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Food for Riding

Food for Riding

Words: #CountryCyclist Ian Macleod

I’ve been banned from cooking in two households. One case involved an unfortunate combination of sleep, pasta and fire. The other is believed to be the first ever cooking ban in a university house occupied by four blokes who would eat almost anything.

That introduces the problem: cooking and eating well enough to power my training efforts for the joBerg2C. Fortunately, neither of my aforementioned bans happened in the last five years, and I’ve developed a more mature approach to the kitchen since then. I’m far from an expert, but I am keen to learn.

Dietitian Debbi Nathan has vast experience helping Cycle Lab clients with eating plans for all sorts of races and expeditions.

I also have some serious help in my corner. Cycle Lab‘s resident dietitian, Debbi Nathan, has developed an eating plan to match the training regime Kim Rose-Gershow from FitTrack has given me (more on this later in the week). Also in my corner are our friends from Food & Home Entertaining magazine. They work their magic two floors above us at Caxton House, and have kindly succumbed to my pleas for assistance. They’ll be puzzling over the options below to conjure up some tasty dishes that fit Debbi’s requirements and my… shall we say sprouting culinary skills.

Here’s the basic menu Debbi recommends:

“Your protein intake is not high enough for your recovery, and your daily nutrient intake could also be optimised. This nutrition plan is designed to enhance your energy levels, optimise your intake of nutrients and flavonoids, and, ultimately, increase your endurance and speed up recovery.

Here are some suggestions:



Future Life


You need to drink water during every workout, but I also want you to have Sponser Isotonic mixed with water to keep energy levels up. Use this whenever riding or training.


How well you recover today determines how well you train /race tomorrow.

Have your Sponser Pro Recovery Drink within 30 minutes of finishing all workouts. This will ensure that you have a full load of stored muscle glycogen on board for the next day’s ride. The whey protein and amino acids start the all- important job of muscle repair and recovery.

Believe it or not, chocolate milk, like the Steri Stumpie you get at the shops, is also a great recovery drink.

Peanut butter and apples is a surprisingly tasty and very easy ‘al desko’ snack.


This can be eaten before work, on-the-go or once you get to work.

1 apple, sliced with peanut butter – try to find sugar-free peanut butter. Add a handful of goji berries (available at DisChem and health shops).

Or a Woolworths egg mayonnaise sandwich.
Or biltong.
Or Future Life.
Or Sponser Protein (cappuccino flavour) with a banana or a handful of unsalted walnuts or almonds.

I look forward to my evening salad… rocket excluded.


A Woolworths egg mayonnaise sandwich.

Or Woolworths salad leaves (baby spinach, rocket and watercress), add avocado, olives, feta cheese, tomato, beetroot. Add a tin of tuna or low fat cottage cheese or chicken pieces. Add flavour with cold-pressed olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

There is a lot of emphasis on baby spinach, rocket and beetroot. These vegetables all contain nitrates, which have been shown to help with raising blood volume levels and in time will assist with your vo2 max output. This means you’ll use oxygen more efficiently – get more power output from less, so eats those greens and reds!


This meal/snack is interchangeable with the mid- morning snack. The closer to your afternoon training ride, the smaller and simpler the snack should be.


Nando’s grilled chicken with Nando’s spinach and corn.

Or scrambled eggs (3 whole eggs) with a slice of toast and some grilled tomato.

Or steak with broccoli.

Broccoli is an essential veggie to enhance your general health and improve energy levels. The simplest way to prepare is simply to place the broccoli in a bowl of boiled water. Cover with a plate and leave to blanche for about 2 minutes. Pour off the water and eat. It might not be tasty, but it’s important fuel for the body at the end of a hard day.

I’m not one for powdered supplements in big tubs decorated by flames. But this is different. The Swiss manufacturers of Sponser have applied their watch-making ethic to this product.


1 serving of Sponser Protein with water.

Take astaxanthin, 1 capsule in the morning and 1 capsule at bed time. This is an antioxidant available from chemists. If you can’t get astaxanthin on its own, ask for krill oil.

Please come back for another assessment in 2 weeks. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any queries.

Best wishes for the journey ahead!”

Many thanks to Debbi for her enthusiastic and expert advice.

The first mission for Food & Home's foodies is a broccoli recipe that doesn't taste like the greenery I too often swallow during an off-road fall.
The first mission for Food & Home’s foodies is a broccoli recipe that doesn’t taste like the greenery I too often swallow during an off-road fall.

The post Food for Riding appeared first on #CountryRunner.

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