How to Fuel for a Hyrox Race: A Comprehensive Guide
Hyrox races are a unique and exciting way to test your hybrid athletic abilities, combining the endurance demands of running with the power and strength requirements of functional fitness exercises. To ensure you perform at your best, it's crucial to fuel your body correctly in the days leading up to the race and on race day itself. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the ideal nutrition strategy for a Hyrox race, covering the week leading up to the race, the day before, and the day of the event.
The Day Before the Race - Key Considerations
We only have a limited storage capacity of carbohydrates to us on race day. To ensure your glycogen stores are fully stocked for race day, focus on consuming carbohydrate-rich meals 24-48 hours before the event. To do this, just increase the portion size with each meal. However, do not exceed an amount that you're not used to or haven't practiced with, to reduce the chances of stomach complaints and feeling 'heavy'. Instead, focus on carbohydrates with high availability and low fibre, such as white pasta, bagels, and white rice. White rice is particularly good because it can help increase hydration.
Reduce Fibre Intake
Lower your fibre intake the day before the race to minimise the risk of gastrointestinal issues during the event. Opt for low-fibre carbohydrate sources, as mentioned above.
Enjoy a Sugary Cereal
A bowl of sugary cereal before bed can be a tasty and effective way to top up glycogen stores, ensuring you have enough energy for race day. Plus, who doesn't love a bowl of sugary cereal?
Here's an example of a day's nutrition plan for the day before a Hyrox race:
· 2 slices of white toast with honey or jam
· 1 medium banana
· 200ml of orange juice
· A low-fibre cereal bar or a rice cake with peanut butter
· White pasta with grilled chicken and a light tomato sauce (avoid heavy, creamy sauces)
· A side of steamed, low-fibre vegetables like courgette or carrots
· A plain bagel with a thin spread of cream cheese or jam
· White rice with grilled or baked salmon and a side of low-fibre vegetables (e.g., green beans)
· A few slices of white bread or a plain dinner roll
A small bowl of low-fibre, sugary cereal with low-fat milk
Throughout the day, aim to drink water regularly, aiming for at least 2-2.5 litres. It's also a good idea to incorporate an electrolyte drink or tablet to help with hydration.
Remember, this is just an example, and it's essential to tailor your nutrition plan to your individual preferences and tolerances.
On the day of the race
On the day of the Hyrox race, it's crucial to have a well-planned breakfast that provides enough energy without causing gastrointestinal discomfort. Aim for a breakfast containing approximately 1g of carbohydrates per kg of lean body mass. This will help to ensure that your glycogen stores are adequately topped up without overwhelming your digestive system. Opt for easily digestible carbohydrates such as white bread, bagels, or rice cakes, and avoid high-fibre foods that may cause stomach issues.
It’s recommended to have breakfast 2-4 hours before the event begins. This allows enough time for your body to digest the meal and absorb the necessary nutrients, ensuring that you're fuelled and ready for the race. Consuming breakfast within this timeframe also helps prevent stomach discomfort or feelings of fullness during the event. Make sure to stick with foods and meal options you're familiar with and have tested during your training to avoid any unexpected issues on race day.
What if I struggle to eat?
If you struggle to eat a solid breakfast in the morning before a race, you can opt for a liquid meal replacement or smoothie that still contains carbohydrates. This can be easier on your stomach and quicker to digest.
Consider blending a smoothie with a mix of fruits, such as bananas and berries, along with a carbohydrate source like oats or honey. Alternatively, you can try a liquid meal replacement or sports drink that provides the required carbohydrates and electrolytes. Make sure to choose products that you've used during your training to avoid any unexpected stomach issues on race day.
Remember to still consume your 500ml of water with an electrolyte tablet, as hydration remains crucial. Start sipping on this liquid meal or smoothie 2-4 hours before the race, giving your body ample time to digest and absorb the nutrients before the event begins.
Example pre-race breakfast options:
Oats topped with banana slices and a drizzle of honey, served with a glass of low-fat milk or a dairy-free alternative.
A bagel with peanut or almond butter and a side of low-fat Greek yogurt topped with berries.
A smoothie made with a banana, a handful of berries, a scoop of protein powder, and milk or a dairy-free alternative.
Two slices of whole-grain toast topped with avocado and a couple of scrambled eggs.
Rice cakes topped with almond butter, banana slices, and a sprinkle of chia seeds.
Remember to choose options that you have already tested during your training and that you know sit well with your stomach. This will help ensure that you have a comfortable and well-fuelled race experience.
If your race is after lunch, it's essential to maintain your energy levels and ensure that your body is properly fuelled for the event. Here's how you can plan your snacks and lunch:
Morning Snack: Choose a light, easily digestible snack around mid-morning to keep your energy levels up without feeling too full.
Some examples include:
A piece of fruit like a banana or an apple
A granola or cereal bar (low in fibre)
Rice cakes with a thin spread of peanut or almond butter
Aim to have lunch about 3-4 hours before the race start time. This will give your body enough time to digest the meal and prevent any stomach discomfort during the race. Choose a meal that is high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fibre.
Some examples include:
A tuna or chicken sandwich on whole-grain bread with lettuce and tomato with a small fruit salad.
A rice or pasta salad with grilled chicken, mixed vegetables, and a light dressing.
A small portion of pasta with marinara sauce and a side of steamed vegetables.
About 30-60 minutes before the race, have a small, easily digestible snack that is primarily made up of carbohydrates to give you an energy boost.
Some examples include:
· A sports gel or energy chew
· A handful of dried fruit, like raisins or apricots
· A small banana
Remember to also stay hydrated throughout the day by sipping on water or a sports drink with electrolytes. Avoid consuming any new or unfamiliar foods on race day to minimise the risk of stomach issues. Stick to tried-and-tested options that you've had success with during your training.
What about during the event?
For a race lasting around 60-90 minutes, like a Hyrox event, most athletes shouldn't need to consume much additional fuel during the race if they've fuelled correctly beforehand. However, individual preferences and needs can vary. The primary focus for a race of this duration should be on proper hydration and ensuring that you've consumed enough carbohydrates pre-event. That said, some athletes may find it beneficial to consume a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates, such as an energy gel, halfway through the race to maintain energy levels. Ultimately, it's essential to find what works best for you and practice your nutrition strategy before the event.
What about supplements?
Supplements can play a helpful role in supporting your performance during a Hyrox race or any other endurance event. Here are some popular supplements that athletes often use:
Beetroot Shots: Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which can help improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles. Consuming beetroot juice or shots 2-3 hours before the race can potentially enhance your endurance and overall performance. It can also be beneficial to consume beetroot shots for 2-3 days leading up to the competition. This can help increase nitrate levels in your body, which in turn may improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to your muscles during the race.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a well-known performance enhancer that can help increase alertness, focus, and potentially reduce perceived exertion during exercise. You can consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, energy gels, or tablets. Aim to consume around 3-6 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight 30-60 minutes before the race.
Sodium Bicarbonate: Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, has been shown to help buffer lactic acid and delay the onset of muscle fatigue. However, it may cause gastrointestinal distress for some individuals. If you've used sodium bicarbonate successfully in the past, you can try consuming it 60-90 minutes before the race, at a dose of 0.3g per kg of body weight.
Beta-Alanine: This non-essential amino acid can help increase muscle carnosine levels, which may help buffer muscle acidosis and improve exercise capacity. While beta-alanine is typically taken as a supplement over a period of several weeks, it may still provide some benefits on race day if you've been supplementing consistently during your training.
Electrolytes: Electrolyte supplements, like sodium and potassium, can help maintain proper hydration and prevent cramping during the race. Consume electrolyte-rich drinks or add an electrolyte tablet to your water before and during the event.
It's essential to test any supplements during your training before incorporating them into your race-day nutrition plan. This helps ensure that they are well-tolerated and effective for your individual needs.
Keep in mind that individual responses to supplements can vary, so it's always a good idea to test these strategies during training to ensure they work well for you and don't cause any adverse effects
Practise practise practise
The key to successful fuelling for a Hyrox race is individualisation and practice. No two athletes are the same, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's crucial to tailor your nutrition plan to your unique needs, preferences, and tolerances. Additionally, practicing your pre-race and race-day fuelling strategies during training sessions will help you understand how your body responds to different foods and supplements. This will allow you to fine-tune your approach and avoid any unexpected surprises on race day. By investing time in personalising and practicing your nutrition plan, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the challenges of a Hyrox race and perform at your best.
In conclusion, proper nutrition and fuelling strategies are essential for optimising your performance in a Hyrox race. By focusing on your nutrition plan leading up to the event, and understanding your individual needs, you can set yourself up for success on race day. Remember, finding the right balance and approach is a personal journey, so don't be afraid to experiment and adjust as needed.
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