Newcastle Challenge – Body Maintenance and Nutritional Training Tips

Newcastle Challenge - Body Maintenance and Nutritional Training TipsIn this article I discuss body maintenance and nutritional recommendations in your lead up to the Newcastle challenge. I hope that they will help you with your training preparations.

Body Maintenance Training Tips for the Newcastle Challenge

Hopefully if you had been following my articles you’ll have had you bike set up correctly before you started with your training. If not and you are experiencing discomfort on the bike then I strongly urge you to visit your local bike shop and make sure that you get it adjusted. An incorrectly fitted bike is the primary reason for aches and pains on the bike and in severe cases can lead to permanent physical damage to your bodies’ cartridge, tendons and muscles.

So what else can you do to ensure that you keep your body healthy?  While Cycling is quite a low impact it is, however, inherently a mechanical and repetitive motion that’s quite foreign to your body’s normal movements. Also, it’s not uncommon for rides to last up to several hours so doing some general body maintenance will help your wellbeing and your riding.

If you have time, a weekly Pilates or yoga class will do you your body wonders in helping it rebalance itself.  If you don’t have the time or access to these classes, then simple stretches after you ride can help. It’s important to focus on your hip flexors and hamstrings as a minimum or our Matt Brindle Mobilisers.  Myofascial trigger point therapy using a blue roller provides an excellent way to release your muscles before stretching.  I highly recommend this.

You do this by massaging your muscles with a blue roller until you find a tender spot. Once you find one use the roller to gently massage it, pausing on it for around 45 seconds while breathing deeply. You’ll find that the discomfort will diminish to by about 50% to 75%. And if you are doing it right, feel the muscle release.

The secret is to apply enough pressure to stimulate the releasing process but not too hard that you end up “protecting” or tensing the muscle up that you are trying to relax. Some discomfort is fine, but lots of pain is not.

Legs, gluts and arms all respond to well to Myofascial trigger point therapy and can be done while watching the TV in the evenings.

Cross training is also an excellent way of rebalancing your body after a ride. I recommend walking or swimming. Running is also good but not as good as walking and swimming. Also, various gym “body movement classes” and swimming “aqua” classes where there are a lot of three dimensional movements with no or light weights are also good.

I think you get the idea. The body is designed to move so after your riding you’ll want to do movements that are natural to the body to recharge and rebalance it. Even a bit of dancing is an excellent post ride recovery exercise. The most important thing is to find something that works for you that you can fit into your busy life.

Nutritional Training Tips for the Newcastle Challenge.

When training it’s important to feed your body the right type of food at the right time. This helps ensure that your body is fuelled up correctly so that you can perform your training, and that it’s got a decent supply of vitamins, minerals and proteins to help aid recovery and help you build on your body’s fitness through physiological adaption.

Common sense prevails for nutritional advice. There is no magic food or formula that works best. Also, everyone has their own unique dietary requirements, so it’s vital to find out what works for you. Here is what I recommend to my athletes. You have probably heard it many times before. It’s quite a strict diet and so just taking on just some of these options will help improve your wellbeing and performance.

  • Eat foods that are as unprocessed as possible.
  • Focus on consuming a healthy serving of lightly steamed veggies with evening meals
  • Snack on fruit and nuts during the day
  • Eat low GI and unprocessed carbohydrates.
  • Eat white and lean red meat.
  • Avoid soft drinks, fatty, fried and highly salted foods, biscuits and products containing white flower.
  • Ensure that you get enough fibre in your diet.
  • Drink water adequately but not too much that you leach your body of minerals.
  • Reduce the consumption of alcohol and dairy products

A typical day may look like this:

Breakfast – Porridge, muesli or omelette

Lunch – Green salad or brown rice with a white or lean red meat. Brown bread salad sandwich

Dinner – Lightly steamed veggies or brown rice with a white or lean red meat.

Whilst training consume low GI foods that provide around 30-60 grams of carbohydrate an hour. As you become more efficient at burning fat on this type of diet you’ll find yourself less dependent on high GI carbohydrates.

There is growing research into a Paleolithic Era type diets and exercise patterns that mimic those that our hominid ancestors evolved on, rather than those supported by modern societies. This has promoted a trend of experimentation with diets and exercise in an effort to improve the performance of endurance athletes.  These diets are generally “higher in protein (19–35 %), lower in carbohydrates (22–40 %) and equivalent or even higher in dietary fat (28–58 %) than current diets”.

So far the research that I have read provides conflicting results. The overall trend is that the mimicking “exercising patterns” is producing some statistical measurable results. But, the application of an extreme Paleolithic Era type diet “has not been effective in improving performance and could compromise the health status of athletes and their training and competitive performances in high-intensity sports”[i]. There is evidence a low GI diet does improve metabolic efficiency, but this has been known for years and which I’ve already mentioned in this article.  However, I do have one client on a Paleolithic Era type diet that is competing and medalling at National Road Racing events.

While I’m not discounting this type of diet yet, the overwhelming conclusion in the studies is that further research is required to determine the effectiveness of this tactic for improving cycling performance.

Finally, I recommend the following supplements.  Zinc, Magnesium, Iron and Vitamin C. The Zinc and Magnesium helps improves the chance of delayed onset muscle soreness and Iron and Vitamin C for the normal reasons.

So there you have it. I hope that helps provides you with some training tips for the Newcastle Challenge.


[i] Do Olympic Athletes Train as in the Paleolithic Era?: Sports Med: DOI 10.1007/s40279-013-0086-1 Daniel A. Boullosa • Laurinda Abreu • Adria´n Varela-Sanz • In˜igo Mujika