Lets talk body Fuelling – The importance of good nutrition

You need to start your training with a full glycogen (carbohydrate) store, so eating a carbohydrate rich meal the night before is advised. Sweet potato has a number of health and energy benefits over alternative carbohydrates. You also have the option of more processed carbs such a pasta and rice, which personally I steer away from as they are further from their natural state, so generally not as easily digested or processed by the body. However, if you do go for pasta or rice go for the healthier ‘brown’ option as white rice has had all the fibre, vitamin and other nutrients removed. It’s also important to make sure you are eating enough when training for endurance sports as you are burning energy (calories at a rapid rate).

Potato – But which should we go for? White V’s Sweet

White potato is the most widely consumed potato in the UK and offers plenty of goodness, however the sweet potato have been shining through a little more over the past few years, why?

White Potato (100g) Sweet Potato (100g)
Calories 93 90
Carbohydrates (g) 21 21
Fibre (g) 2 3
Sugar (g) 1 6
Protein (g) 3 2
Calcium (mg) 12 38
Magnesium (mg) 28 27
Potassium (mg) 535 475
Vitamin A 10mg 384% of your Vit A requirements!
Glycemic Index 82 70

White Potato:-

  • A healthy dose of carbohydrate without too much sugar

  • Fairly high glycemic index of 82, which creates a quick burst of energy that might not last as long as other foods

  • 3g protein, helps restore muscles after exercise

  • 6mg of Vitamin C, which supports your immune system

  • 535mg of potassium, a vital electrolyte which can fight fatigue and muscle tiredness

    (The importance of Electrolytes during endurance sports will be covered in more detail in my later blogs)

  • 28mg of magnesium, helps your body maintain a health blood pressure.

  • 28mg of magnesium, helps your body maintain a health blood pressure.

Sweet Potato:-

  • A rather competitive contester!

  • Lower glycemic index at 70, keeping you fuller for longer than the white version

  • 38mg of calcium – great for maintaining bone health

  • Provides 384% of your vitamin A requirement in 100g – HUGE BONUS! which aids growth, development and maintains the immune system.

So both potatoes offer good supplies of vitamins and minerals in different doses. However, sweet potato does have a lower glycemic index so may leave you feeling fuller for longer and help maintain constant blood sugar levels. Your best bet may be to alternate your potatoes.

Brown Rice:-

One cup of brown rice has 45 grams of carbohydrate. Cereal grains such a brown rice are among the richest sources of carbohydrate. Whole grains such as brown rice are considered healthier than refined grains such as white rice because they contain more fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are also absorbed more slowly (their glycemic index is lower), so they provide more lasting energy and promote less fat storage.

Pre-Ride Breakfast:-

Before a morning ride I tend to get up 90minutes before we set off to eat a bowl of porridge with chia seeds, nuts and some berries. This is my breakfast of choice because it is a slow release breakfast providing a longer lasting fuel and it’s low in ‘bad fat’ which can slow absorption on the ride. So a full English breakfast isn’t a good choice! You can learn more about good and bad fats here.

Berries:-

Strawberries, blueberries and other berries are among the most nutritious sources of carbohydrate. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that promote health and performance. Berries are not the most concentrated sources of carbs so don’t rely solely on them to get you through a long ride, however (a full cup of strawberries contains just 12grams).

The plan is to maintain good carbohydrate stores, if you use all your carb store up your performance will crash. The more you eat while you ride the less of your stores you use.

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