Optimal Nutrition Series: 7 Days Before You Ride
Scenario: You have an entire week to prepare for your upcoming ride. You want to bring your “A-game,” and you’re willing to do as much as possible to ensure you’re ready. Come event day you aim to be loaded with the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need to be on top of your game and win the event.
Having a whole week to prepare yourself gives you plenty of time to take some extra measures that aren’t available at a day-of or even four days before the event.
Nutritional Goals For Your 7 Day Meal Plan
With one week to prepare, you have several different goals to strive for before the day of the event:
- Hydrate your body and build electrolyte levels. Water is the setting where most of your body’s processes take place. You already know you need it on event day, but you also need it way before then so your body can handle the other activities that will prepare you for the event.
- Start preparing your body for the “carb load” period. Your carb load period will officially start around the third day of the one-week period. This ramp in both carbs and fat will make sure you have sufficient energy stores. But you also want to start the increase a few days before the actual loading period.
- Build up your body’s vitamin and mineral stores. Vitamins and minerals are vital to energy production, brain function, and overall endurance. The sooner you start taking these, the better.
- Avoid energy drainers. If you want to build your energy stores, you need to avoid those things that will drain these stores. The biggest culprits are highly processed foods and soda drinks, and alcohol.
- Balance and maintain insulin. When blood sugar spikes it can have detrimental effects on motocross riders. Blood sugar affects not only energy production but mental awareness, too.
- Keep free radicals in check. Free radicals can cause long-term damage to your body if not kept in check. And exhaustive exercise (such as riding a dirt bike) can increase the production of them. Antioxidants will be key in keeping free radicals at bay.
How to Achieve These Goals
- Drink 2-3 liters of water per day. Water is the key to both hydration and normal body function. If you want to maximize your nutrient absorption, make sure you drink plenty of water each day – at least 8-10 glasses.
- Drink sports drinks for electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential for heart, muscle, and nerve functions, and they also help keep fluid levels balanced throughout the body. Drinking 1-2 sports drinks a day, especially after physical activity, will help insure your electrolytes remain at a consistent level.
- Adopt a higher carb diet. While you’re not at the carb load period yet (see 4 Days Before), you still want to start consuming more carbs and healthy fats. 40-50% carbs, 20-30% fats, and 20-30% protein are solid daily percentages to shoot for.
- Take a multivitamin. Multivitamins provide you with almost all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally in a single pill. It’s best to take these every day. If you don’t already, now is a good time to start.
- Avoid processed foods. Cakes, cookies, chips, and crackers are out. These are empty calories and do nothing for building your body’s energy stores. Instead, they deplete those stores.
- Maintain a consistent and frequent meal plan. Eating around the same time and the same number of meals each day have been found to help balance your blood sugar levels and requires less energy to digest.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are the key to blocking free radicals in your body. With the event, you’re sure to exhaust yourself one the track. Fruits and vegetables will fuel your body with the antioxidants it needs to fend off those harmful free radicals.
Sample Meal Plan (for Days 7, 6, and 5)
For the first couple of days, your daily calorie intake should be around the following percentages: 45% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 30% protein.
Breakfast – (8 A.M.):
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- Egg white omelet (w/ vegetables)
Snack – (10 A.M.):
- Turkey bagel sandwich (on whole wheat bagel) w/Feta cheese
Lunch – (12 P.M.):
- 6 oz. top sirloin steak
- A half cup of brown rice
Snack – (3 P.M.):
- Cup of Greek yogurt
- Fruit of choice
Dinner – (5 P.M.):
- One whole chicken breast
- A half cup of brown rice
- Mixed vegetables
Snack – (7 P.M.):
- Carrot and celery sticks
- A handful of nuts or seeds
* Once you’ve completed the first three days, follow the directions in the 4 Days Before Meal Plan.
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