Rio 2016

On the Road to Rio with Maple Products from Québec

Maple Products from Québec once again affirm their support for the development of cyclists, at all levels and in all disciplines, by launching its On the Road to Rio with Maple Products from Québec program.

Two cyclists among Québec’s medal hopefuls at the Rio Olympic Games will enjoy the support of this program. As the benefits of maple to athletic performance are now well known, athletes will receive nutritional guidance from a member of the sports nutrition team at Vivaï, as well as maple products to incorporate into their diets.

During the following months, we will follow Karol-Ann and Raphaël as they will be training for the Rio Olympic Games which will be held from August 5 to 21, 2016. Check back soon for news about their preparations!

Let’s wish them excellent performances fuelled by Québec maple. We invite you to encourage our athletes by following them on Twitter!

Karol-Ann Canuel

Get to know…

Karol-Ann Canuel

Karol-Ann Canuel has just started the season as a member of the professional Dutch team Boels-Dolmans. The world team time trial champion talks to us about maple.

How has this Olympic year been going so far?
I’m so excited to be a part of this new group of cyclists. I’ll be spending a lot of time in Europe this year, getting into a lot of international races. I’m also going to Rio in March to get to know the Olympic course. The 2016 season is going to be all about the Games and that’s one of my major goals. 

How will Maple Products from Québec help you?
I’m really happy to be involved with Maple Products from Québec. It’s a great product from home and I’m proud to share it with my teammates from all over the world. Québec maple products are part of my daily diet…at breakfast before training or to give me energy during training sessions. And I use maple products as snacks while I’m actually on the bike. 

How are you actually getting maple products into your diet?
I love maple syrup on my yogurt and fresh fruit. And I’m getting maple products into my recipes too.

Are you going to get a chance to use a product that you haven’t tried before?
Yes, I haven’t ever had maple water or maple sugar. I’m looking forward to trying new recipes with those! 

Have you tried any new recipes with maple? 
Yes, I’ve found lots of recipes on I want to try them all! I think maple granola is my favourite. I like to stick to a routine when it comes to food and I always start my day with granola. It’s super easy to make and gives me lots of energy for training! 

With all your travelling in Europe, are you going to find room for Maple Products from Québec in your suitcase?
Definitely! Maple’s a big part of my everyday diet now! 


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.” 

Raphaël Gagné

Get to know…

Raphaël Gagné

Named Canadian Cyclist of the Year for 2015 by Canadian Cyclist and Pedal, Raphaël Gagné joined the Cannondale team at the start of this Olympic year. He shares his love for maple with us.

2015 was a great year for you. How do you think Maple Products from Québec can help you stay on the winning track in 2016?
Well, with maple products, I feel like I’m at home even when I’m far from home. Maple syrup is especially good. It’s comforting and great to share. There’s nothing like sharing a good breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup with my teammates … they’re my second family when I’m on the road and that’s more than half the year! 

You were already a maple products fan. What products in particular do you like to use in the kitchen, and in your sport? 
I love maple syrup on my pancakes in the morning or in a smoothie before or after training. My favourite dessert is maple-apple crisp. In cycling, whether training or in competition, I always like to use the well-known sport drinks to satisfy my needs for electrolytes and sugars. A healthier alternative to brown sugar is maple syrup or maple sugar. Like, I’ll mix 40 ml of maple syrup with 500 ml of water, add a pinch of salt, and I have a tasty and healthy sport drink. 

Are you going to try something you haven’t tried before?
Yeah, maple water was a big surprise! It tastes great… Maple water’s isn’t very sweet and it’s refreshing. It makes you want to drink. 

So, travelling all around the world, are you going to find a place for Maple Products from Québec in your suitcase?
That’s what I’ve been doing for a decade now, right from my very first international trips. It seems to be doing a good job for me! And just recently, I had maple syrup in my bag at the first training camp in Guatemala back in December and at the second camp in Los Angeles at the beginning of January. 

Raphaël Gagné’s Breakfast:
Oatmeal with mango and a latte, all sprinkled with granulated maple sugar. A tasty and healthy way to lightly sweeten your meal.


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!