In this week’s edition of H&H’s winter training series “The Winning Edge” fitness and nutrition take centre stage. Accredited sports dietician Liz Purcell works with the BEF World Class Programme, Bristol University elite athletes and premiership rugby teams. Here are her top 10 tips on what rider should eat and when.

Nutrition for competition riders

1. Being well hydrated is crucial. Keep drinking throughout the day – at least 2 litres.
2. Have an isotonic sports drink during training if it is high intensity, goes on for longer than 45-60min, or is undertaken in hot weather.
3. Carbohydrates are an integral part of your diet and should be eaten at each meal.
4. Opt for low glycaemic index (GI) carbs at meals, to provide a gradual, sustained release of energy eg wholegrain breads, pasta/noodles, sweet potato.
5. Ensure you have good-quality protein at each meal eg lean meat, chicken, fish, low-fat dairy products, pulses, nuts/seeds.
6. Avoid excess fat. Keep pastries, pies, deep- fried foods and oily dressing to a minimum.
7. Choose a monounsaturated fat, like olive oil, for cooking and use sparingly.
8. Don’t go for long periods without food. Aim for small, frequent meals and snacks.
9. Recovery after training will have a big impact on your performance, so ensure you rehydrate and refuel as soon as possible. Good recovery snacks include isotonic sports drinks, maltloaf, cereal bars, dried fruit and nut mix, bagels or crumpets with low fat
cream cheese, toast with peanut butter.
10. Aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to help meet your quota of micronutrients.

  • For more information on GI foods visit: www.the-gi-diet.org
  • For more information on nutrition contact lizpsport@yahoo.co.uk

For more advice on rider fitness and nutrition, don’t miss today’s Horse & Hound (13 December, ’07)