Tips from our athletes on the road to Rio 2016

Diet and Hydration: A Few Tips from Karol-Ann Canuel

Plan the right amounts of liquids and solid food
 
Taking advantage of the summer to get out on your road bike? Karol-Ann Canuel is a world team time trials champion and a member of the Dutch professional cycling squad Boels-Dolmans. Here are her dietary and hydration preparations for the Rio Olympic Games.
 
“I usually plan for about one 500 ml bottle of water per hour of cycling,” says Karol-Ann. “But I recently did some hydration tests and found that I needed to increase that quantity, especially when the weather is hot and humid, like it is in Rio! During training sessions, I prefer water. If I’m out for more than three hours or if it’s really hot, I’ll add a little salt to my water. I make sure to have solid food with me, like a peanut butter sandwich, which I eat in small bites. And I recommend mixing in 1 or 2 tablespoons of maple butter as well, to up your carbo intake … Yum! 
 
At an elevation of 2,500 m, the Rio course is super difficult. But I really like that and I’ll make sure to drink a lot before, during and after training and the race itself.” 

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Eating Well to Get the Most out of Bike Season

Raphaël Gagné and Ariane Lavigne share their special nutrition secrets for cyclists
 
Want to take the most energy with you when you’re ready to head out?
Would you like to be in top shape and lose a few kilos for the summer?
Here are some recommendations from Olympian and VIVAÏ sports nutritionist Ariane Lavigne, and a few practical tips from Canadian mountain bike medalist Raphaël Gagné, who’s on the road to Rio. 
 
As you may have already guessed, maple has a special place on the menu!
 
“There’s always a source of protein and plenty of vegetables in my meals,” says Raphaël Gagné. “If I have a sandwich for lunch, it’ll be on whole wheat bread. I round that out with a mixed salad of different fresh veggies and a vinaigrette of a little oil, vinegar and maple syrup. It’s a small touch but it changes everything!”
 
To excel in an endurance sport like cycling, you’ll want to improve your body composition. This is often termed as increasing the watts per kilo (or power to weight) ratio. Ariane Lavigne explains: “To increase your watts per kilo ratio while losing weight, it’s important to set a realistic, long-term goal that will gradually reduce weight, no more than 1 pound (0.5 kg) per week. That’ll let you pick up the pace and intensity of your workouts (your watts!), without dealing with constant hunger. To do this, choose foods that are satisfying but with low energy density.”
 
Knowing what to eat (and when) is just as important, according to Ariane. Carbohydrates provide the basic energy for muscles during exercise, so they’re of great benefit when performing high-intensity activities. “Remember to save those carbo-rich foods for your training sessions so that you’ll have the energy you need to perform with power, and also to increase your total daily energy output.”
 
Raphaël shares his experience with us: “For the three days before a race, I make sure to go on a glycogen overload. That allows me to maximize my energy reserves. So I put a lot of rice back into my diet, along with jams, maple butter and taffy, and fruit juice.”
 
 
Another crucial element: hydration! “Sometimes our brain tells us we’re hungry but what it’s really saying is that we’re thirsty,” reveals Ariane. “Drink, breathe, and assess whether the craving you’re feeling is physical or psychological. Another thing is that, like it or not, you have to cut down on alcohol consumption! It piles on unnecessary calories. Drink the best wine but…less often!”
 
Raphaël Gagné agrees. “I’ll allow myself a few beers or glasses of wine, but when a race is coming up, I stick to non-alcoholic beverages. I recently discovered maple water and it’s a great replacement drink for a night out!”
 
 
Menu of the Day…according to Ariane!
 
Proteins: Make sure that every meal and snack includes food items rich in protein (low-fat dairy products, soy products, lean meat, eggs, fish, and legumes). They take longer to digest so they sate your hunger. Be cautious with nuts and cheeses because their fat content can quickly increase the calories you consume.
 
Fibres: Large amounts of fibre-rich foods also increase digestion time so you feel full longer. Vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruits will meet your daily requirements, about 30 grams/day. Vegetables should cover 50% of your plate. It’s a great way to experience life in colour!
 

 



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