Cyclists’ Alliance - Nutrition project
The Cyclists' Alliance is constantly seeking out new partnerships and ways to enhance and improve the environment of women's cycling. We have just joined forces with the experienced sports nutritionist, Judith Haudum, who would like to provide her valuable support and services to TCA members. Below, she explains why nutrition is such an important part of an athlete's career and how she can assist in the right choices for you as a rider to achieve your goals. We are excited to offer members an opportunity to receive free consultations and body measurements with Judith, starting at this year's World Championships in Austria.
More than ever people talk about nutrition and how it affects performance. When you get it right, you can show a great performance, when you get it wrong, it can ruin everything. In cycling in particular nutrition has become more important than ever. Weight is a big factor and everyone talks about it. Also weight can become the problem that ruins one’s career because riders get too focused on weight and body composition. Of course, there is a link between performance and weight or body composition but many get the equation wrong.
Some athletes have wrong ideas of healthy weight and healthy body shape, others know they’re too heavy but don’t know the healthy way to get down to a good weight. There are too many cases in cycling where cyclists struggle because they chose the wrong way to manage weight. In the end, only good health and a healthy weight allow athletes to perform at there best. Good performance comes with good health.
Because I’ve seen many cyclists underperform, get sick in the wrong moment or get injured due to poor nutrition and weight management methods, the idea came up to offer cyclists the opportunity to reach out to someone and ask for help. Whether that is to lose weight, fuel your training or race, put together a proper breakfast, get safely through the winter months, track body weight and body composition as performance tool, manage jet lag or choose the right supplement - athletes need some advice but often have no one to go to. Some would like to know how much energy they need to cover their needs but have no idea how many calories they need to cover daily energy and nutrient needs.
A major problem is that teams often lack the financial resources to hire experts for every field. Nutrition experts are one group that is still underrepresented in elite sport and in professional cycling. Given that nutrition is quite important for endurance athletes, this can become a big challenge, especially if athletes struggle. But the expert doesn’t need to be in the team, sometimes it’s just good to know where to go to when there’s a question or a problem.
The Cyclists’ Alliance should offer such a go-to-contact. It’s the chance to seek for professional advice. Everything is confidential, nothing will be communicated to third parties. If there’s need for help, here’s a contact that can help. Whether that is about nutrition basics or more complex questions. There’s a possibility to talk about everything in regards to nutrition and weight management.
The aim is to help cyclists so they know how to manage their nutrition and cover their needs, and avoid unhealthy eating and poor weight management (weight loss methods, disordered eating, eating disorders). There are cyclists who get sick as soon as they finish the first part of the season, poor nutrition can be the reason. But it’s important to highlight that some of those issues arise because cyclists are unaware of their actual needs or just don’t know how to fuel. Therefore the project should also become a resource for nutrition information, based on current scientific evidence. In the end better knowledge helps avoid mistakes.
Another goal is to take away the 'control label' from body composition and body weight. Body weight and composition are important in cycling but the way they are used is still not perfect. In elite sport, those two parameters are often used in a wrong way. They can be a great performance tool if followed up regularly and interpreted together with performance and health. Regular updates can help to peak at the right moment and to monitor overall health, but it is necessary to get a structure into the system. Linking it to performance makes it a powerful and useful tool. If needed there will also be the possibility to do regular body composition measurements and determine the individual optimal weight, put down a plan how to approach the season and manage body weight throughout the season.
Taking all those aspects together, nutrition advice can not only improve performance but also health. There’s a life after the cycling career and mistakes during the career can have major (health) consequences for later life. A healthy relation to food and a good overall nutrition shall also help to transition into the life after a career in cycling in the best shape possible.
If you are interested in meeting with Judith in Innsbruck, she will be available to see members on Friday the 21st of September, and on Wednesday the 26th of September. Please contact her directly via her details below, or ask us for any extra information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on demand, she will be able to come to your team's hotel, or arrange for a meeting room in the nearby Innsbruck University. If you are not competing at the World Championships, there will be opportunities throughout the off-season and next season to apply to see her. A proper nutrition plan can help you achieve better results in your training and help you become a better professional athlete. This is a great opportunity for you to build up your performance and make the most of your next season!