In a previous article we spoke about the importance of the hydration in a long ocean race but in this article Tana talks us through the benefits of snacking and eating “good” carbs.
Firstly, what are “good carbs?”
A simple Google search will tell you that carbohydrates are pretty much in everything we eat but there are good carbs and not so good carbs. Good carbs are simply carbs from fruits, wholegrains, seeds which provide a sustained energy release rather than a quick sugar fix which give you a high and a low.
In an ocean racing scenario you’re looking at sustained energy to keep you focused for longer and push through those long stints on the rail. The key to this sustained energy there are are two factors, constant snacking and eating the right carbohydrates.
Why snacking? Well, a big issue with ocean racing is that you are always busy and sometimes eating can be pushed down the priority list. By doing this your body starts to crave really energy rich foods to replenish the energy lost from the lack of eating. You may already know that after a long ocean race with no food you come back to shore with a craving to head down to the local burger shop.
Eating big meals takes up a lot of energy to digest giving you less energy to perform. It’s best to try and avoid this by grazing throughout the race. Keep snacks in your jacket pockets and skippers can constantly remind their team to graze to help keep up the energy levels.
Fact: Sumo wrestlers tend to eat 2 meals a day. One lunch and one dinner and skip breakfast. They eat till they feel sick then nap to ensure they don’t “burn” too much of what they ate.
What makes a carb good? To avoid the scientific jargon, a good carb is simply a carb which takes longer to breakdown therefore providing a sustained energy release. Getting these good carbs into a snack can be difficult, especially with suspicions around having bananas at sea!
Luckily, with the increase of healthy eating options on the market there are plenty of options to take with you. Below is a little list of ideas;
· Nut bars with minimal fruit and added sugar, the All Natural range or Carmen’s are good products
· Brown rice puffs
· Natural yogurt in ready to go packets
· Wholegrains & Quinoa
· Air popped popcorn
The list can go on but a simple good search or a trip to the health food shop would help with more ideas.
Fact: Bananas made a name for themselves as a sailor’s no-no during the 17th century when voyages would pack their fruits and vegetables the pectin released from the banana skin would over-ripen all the other fruits and veggies and spoiling the crew’s food. From there bananas were never seen on a ship.
So, in short, to sustain good energy levels while sitting on the rail you’ll need to keep hydrated and keep grazing on healthy snacks and avoid sugary drinks and coffee.