In our first interview with Science in Sport Performance Solutions and INEOS Grenadiers’ Performance Nutritionist, Ainhoa Prieto, the focus is rest and recovery.
Read on to find out what all-important rest days during the Giro look like for both riders and staff.
Ainhoa, before we get into the details, what are the main priorities for you and the riders on a rest day?
Riders to recover both physically and mentally after a block of race days, which in the Giro won’t happen until after the first 10 stages. Physiologically, it’s a chance for the muscles and other tissues to recover, adapt and repair from the intense stimuli of exercise and high workload. For the staff, rest days are still very busy as we need to prepare all the material and plans for the upcoming days.
So what does a typical rest day look like for a Grenadiers rider? What time do they wake up, what do they have for breakfast, how far and how fast will they ride, what do they do in the afternoons?
It’s an easier day for the riders, waking up a bit later than usual and not rushing that much in the morning as there’s no need to move hotels that day. So they can enjoy their breakfast, and for them it also feels good not having to eat a big plate of rice at 8am for one day!
After breakfast riders will go for an easy ride of around 1.5 hours to spin the legs and recover from a hard and long block of consecutive stages. When they come back to the hotel they will have a shower and go straight for lunch.
During the afternoon they will have massages and treatments, they have more time to call their families and friends and also to have a nap if they feel like it.
Then dinner time and fuelling starts again preparing for the next day.
How does rest day food and drink intake differ from that of a racing day? (Calories, mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats etc.)
On rest days calorie intake should be lower due to less energy demands for that day comparing to a race day. Carbohydrates will be the main energy source but will be more limited to induce that calorie reduction. Instead, soups, salads and vegetables will be increased on the buffet table to help with satiety and provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre with less calories. However, there will be some riders that still need to limit their intake of fibre that day when following a ‘low residue’ approach for the upcoming days.
Can we assume that each rider has their own rest day nutrition plan?
The food provided is the same for all riders as it’s an open buffet but each rider will have their own individual nutrition plan based on their individual needs, likes and preferences.
Which SiS products are most popular on a rest day?
What’s a rest day like for a nutritionist? What do you get up to?
It’s a good day to organize and plan the next days of racing like creating and agreeing the menus with the chefs, nutritionally analysing the recipes to create the daily menus and individual plans for the riders, organizing and helping out the carers with the preparation of bidons and rice cakes and checking stocks of products.
With the riders there’s a chance to do body composition assessments using skinfolds and discussing goals with them for the next days in terms of weight, fuelling, recovery, GI issues and so on. With the DSs also more time to get the plans of the feedzone and extra feeds for the next stages, get more insights from the riders’ performances and the racing plans for the next days.
Ainhoa, thank-you for your time, that was incredibly insightful. Explore the favourite SiS nutrition products of the world’s best cycling team here.