Fueling is a critical process when participating in endurance sports. Your body only has so much energy stored and not refilling those used stores can mean poor performance or “hitting the wall.”
As my spring marathon is quickly approaching my focus is beginning to shift towards training for my summer challenge of GranFondo Niagara Falls. This ride will be 125km and by far the longest ride of my life (to date). One thing that I do look forward to doing is transferring my knowledge from this spring’s running goals of fueling clean to my riding and seeing how that impacts my performance…it should transfer without a hitch!
With the goal of using clean fuel – healthy and natural – I found myself training with Vega (this recommendation came from a variety of credible sources – nutritionists and run coaches, and I was happy to test them out). Vega states that when endurance training, “your primary endurance fuel should be based on clean burning, simple carbohydrates, weighted more heavily on glucose than sucrose or fructose.” They identify that using “high quality raw fat, like coconut oil (processed as pure energy in your liver), can help your body burn fat more effectively” And that small amounts of “protein can extend the burning time of carbs.” This is the recipe that they transfer to their Sport Performance System, of which pieces I have been training with and will highlight below.
I know from running that it is vital to provide yourself with pre-workout fuel in order to get your energy stores up to high functioning order. Fueling with the right products can provide the body with both immediate and sustained energy as well as help to increase endurance, and both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. For this season my clean fuel of choice has been the Vega Pre-Workout Energizer (lemon-lime flavour). The powdered drink is easy to mix and I like being able to control my level of powder to water. While I’m gathering my gear I slowly sip on about half a bottles worth, being sure to finish drinking at least an hour before I head out. Because the product is natural it doesn’t always dissolve, so expect some little pieces left in the bottom.
While fueling during a ride you’re looking for something to provide instant and sustained energy. Hydration is key, and something that works to replenish needed electrolytes and minerals storage is a must. My bottle is filled with Vega Pom-Berry Electrolyte Hydrator. It’s zero calories (not that that really matters when out for a long haul), but it also tastes great, and being natural is VERY easy on your stomach – actually all Vega products are (which is why I started using them!). I also fuel with the Vega Acai-Berry Endurance Bar. I have NEVER enjoyed eating any sort of bars before Vega products, but like that they are packed with everything you need in a small bar – small is key – remember I didn’t like bars! The Vega Sport Endurance Bar contains what Vega call “an ideal combination” of complex carbohydrates and protein to give longer-burning energy. It’s the perfect blend, perfect size and easy to transport on long efforts.
Confession: I never really used to fuel post effort (insert gasp of horror). I’d go to brunch and try to eat some protein with my giant stack of pancakes, or I’d go home and sleep, and that was about all I did to prepare for my next effort. As it turns out, leaving a meal up to chance doesn’t really help to replenish your system, repair muscle tissue, and reduce inflammation. So enter the Vega Sport Protein Bar (chocolate coconut flavor). This bar, and remember I hated bars, is the perfect post run tie over until you can have a quality meal. It’s 15g of protein in a tiny bar (I’m talking maybe 10 bites). What I love is that it is easy to handle post effort – no blending or mixing, it tastes great, and it’s covered in a dark chocolate coating!
These are the products that work for me based on my tastes and very picky eating habits. Vega does have a guide to support which fuel is right for you – it can be viewed here!
Any fueling tips you’d like to share? What products do you use for the long haul?