After spending 2 days playing a roller derby tournament in the U.S., I came to reflect on this topic quite a bit. The biggest problem I had was finding enough quality food to eat to fuel my activity. Roller derby can burn up to 1500 calories per hour. I figure I burned 1000 calories day one and 300-400 day 2 (I spent half the last game on the bench with a groin injury).
The hotel had the usual free breakfast: powdered eggs, white bread, pastries, sugary cereal, yogurt. I didn't have a problem with the breakfast options, but what about lunch, snacks and dinner? Our first game was at noon, so we ended up at a Japanese steakhouse/sushi bar for a team dinner. Our 2nd game was scheduled for 8 pm. I knew eating a steak was the wrong choice, and unfortunately, while you might think the veggies were a good choice, it takes a long time to digest vegetables, so sadly those were out. I chose sashimi and a bowl of white rice. My biggest mistake was the soy sauce. I was most likely on the edge of dehydration from game 1 and the soy sauce defiantly exacerbated the dehydration. While the white rice was a good choice as it has low fibre and is easily digested, I ate too much of it. The end result prior to game 2 was not so good. I was sluggish, tired and my gut hurt. I didn't play that well, in fact the entire team felt the same. We were tired from not sleeping well the night before, the long drive and the lack of quality food and choices.
A lot of us brought food but it's not the same. The best choice for us would have been a small plate of pasta and a good quality tomato sauce. The pasta is easily digestible, and the tomato sauce is low in fat and because the sauce is puréed, easily digestible. Both the pasta and tomato sauce contain carbohydrates for fuel and the tomato sauce has some vitamins and minerals.
The large portions you typically get at a restaurant are sometimes over the top. I would have been better off eating half the food I ordered, and instead paired it with a protein shake after game 1 and a banana before game 2.
Every time I go to the gym, play derby or go for a long dirt bike day, I ask myself “what snacks do I need” and “what am I currently eating and how will it effect my performance?”
There are so many diets out there that promise weight loss and other “results” if you eliminate one food group or another. The reality is you need to think of food as fuel for the adventure. You need to think: “What type of food do I need to have the energy I need to perform?”
With all the confusion around nutrition, FitRiders will be working on a cookbook for riders, with nutrition and calorie content for each meal. In addition, it will take the mystery out of what to eat, when to eat and what activity will benefit from different food types. The right food choice makes a difference. Even with the help of a nutritionist I have got it wrong on many occasions. Through trial and error, I have found what works for me. I can't wait to share my recipes for success and hope anyone who is interested in feeling better will use my experiences to help themselves. So, stay tuned sports fans for more nutritional information and the odd recipe here.
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.