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Every sport makes unique demands on the athlete’s body, and rally is no exception. Drivers have to stay strong in order to handle the car, even if the power steering fails. They also need to be lean and light because the weight of the crew inside the car is vitally important. And of course they need to keep healthy to be able to train and compete consistently all year round. So how does nutrition help you reach these goals?

Protein for strength

First of all, your body needs protein to maintain muscle mass. Quality protein is easy to absorb and contains the right ratio of amino acids, the building blocks of muscles. Various types of meat, fish, sea food, and eggs are all great sources of protein.

Carbs and fats for a sharp mind

Secondly, your body needs carbohydrates and fats that fuel the brain and muscles. You should opt for slow-burning carbs like potatoes, rice, oats, or whole-grain bread to avoid fluctuations in energy and concentration. Healthy fats are a good source of slow release energy as well, and will also help your nervous system to function well. Good examples of healthy fats would be avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, olive oil, or butter.

Fibre to maintain race weight

In order to maintain your ideal race weight you have to eat just enough to cover your energy needs. To avoid overeating, you can either count calories and measure every bite of food, or learn which foods will keep hunger pangs at bay and then make sure to include those in every meal. Studies show that foods full of fibre, protein, and water are best at keeping you satiated. So, add some vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, or legumes to your protein of choice and you’re set.

Vegetables to stay healthy

Finally, if you want to stay healthy and recover well from training you can’t forget about vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients. Fruits and vegetables are among the best sources of a wide range of these important micro-nutrients, but almost any really wholesome foods will help.

No junk food and soda

One thing that definitely won’t help is junk food. Things like soda, chocolate bars, cakes, ice cream, or cookies will only help you overeat – which is no use if you need to stay lean and light. They also contain very little in terms of useful nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals, so they won’t help you stay healthy or strong either.

That’s a lot of theory. Now let’s put it all together and see what a rally driver’s day of eating might look like.

Breakfast

The key is to give your body a good helping of protein in the first meal of the day. It makes you less likely to binge and crave “cheat” foods. Eggs will do the trick. Add a bit of slow release energy in the form of oats, some vitamins and antioxidants from berries, and minerals like magnesium and potassium from nuts and you’ve got a perfect meal to start the day.

2 egg omelette, a bowl of porridge with nuts and berries

Lunch

Keep your lunch light but nutritious. A piece of chicken will provide you with protein, rice will give you slow carbs for energy, and some veggies will add fibre and lots of vitamins. That’s all you need for the afternoon training session.

Chicken stir fry with broccoli and mushrooms, rice

Snack

Snacks are always optional. Add or remove them based on how hard you’re working on a given day. Always keep them nutritious, made with real foods. Avoid cakes and candy as much as you can. A Greek yogurt is a good choice as it gives you protein, calcium, and fat soluble vitamins – pair it with a banana or an apple for a little energy boost and vitamin C, and you‘re good to go.

Greek yogurt with a piece of fruit

Dinner

You know the drill by now: a portion of protein, healthy fats, and plenty of veggies so that your body has all the materials necessary to recover well after an active day.

Baked salmon with a large salad (spinach, avocado, bell peppers, tomatoes, olives)

 

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