacks that are easily digested and familiar like toast, English muffins, crackers or bananas. For a workout longer than 60 minutes (without access to food), try a snack that has a little bit of protein and fat such as a hard-boiled egg and toast or the classic half a bagel with peanut butter. Be careful with overly sugary foods like soft drinks as they can cause rebound hypoglycemia causing fatigue or light-headedness. Allow time for digestion if you are planning a meal vs. a snack. Allow 3-4 hours for a large meal, 2-3 hours for a small meal, 1-2 hours for a liquid meal (or blended) and >1hr for the snacks listed above. Ultimately, keep in mind that you know your body better than anyone else. Experiment until you find something that makes you feel like athlete you are! I’ll see you on the road! Kathryn Hoy, MFN, RD, LD After years of endurance racing, Kathryn will be riding in her first AIDS Ride for Life this year. In upcoming newsletters, she will be offering more advice on ride nutrition and hydration. She can be reached for questions at:  7/25/12

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