Deceuninck – Quick-Step nutritionist Marije Jongedijk has some valuable tips for the winter time.
- Do we burn more energy when it’s colder outside?
Yes, this is actually true! In the winter, when the outside temperature is lower, the body uses 10-15% more energy to keep warm. Of course, this difference can easily be compensated for by wearing an extra layer of clothing, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should eat two extra donuts a day! The decrease in body temperature does cause a higher appetite though, but you should keep in mind your energy balance – during winter the training load is often much lower than in the summer competition periods, which results in a lower total energy expenditure.
Sometimes, a little extra is no problem at all, but just think of the long-term goal when you feel like wanting extra’s and don’t do it every single day! A little more fat mass (1-2 kg) during wintertime is no problem to help the body in colder times, but don’t let all go completely!
What can be more important is your intake during outdoor training in the winter, with the extra use of energy (10-15%), an important point to consider. The higher energy expenditure means a higher use of muscle and liver glycogen, so the right carbohydrate intake is very important. When training lasts longer than 90 minutes of moderate to intense effort, you should try to take 60-90 g carbohydrates/hour. This can be done by consuming a combination of 6D Energy Sports Drink/ 6D Isotonic drink and 6D Energy Cake or Isogels.
- Don’t forget to drink enough!
During cooler conditions many forget the need to hydrate properly when riding, but only a 2% drop in hydration can already cause an impair of a rider’s performance. Due to the cold and dry air during winter we sweat less but the body will still lose a lot of water during exercise, so an adequate fluid intake of 500-750 ml every hour of training is a good guideline to follow-up!
When riding for more than 90 minutes, you will also need a carbohydrate source, so 6D Isotonic Sports Drink is a good choice! The carbs and sodium in the Sports Drink, it won’t freeze but if something even warmer is required, some warm tea with honey and salt can be very nice on cold days – the use of a termobidon is also a good idea! If the outside temperature around freezing point, it is better to choose a hypertonic drink such as 6D Energy Sports Drink.
After training like this, the right nutrition is needed to help the body to recover properly. Your muscles will need some protein and carbs for an optimal recovery. On cold days a hot, chocolate milk or a warm porridge meal would be warming and nutritious.
- Winter = Preparation time!
The winter is for a lot of athletes the time to build up the basics for the upcoming season! It’s the time to analyse the body composition and set up new goals! It is a chance to experiment with new strategies. For example, you can try out new types of 6D energy bars/gels or drinks during training, so that you know which nutrition strategy and products fits you best!
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel