Giro d’Italia: all crazy about the bike. But on two wheels better to take care of the power supply

Giro d’Italia: all crazy about the bike. But on two wheels better to take care of the power supply

With the arrival of the beautiful season here comes the desire to go out in the open air and, perhaps, devote himself to some pedaling for leisure or keep fit, or even dispose of a few extra pounds in view of the trial costume. All the tips to get the most out of it


These days it is always easier to meet rows of people, of all ages, busy pedaling on the sides of the roadway, on bike paths and in parks. It is the bike-mania that catches on time to the appointment with the summer season, also thanks to the Giro d’Italia, and that pushes to go out to enjoy a little ‘air and, perhaps, dispose even those chiletti too accumulated during the’ winter, and in view of the costume test now at the door. But, to get the maximum benefits at all levels, it is good to follow some precautions.

FIRST, DO NOT FAIL – Pedal mania can affect everyone, but especially when it is not about competitive spirit, it can not be done in the right way. In this case, it could also cause more harm than good. In order not to make mistakes we can make our advice from an expert like dr. Carlo Guardascione, sports doctor , health manager of the “Lampre-Merida” cycling team, taking part in the Giro d’Italia from the 9th to the 31st of May 2015. Dott. Guardascione has followed cycling professionals since 1989, and takes care of their health and nutrition in view of important competitions: Cipollini, Savoldelli, Cunego, Simoni, have won along with him. He was also a doctor of the National Cycling Team.

FUNDAMENTAL IS THE FOOD – Training aside, to try on two wheels, even for pleasure, fundamental is the power supply. As a former cyclist, Guardascione has seen changes in the methods and timing of feeding the cycling champions in a quarter of a century. «Today – he explains – we have taken giant steps in terms of nutrition and supplementation. If I think back to when, at 15, I had breakfast, at 5:30 in the morning, with white rice and grilled steak to “prepare” the morning training … a radical change! Thanks to the research in the nutritional field made by those companies that first understood how important it was to understand the effect of nutrients and the correct timing of absorption and metabolization, the evolution was sudden ».

QUESTION OF ELEMENTS – “Today, for example, we know that to replenish glycogen, source of energy during competitions, it is important the meal of the night before, not that done in the three hours before the race – emphasizes Guardascione – And we gladly gave up “8 hard boiled eggs in the race” … For professional sportsmen, but also for all those who practice a sport regularly but in a non-professional way, food should always be based on two key principles: balance and variety». According to the expert must therefore never miss any type of nutrient in a DOC diet: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, mineral salts, they are all very important and must be measured according to the objectives that are set and the physical form of those who do sports … Even supplements are important because, as Guardascione specifies, “in cycling you can not win a race by focusing only on supplements. But you can lose it if you do not integrate correctly and at the right time ».

ONE FOR ONE – Each nutritional element has its function, and it is important not to neglect any. «Athletes who are dedicated to endurance sports: athletics, cycling, cross-country skiing … during the preparation phase, which for the cycling champions coincides with winter, will have to focus on a diet that favors the intake of protein, for the anabolic construction of the muscles – specifies the expert – In times of competitions, instead, better focus on carbohydrates but, as we know today, we must prefer carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, to avoid the risk, two hours from the meal, the rebound effect, which leads the athlete to be deficient again, and to be hungry, perhaps at a time when maximum energy is required instead. Low glycemic index carbohydrates allowavoid the peak of blood sugar because they allow a more efficient storage of glycogen, the true “petrol” of those who play sports “. Rules that apply to all those who move little in winter and, in spring, come out of the “hibernation” … risk overdoing it.

INTEGRATE – Even supplements can help, especially when sweats and precious minerals are lost. Among the many supplements Guardascione advises: «To all mineral salts (as for example” Hydrafit “of NamedSport) if in summer, sweating, we lose many liquids. Iron especially for women, and for professional athletes protein supplements for muscle mass, with proteins isolated from whey or soya, of the highest quality and created for better assimilation. But also Omega-3 to control oxidative stressthat in athletes is maximum and they also do very well to those who are not professional, and so also alkalizing minerals to be taken before sleep to better dispose of acidic waste from over-training. My athletes use NamedSport products, which come from the natural integration sector, so they work well and do not hurt. ”

SOME FOOD RULES – Physical activity must however be supported by proper nutrition. Here are the advice with the “diet-type” suggested by dr. Guardascione for those who do sports regularly. It is however important to keep in mind that, for those who prefer endurance, a balanced weight / power ratio (W / Kg) is important. So those who are overweight will have to increase the protein intake to lose weight, promoting the development of muscle mass compared to adipose mass – also because cyclists, runners, runners are completely different from a footballer.

Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, for everyone. An athlete consumes approximately 2 g of protein per kg of body weight (proteins contained for example in milk but also, if desired, in a ricotta, an omelet with ham, bresaola …), combined with complex carbohydrates such as slices of toasted whole wheat bread (for better absorption of starches better to toast bread), or whole grains without added sugar. All accompanied by green tea, antioxidant par excellence, and fructose, to be preferred to white sugar and honey because less calories.

In the middle of the morning. A snack, consisting of a fruit and a protein bar (non-energy: remember that they are different and have different functions …). There are some, on the market, very valid as Proteinbar by Namedsport (official supplier of superfoods and supplements for Lampre-Merida) have 35% protein, a correct carbohydrate intake and are low in fat. It is important to underline that 1 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of proteins correspond to 3 kCalorie; to 1 g of fat they correspond exactly three times. So it is better not to overdo it with fats.

Lunch. A meal that, due to training needs, must be light. Better to choose the complete single dish: excellent in this sense a salad of rice or pasta, with vegetable proteins – the best ever – from peas, and animal proteins from cooked ham, boiled egg. Alternatively, a handful of rice seasoned with vegetables and a small chicken breast or other white meat.

In the middle of the afternoon. A classic snack: five o’clock tea with 5 dry biscuits, or a yogurt with cereals or seasonal fruit. The fruit, let’s remember it, always outside the main meals.

Dinner. After a couple of hours of training, certainly carbohydrates like pasta or rice, seasoned with vegetable sauces. And as a second course, 5 alternatives to rotate to cover the whole week: white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit); fish (grilled white); red meat (steak or liver – rich in iron); eggs (up to two); cold cuts and cheese (bresaola, ricotta …). All accompanied by a side dish of seasonal vegetables, which should never be missing on anyone’s table. But if you skip your workout, you will have to give up carbohydrates, limiting ourselves to the only side dish.
Finally, it is necessary to always drink a lot , especially water and, if necessary, post-workout isotonic drinks.

In short, the advice “from champions” is that of a varied, complete diet, in which it will be important to take into account the training load, the type of sport and the objectives to be achieved on a physical level , also helped and in some cases by a correct integration. Word of ex-runner who, by his own admission: “if he was born twenty years later he would have succeeded, thanks to current knowledge in diet and sports, to become a professional cyclist. Even if they were really good, they became nonetheless, in spite of the false food myths that, at the time, complicated our life ».