Tour de Snack Time – A Tale in Epic Eating

Rachel Daily : July 23, 2014 3:58 pm : Blog
You eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. Sure, we all know that. But what about when you’re burning, and burning, and burning, and burning calories all day every day for a solid month? 
The cyclists in the Tour de France have a eating schedule that rivals their rigid riding schedule and consume roughly 9,000 calories each day! This doesn’t mean they’re chowing down on the Doritos though. Food is fuel and when you’re powering yourself down the road for hours for days on end, you need the highest premium fuel you can get. Check out this awesome story by NPR on the eating habits of the Tour’s cyclists. 

Photo: Spain’s Alberto Contador eats a banana in as he rides in the pack during the sixth stage of the Tour de France on July 10, 2014. The cyclists aim to eat up to 350 calories an hour as they ride, and up to 9,000 calories a day.

Laurent Cipriani/AP


The famously grueling cycling race involves about 2,200 miles of furious pedaling, huge mountain climbs and downhill sprints at 50-plus miles per hour. But the Tour de France, now in its final days, is also an epic marathon of eating.

The cyclists now competing in the 101st rendition of the race are burning an average of 700 calories per hour while riding and, to keep their weight up and maintain their health through the three-week event, they must eat 6,000 to 9,000 calories every day.

The almost nonstop eating begins with juice as soon as the athletes wake, according to Nigel Mitchell, head of nutrition for Team Sky. After joining their teammates in the hotel dining room, they devour a massive buffet-style breakfast, heavy on carbs and sugar, and moderate in fiber, which can add unwanted bulk to the cyclists’ bellies.

When they’ve finished this matinal meal, they pile into a bus, and keep eating, taking in hundreds more calories in energy drinks and bars before arriving at the starting line. Once they begin pedaling, team support vehicles shadow the riders, and assistants hand themenergy gel packets, homemade rice cakes and Panini sandwiches.

Still, some of the cyclists actually shed pounds during the Tour.

Keeping up with the energy demands of the race is a balancing act. Mitchell says 350 calories is about as much energy as an athlete can absorb in one hour, and yet the cyclists are burning up to 1,000 calories an hour — as some of them surely did during Tuesday’s arduous 148-mile ride through the Pyrenees. It’s the first of three days in the mountain range and one of the hardest days in the whole race.

“The body uses fat stores while the guys are riding,” Mitchell says.

By the end of the day’s ride, the cyclists have built up a major calorie deficit. Back on the bus, they eat boiled potatoes, rice, canned tuna and capsules of fish oil as they’re driven to the next hotel.

When they arrive, they dig into a 2,000-calorie dinner, always heavy in meat, fish and other sources of protein — important for helping repair and rebuild the athletes’ stressed muscles — followed by a fruit-based dessert. Before bed, the cyclists eat a bowl of cereal or yogurt. A few hours sleep is the only break they get from this demanding schedule of eating, Mitchell says.

Calories should come from the right mix of sources: fat, protein, carbs and on good days, a little alcohol. “Traditionally, if you win a stage, you have a bottle of Champagne,” Mitchell says.

Chefs face challenges in cooking for cycling teams, as there may be competitors from multiple nations, each with their own preferences. Mitchell says this year’s Team Sky cyclists hail from South America, North America and Europe. (This year, there haven’t been any major disagreements over food, he says.)

Sports physiologist Allen Lim has worked with Tour de France cyclists since 2005 and makes natural-ingredient sports drinks at his company Skratch Labs. He says a good chef knows each rider’s tastes: what foods they like, what they hate and what they won’t eat for health or ethical reasons.

Sometimes, Lim says, the dietary choices of the riders prove too challenging — or annoying — for a team’s chef. In 2008, when Lim was traveling with the Garmin team, all the cyclists decided they would ride the race on a gluten-free diet. The chef — a Frenchman — wasn’t happy about this.

“He was angry that the guys wouldn’t eat pasta or bread,” Lim recalls.

The Garmin team now works with chef Sean Fowler, an American who lives in Spain. Fowler has been more willing to experiment with fusion recipes and some gluten-free items, Lim says.

Fowler is tweeting his culinary wins on the tour, like gluten-free toast with salmon caviar, baked salmon with avocado mousse, gluten-free coconut cake with sheep’s milk yogurt and baked curry with marinated turkey skewers and prunes.

While nutritionists like Mitchell accompany the teams to help direct meal prep and make sure all essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and other nutrients are served in adequate proportions, Lim says many teams have also hired chefs.

“Unless the cyclists love what they’re eating, unless they can celebrate dining with one another and enjoy what they’re eating, then they just won’t perform,” Lim says. “If the food is bad, they won’t ride well.”

Staying hydrated is important, too. Lim says there was once a prevailing element of machismo among some professional cyclists who abstained from drinking water as long as possible during a hard ride. Now, they’ve wised up, he says, and may drink well over two gallons of water and hydrating energy drinks per day. When nature calls during the race, they make a gentlemen’s agreement to pull over all at once, drain their bladders and get back on the bikes when all are finished, Lim explains.

But there is one thing just as important as eating, Lim says: showering.

“When these guys are done each day, they’re so freaking dirty,” he says. “They have road dirt all over them. Before eating, they need to wash off.” Showers, he says, are provided at each team’s finish line station. “If they don’t shower right away, it can make them very susceptible to getting sick.”

Alastair Bland is a freelance writer based in San Francisco who covers food, agriculture and the environment.

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Workout With Propel – Challenge

Rachel Daily : July 23, 2014 10:55 am : Blog

Sweating is good for you. In fact, it’s great for you. But after a long workout, the visions of a refreshing bowl of ice cream, an ice cold soda, or even the sugar packed fruit juice that’s been in there since your son’s soccer practice last month are relentless. Especially when it’s hot out. Don’t undo the work you just did!

One of our favorite workout beverages to take on the trail with us is a nice cool bottle of Propel, the Workout Water from the makers of Gatorade. Propel is the perfect hydration for the way you work out: nine light flavors keep you drinking, and vitamins and antioxidants replenish, without a single calorie to bring you down from that post-workout high. What easier way to pretend you’re running on a calm island beach with the sand rushing between your toes with each step than a sip of kiwi-strawberry refreshment in between treadmill intervals. Granted, this requires a touch of imagination as well.

Whatever your workout, Propel and MapMyFitness are working together to get you the hydration you need during your sweatiest sessions with the Workout With Propel Challenge.

From July 9th – August 6th, log up to one workout a day and one Propel to have it count towards your chances to win an Under Armour gift card! Once you enter the challenge, workouts done on MapMyFitness, MapMyRun, MapMyWalk or MapMyRide will automatically be entered onto the challenge board. You do have to manually enter those Propels you chug on the website, though.


So what are you waiting for? Put. the ice cream. down.

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Insights and Trends in Connected Fitness

Rachel Daily : July 22, 2014 1:20 pm : Blog

Connected Fitness is a rapidly expanding market that begins with tracking physical activity and collecting data and manifests as mobile apps, wearable devices and more. As products and technology centered on health and wellness continue to develop, mHealth (defined as “mobile health and connected health”) is projected to hit $26 billion by 2017 (Research and Markets). Proving to be one of the biggest market explosions in history, connected fitness is gaining reach far past fitness enthusiasts and niche businesses and is seeing great demand in the mainstream market.

Issues like the obesity epidemic and the Affordable Care Act are just a couple of the major driving forces behind individuals’ increasing demand for robust and effective products built for health and wellness.

Along with this demand is a shift from reactive care to a proactive, or preventative, approach.  Companies that embrace new technologies and services, like rewards for healthy activity, are effectively positioning themselves for richer engagement and loyalty from their customer base.

Jawbone Group Platform Manager, Andrew Rosenthal is quoted in the paper, “Companies that are ready and able to adapt to that change, fully offering a holistic approach, will be the front-runners.”

In this full white paper on Connected Fitness, MapMyFitness discusses current trends, uncovers insights from thought leaders, and explains how brands can overcome challenges to scale for growth.

Download the full white paper on Insights and Trends for Connected Fitness here FREE

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Win the Ride of Your Life : July 21, 2014 4:07 pm : Blog, News

Ciao, ciclisti! Our friends over at Gran Fondo Italia are giving away the ultimate cycling package – including the best bike in the world, Colnago C60, personalized with your name and country flag. They’ll also outfit you for a Gran Fondo Italia cycling weekend, including a Fizik saddle, a KASK helmet, free entry to any 2014 US Gran Fondo Italia event, 2 nights of lodging, and the Gran Fondo Italia bike clothing kit that includes a bike jersey, bib shorts, arm warmer and leg warmers.

The Gran Fondo Italia brings the best of Italian cycling tradition to destinations worldwide. With a mix of moderate courses and challenges, these events are perfect for riders of all levels. To test your luck, you can enter the sweepstakes here.

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, 30 additional winners will be selected for additional prizes from Gran Fondo Italia and participating sponsors. All sweepstakes entrants will receive 3 months of MVP membership at MapMyRide and 30% limited coupons for entry to any Gran Fondo Italia event.

*No purchase necessary. 48 states, 18+. Prize restrictions apply. Click here for rules & how to enter via Facebook, website or mail.

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Namast…HEY! When Pets Interrupt Yoga

Rachel Daily : July 18, 2014 2:01 pm : Blog

Fridays are for fun and thus – we will try to bring you your weekly does of fitness funnies starting with today. While yoga classes to wind down from a busy week can get a little bit expensive, sometimes it’s nice to be able to escape into a room where you have nothing to focus on except you and your sun salutation. 

Ever tried to do yoga at home? If you’re like us and have kids and pets you chase around as part of your workout routine, you know it can be a little tricky to get the peace and quiet required for a little 15 minute stretch sesh. The pets below LOVE yoga time. You don’t truly know peace until you’re in child’s pose with a cat on your noggin. Namast—hey! 


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