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Coach Charlie Livermore: Nutrition and Hydration for ESR Training

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all ESR riders and joins us on the road each July to ride 500+ miles.

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Coach Charlie Livermore on Nutrition and Hydration.

The aim of this blog is to give you simple tips you can use to fuel your hydration and nutrition strategy as you train for the 2023 Empire State Ride. 

In my coaching practice, I spend equal amount of time prescribing training and the fueling strategy necessary to complete those workouts and adapt positively. In this era of low carbohydrate diets, getting my athletes to consume enough carbohydrates is a struggle. When they do, the difference in the consistency of their moderate-to-high intensity efforts is astonishing.

Carbohydrate needs may be different at different exercise intensities. When exercise intensity is low and total carbohydrate oxidation rates are low, carbohydrate intake may have to be adjusted downward. With increasing exercise intensity, the active muscle mass becomes more and more dependent on carbohydrates as a source of energy.

Hydration is perhaps even more critical to get right for all workouts. One of my favorite quotes, “Nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated environment,” sums it up well.

Here’s a closer look at both areas:

Hydration.

The weather gets hot in July, and your body’s cooling mechanism is sweat. You must replace both the liquid and the electrolytes that make up your sweat. The less acclimated you are to heat, the more electrolytes you lose through sweat. Here are some tips to keep you well hydrated all week:

  • Drink 1 to 1.5 bottles per hour, depending on the intensity and length of the ride. Use an exercise hydration product that primarily focuses on replenishing electrolytes and carbohydrates.

  • If you have a computer that has an “Alert” feature, program it to remind you to drink every 10-20 minutes. The latest research recommends drinking greater amounts every 20 minutes vs. small sips every 10 minutes. If you choose every 20 minutes, you’ll need to drink a third of your bottle at a time. Either way, you’ll be fine.

  • Drink before and after your ride. Drink 8 ounces of water first thing in the morning and begin hydrating for the next day as soon as you finish you ride. A common practice I use (it’s hot in Florida) is to weigh myself before and after my ride. Then, I hydrate until I recapture my pre-ride weight. If you lost more than 3% of your morning weight, you didn’t drink enough during your ride.

  • If you’re urinating a lot throughout the day and the color is toward the clear side, you may not be absorbing what you’re drinking. Add some electrolytes to help absorption.
Meal #1 of ESR
Meal #1 of ESR

Nutrition.

Now that we’re beginning the level of intensity in training that requires glycolytic energy metabolism, we need to make sure we have the fuel/energy for the work required. For this type of work, carbohydrates will be your primary source of energy — but you also need protein.

 

Click the headings below to learn more:

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates requirements depend on the duration of your workout or ride. For the purposes of this guide: I’m going to break it down to three categories: Short: 45-60 minutes, Medium: 60 minutes to 2 hours and Long: 2+ hours.

Short: 45-60 minutes.

  • Pre-Workout: If you haven’t eaten three hours prior to your workout, consume a Gel 15 minutes prior to the workout.
  • During workout: An electrolyte hydration mix is all you need for this workout. I prefer LMNT or Liquid IV.
  • After workout: Drink 24oz to 32oz of the same low-calorie hydration recommended above, especially if your workout was indoors or in hot weather.

Medium: 60 minutes – 2 hours.

  • Pre-Workout: If you haven’t eaten three hours prior to your workout, consume a sport bar or a PB+J sandwich prior to your workout.
  • During workout: Consume 40g of carbs per hour. Here’s an example:
  • Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + 1x Gels (20g of carbs) = 41g of carbs
  • After workout: Immediately after a medium-intensity workout, drink 24 oz to 32 oz of the same low-calorie hydration such as LMNT or Liquid IV. Within 30–45 minutes, consume a sports recovery shake. I like Skratch Recovery.

Long: 2+ hours.

  • Pre-Workout: If you haven’t eaten three hours prior to your workout, consume a bar or a PB+J sandwich prior to your workout.
  • During workout: Consume 60g of carbs per hour. Here’s an example:
  • Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + 2x Gels (40g of carbs) = 61g of carbs
  • After workout: Immediately after a long workout, drink 24oz to 32oz of the same low-calorie hydration such as LMNT or Liquid IV. Within 30–45 minutes, consume a sports recovery shake like Skratch Recovery.

Current data suggests that dietary protein intake needed to support metabolic adaptation, repair, remodeling, and protein turnover generally ranges from 1.5–2.0 g/kg/d or to make it very simple, 1 gram per pound of body weight. Daily protein intake goals should be met with a meal plan providing a regular spread of moderate amounts of high-quality protein across the day.

Recommendations are currently to consume 25-30g of protein per meal. The key to maximizing muscle protein synthesis is to consume that amount, 4-5 times per day with at least three hours in between each consumption.

Nutrition itself does not make you fitter on the bike. What it does, however, is provide significant contributions to what we are trying to achieve from training.

 

Good luck, 

Coach Charlie

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