British-born pro Kristian House raced in the UK and Europe for Rapha in 2013, gaining many notable results at Tour Series races and in the Premier Calendar.
When he’s not racing, the 34-year-old Brit heads back to Texas, where he grew up, to get those winter miles under the belt. Being one of the older and more experienced riders on the circuit, House knows the best way to fuel himself.
With a solid understanding of nutrition and the benefits that different foods have on his body, he’s able to choose between what looks nice on the shelf and what’s good for him and still get all the necessary carbs, proteins and vegetables into his diet. Riders are known for going on long training rides at this time of the year, so here’s a look at how House fuels a whole day in the saddle.
“Lots of coffee! For a day with a long ride I’ll have granola because of its low glycaemic index, which provides a steady and slow release of energy. My favourite cafe does an oat and blueberry muffin, which I’ll usually have while I’m waiting for people to turn up.”
House starts his day like many pro cyclists, with some coffee. It provides a big energy boost with a very low calorie count (if you’re having proper coffee that is!). Alongside this is the granola: popular with Americans, it’s a great source of energy to fuel him through the day. Similar to porridge, it’s a complex carb, allowing a slow release of energy. A quick snack as he waits for his riding buddies will ensure energy levels are high before he starts his long ride.
“In the morning I take SiS Rego Plus Fruitflow gels, beta-alanine and fish oil.”
Beta-alanine increases the concentration of carnosine in muscles, which helps decrease fatigue and increases the work they can do, allowing greater performance benefits. Taking SiS Rego Plus Fruitflow reduces inflammation in the body when exercising.
Alongside these, House also takes fish oil supplements. These include omega-3 fatty acids, which should help to lower his cholesterol and blood sugar levels. House takes these as supplements to an already healthy diet, as he gets natural vitamins and minerals already from lots of vegetables and fruit.
Above is what Kristian House typically eats on training day
On the road
“I don’t eat that much on the road – it tends to be a SiS Go energy bar or a SiS Go Isotonic gel every hour.”
Ensuring energy levels are kept high while on the road is very important, especially when you’re in the saddle for up to eight hours! House likes to keep it simple by taking a gel or bar every hour to keep his blood glucose high and allow enough energy to get to his working muscles.
“When you’re doing long rides you tend to skip lunch, but if I stop, it tends to be for a sandwich with brown bread with ham, cheese, tomatoes and spinach. When I’m in Texas, we’ll stop at a Taco shack for a few of those. They’re a great source of protein and carbs and are always packed with plenty of tasty vegetables.”
On mega-long days in the saddle, sometimes a lunch stop is what’s needed to get some proper food on board and refill those bidons. A simple, savoury sandwich makes a nice change to all the sweet gels and bars. As House says, stopping for a taco isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Tacos are a great source of proteins and carbs, needed during long rides to replenish glycogen stores, allowing the muscles to keep working for longer. Two tacos may be a bit heavy on the stomach though, and could make getting back on the bike a bit of a struggle!
“The first thing I do is grab an SiS Rego Rapid Recovery with water. Having it with water rather than milk is imperative, as water is easily absorbed by the body and ensures recovery begins straight away. Many people find it a chore to consume post-ride protein, but luckily SiS does a vanilla flavour, which I admit I rather like!”
Getting protein back on board as soon as possible after a ride will help ensure the body recovers as quickly as it can, allowing for optimum muscular adaptation. When training long hours, day after day, it’s vital for athletes like House to optimise their recovery time and do everything they can to be ready for the next training session.
“Eight-hour rides don’t leave much time for snacking, but if I need something extra, it tends to be fruit. Apples are my favourite, so I normally have at least one. I also use SiS Go Hydro to stay hydrated throughout the day, but without any added calories.”
An apple a day keeps the doctor away – House enjoys eating fruit and is particularly keen on apples. Having at least one a day will help keep his vitamin levels and fibre high, which is important to maintain healthy immune and digestive systems.
“Brown rice or pasta with vegetables and steak, chicken or fish. I always eat spinach by the bag. On top of that, whatever looks good in the supermarket: often it’s avocados when I’m in Texas! When it comes to fish, I go by the recommendation of the fish man at the market, which is always changing! A tuna steak though is always a good option.”
House generally sticks to the same type of foods for dinner. Brown rice and pasta are both solid carbs, perfect to replenish glycogen stores, as well as having low glycaemic indexes. Your body digests these more slowly to allow a steady release of energy, so you feel fuller for longer and are less likely to snack.
Getting protein in these meals is also vital for athletes training on a daily basis. Proteins will help rebuild and repair the muscles that have taken a beating during a day’s training.
House gets lots of the dietary fibre he needs from vegetables, as well as many vitamins and minerals. His favourite, spinach, is a superfood, so it’s great that he likes it by the bag. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and iron, so is a great food to be a fan of! What a shining example House is!
By taking food recommendations or getting whatever is on offer at the supermarket, House has plenty of variation in his diet and isn’t going to get bored eating the same foods every day. This is important for riders who are usually eating to refuel.
This article was first published in the January 2 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!