The Racing Sailor's Menu - Sail Magazine

The Racing Sailor's Menu

Good nutrition can provide a performance edgeBy Carol M. BareutherThe optimal diet for a racing sailor depends on the kind of sailing being done and whether it requires more brainpower or brawn. Still, there are certain basic nutrition principles that apply to all competitors. Before the Regatta Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel and should
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Good nutrition can provide a performance edge

By Carol M. Bareuther

eatingright

The optimal diet for a racing sailor depends on the kind of sailing being done and whether it requires more brainpower or brawn. Still, there are certain basic nutrition principles that apply to all competitors.

Before the Regatta Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel and should make up 50 percent of your caloric intake. If you regularly eat a variety of healthy foods containing carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pastas, rice, fruits, and vegetables), you’ll have ample stored glycogen to fuel a couple of hours of intense physical activity—even more if the activity is less strenuous.

Race Day At breakfast, concentrate on getting hydrated and consume plenty of complex carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein, and small amounts of fat. An ideal breakfast could be oatmeal, whole-grain toast with jam, milk, and a piece of fruit; or yogurt, granola, and an apple; or two boiled eggs, a bran muffin, and orange juice. If you can’t stomach much food in the morning, at least go for a yogurt, fruit, or a granola bar. If possible, eat 2 to 4 hours before sailing (less if you opt for lighter fare).

Eating pancakes swimming in maple syrup a few hours before racing can lead to a precipitous drop in your blood-sugar level and a corresponding plunge in concentration just as you’re navigating the start line. On the other hand, drinking fruit juice or eating some fruit may improve your concentration, according to recent studies.

On the Water Stay hydrated. Losing a mere 2 percent of your body weight via dehydration—that’s only 3 pounds on a 150-pound sailor—can impair physical performance and mental concentration by up to 20 percent. Water is best, but if you’re sailing longer than 90 minutes you should opt for a sports drink that provides electrolyte minerals (sodium and potassium) as well as simple carbohydrates. If you’re sailing for an entire day, pack easy-to-eat foods like sandwiches, cheese or peanut butter and crackers, fresh fruits, granola bars, dried fruits, and nuts.

Recovery Fuel Resist the urge to head straight to the bar, as alcohol and caffeine contribute to dehydration. Your goal after competing is to replace lost fluids and glycogen stores. To quickly replenish glycogen, which is important in a multi-day event where you want to
perform at peak levels on consecutive days, eat a carb-rich snack (fruit, raisins,
pretzels, and juice) within 30 minutes after finishing a race. Follow this up with a balanced meal within two hours. If you’re headed for the bar, drink plenty of water first.

Carol M. Bareuther is a registered dietician and freelance writer who lives and sails in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Related

01-Lead-photo

Boat Review: Gunfleet 43

Many couples dream of selling up and casting off, but the prospect of downsizing can be daunting. How do you pack your life into some 40ft of LOA after living in a 2,000ft house? Maybe the British-built Gunfleet 43 has the answer. No, you can’t bring your hot tub, but with the ...read more

2017-05-22-154228

Cruising: the Aleutian Islands

The rain blew sideways as we beat to windward.Rock!A welter of whitewater appeared fine to starboard. Were our charts for the Aleutian Islands off? In the past few years, we’ve become accustomed to the fine charting in Alaska—could there be an uncharted reef off the Kilokak ...read more

04-Cup-Congressional-Cup--14-Credit-Bronny-Daniels700x

36th America's Cup: American Magic

While much of the yacht racing world has had its eyes glued to the Volvo Ocean Race these eight past months, the behemoth that is the America’s Cup has also been slowly but surely lurching into motion, following the publication of the official AC75 class rule in late March.Here ...read more

180521-Lead2048x

Volvo Fleet Heads to Europe

After days of rain, calms and fog, the Volvo Ocean Race Race fleet enjoyed perfect sailing conditions for the start of Leg 9 in Newport, Rhode Island, on Sunday. It then promptly plunged back into yet more fog as it headed offshore toward the finish in Cardiff, Wales, a little ...read more