Our nutritionist Ariane Lavigne is a former member of the national snowboard team. In her career, she has often been asked : what is best to eat and drink before, during and after a snowboard competition?
For this discipline, alpine snowboarding, it is a sport where you must above all be agile and powerful to generate speed in the turns and to adjust quickly according to the snow conditions, the track and the course which are never the same. You also have to be tough because the day is long: 2 timed qualifying runs in the morning to define the top 16 which will continue in the finals in the afternoon, with 4 rounds of duels by eliminations. If athletes get to the end, they do 10 races of +/- 45 seconds.
In a winter sport of this kind, which involves intervals, you must therefore focus on 3 aspects:
1.Especially carbohydrates …
Being the preferred source of energy for the brain and working muscles, they help maintain maximum concentration and maintain a good level of energy during the descents. Plus, carbohydrates are easy to absorb and digest, which usually doesn’t cause discomfort during exercise.
2.A little protein …
Since the race consists of several descents over several hours, a moderate and fractional protein intake throughout the day is necessary to avoid feeling hungry and to minimize muscle catabolism (use and breakdown of muscle protein) and help with recovery process after running (repairing damaged muscle fibers).
Even though we sweat little and feel less thirsty in winter, there is still water loss due to breathing, and more in dry, cold weather and at altitude. Liquids are the allies for good blood circulation by ensuring the transport of nutrients to the muscles and playing a major role in thermoregulation (heat production). Hot liquids are a priority in cold weather.
Example of food in snowboard competition:
- Coffee with milk or hot chocolate
-Contains mostly carbohydrates (60-75 grams), some protein (15-20 grams) and little fat (less than 10 grams).
-Caffeine is optional, but it could improve performance by acting on the central nervous system.
In the backpack on the mountain:
- Bottle of water
- Energy drink bottle with carbohydrates and electrolytes
- Thermos of hot tea
- Granola or fruit bars (which stay soft even in cold weather!)
-Provide around 30g of carbohydrates, 5g of protein and 500ml of fluid per hour of competition.
-If you have enough time for a break indoors, go for a hot chocolate!
-At lunchtime, choose a soup (pasta, vegetables, legumes or chicken) or a turkey sandwich / wrap with raw vegetables and fresh fruit. Avoid fats and spicy foods that interfere with digestion.
As soon as the race ends:
Chocolate milk or smoothie with fruit and milk or protein bar.
-The post-competition snack will be planned in advance and taken as soon as possible (less than 30 minutes after the race) to maximize the recovery process.
-This snack provides at least: 10g of protein, 30g of carbohydrates and 500ml of liquid.
Finally, find the magic formula that works for YOU, as the ideas suggested above are just a few of an endless possibility of tips for providing energy on the mountain!
Burke L. Nutrition for winter sports. In Practical Sports Nutrition. Champaing, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2007, chapter 14.