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Top tips to help you tackle End-to-End

Raring to go: walkers set off from St George’s for last year’s End-to-End (File photograph)

This weekend my LH and a group of friends and colleagues will be cycling the XL Catlin Bermuda End-to-End dressed as Santa and his elves.

Previously, they have done the same dressed as ballerinas, chickens, cave men, superheroes ... the list goes on. People are more interested in sponsoring when costumes are involved and so far their antics have raised more than $100,000 for Bermuda’s charities. It’s also livened up the dress-up box in our house (for the children, people!).

So, whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, give them a wave as they go by. You may need to hose down Santa as I am pretty sure he will be roasting in that outfit, though I am sure there will be a few “watering” stops.

If you are doing the End-to-End this year, how well you eat and hydrate will have a big impact on how you feel.

Whether you are doing part of the distance or the whole thing, good luck and enjoy it! The End-to-End is a brilliant way to have fun while contributing to your community. It’s not too late to join in — find all the details at www.bermudaendtoend.com or visit the new Washington Mall. Sign-up there is open from 8.30am until 5pm today.

Sports nutrition for End-to-End

If you have a medical condition, especially diabetes or renal disease, please consult your physician or designated dietitian regarding appropriate nutritional strategies (food and drinks) for endurance events.

• Anticipate. Eating and drinking sensibly before, during and after an endurance event helps to prevent dehydration, low blood sugar and gastric upset.

A nutrient-rich diet also promotes the best possible scenario for restoration, healing and recovery. Don’t eat a dodgy kebab or a vindaloo tonight! Go with something safe and mild.

• Antioxidant protection. Exercise is undeniably healthy, however, vigorous exercise can generate a certain amount of free-radical activity in the body, which can be ageing. This is not an excuse to put your feet up as inactivity is ultimately more harmful. Instead, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich food over the next few days, especially fruit and vegetables, to neutralise the impact of free radicals.

• Carbs are good, but so is protein. Protein is needed for growth, maintenance and repair of lean body mass but this doesn’t mean you need to supplement with a protein powder.

Recreational endurance athletes need 0.80 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (exercising four to five times per week for 30 minutes), moderate intensity endurance athletes need 1.2g/kg/day (exercising four to five times per week for 45 to 60 minutes) and elite endurance athletes need 1.6g/kg/day (exercising above the moderate threshold). It’s best to obtain protein from your diet by focusing on quality sources such as lean beef, chicken breast, fish, eggs, organic tofu and brown rice/beans. Quality matters (chicken breast rather than chicken patty) as this affects how the protein is used within your body.

• Weight loss. If you are also trying to lose weight, this is more likely to occur with a reduction in the percentage of energy derived from processed foods, rather than a decrease in total energy intake — so don’t diet, eat healthily!

Carbohydrate is necessary for the storage of glycogen in your muscles, which is converted to energy when you exercise, so don’t ditch the carbs, just eat the good ones, such as wholegrains and fruit rather than cookies and candy. Low-carb diets fail to provide adequate nutritional balance and may lead to a loss of lean body mass (muscle protein has to be utilised to fuel a workout).

• On the day. A combination of carbohydrate intake before, as well as during an event, is better than either in isolation, so do eat little and often.

Depletion of energy stores in the body is a major cause of fatigue. Drinking sports drinks during the event can be helpful but you may find that unsweetened coconut water gives you enough of a boost. It’s also dye free!

Also, eat some slow-releasing carbs (porridge, pasta, baked beans, multigrain bread, yoghurt) pre-event. Healthy breakfast suggestions include wholegrain breakfast cereal with low-fat milk and fruit, porridge with low-fat milk and fruit juice, pancakes with maple syrup, toast and jam, baked beans on toast, spaghetti with tomato sauce, jacket potato and baked beans, granola bar and a banana, banana and honey sandwich, fresh fruit salad and low-fat yoghurt, or a smoothie using banana, berries, low-fat milk and yoghurt

• Hydration. You must be well hydrated. Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2 per cent of body weight.

Losses in excess of 5 per cent of body weight can decrease performance capacity by 30 per cent. On a hot day, as it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to drink enough fluid to match your rate of sweat-loss, it’s critical to start the event well hydrated. Drink 300 to 600 millilitres of water with your pre-event meal. Then 150 to 300ml water every 15 to 20 minutes, up to one hour before the event, leaving time for a toilet stop!

During the event, if you are doing a long or strenuous distance, use sports drinks or coconut water to stay hydrated, beginning early on in the exercise and well in advance of fatigue.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the U.K. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. For details, please go to www. natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnaturalnutritionbermuda