Stacy Sims Serves Up Nutrition Advice at The Station

As if good food and Blue Bottle Coffee and Chef's Chris' food weren't good enough reasons to head over to the Financial District, last week The Station -- Studio Velo's food & coffee cultural extension-- hosted a discussion with sports physiologist and nutrition expert Dr Stacy Sims, from Osmo Nutrition. Stacy's research in to the field of sports hydration has revolutionized how endurance athletes world-wide approach their hydration and nutrition. Olympic medalists, national champions, and elite-level athletes have reaped the benefits of her "nutrition in your pockets, hydration in your bottles" philosophy. Sure, I won't be riding in the pro peloton next season, but anyone who knows me knows I'm all about the food (I like to think of cycling as an expensive eating disorder.) So I caught a ride across the bridge in the Studio Velo Sprinter van, excited to hear what she had to say.

After some yummy snacks and a little mingling, Stacy began the discussion by briefly dispelling some common nutrition and hydration myths, like why you can't measure your level of dehydration by the color of your urine or weighing yourself before and after exercise. Then, rather than giving us a Nutrition 101 lecture, she turned it over to us and asked for questions. Now we're talking...

There were several questions on how to avoid cramping. Apparently, I'm not the only one who discovered the joys of cycling, only to discover the pain of twitchy calves and a knotted tummy. Of course, what you mix in your bottles plays an important role in keeping cramps at bay, and to this end Osmo Active Hydration can help. But rather than just pitch product, Stacy delved into the science behind the product and talked about how the nutrition found in many jersey pockets can sabotage even the best mixed bottles. In addition to the usual suspects - gels, GUs, shot blocks, and similar products - were some surprising ones, like bananas and coconut water. Some cramps aren't hydration related (they're a neuromuscular response triggered by anything from inadequate stretching to stress) and we learned ways to avoid those as well.

How to fuel post-ride, during that critical 30-minute window and beyond, was another hot topic. Most recovery drink mixes contain high levels of antioxidants which impede your body's natural response to training stress, limiting physical gains. Osmo Acute Recovery contains a beneficial mix of the right kinds of proteins, carbohydrates, and electrolytes to promote rapid recovery and performance gains, as do such foods as low-fat Greek style yogurt and quinoa. Your evening nutrition choices can be the difference between waking up renewed and refreshed or tossing and turning in drenched sheets. Remember those antioxidants you're not supposed to have immediately after your workout? Night time is a good time to eat foods rich in antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, and protein to promote restful sleep and avoid night sweats during hard training blocks.

Stacy shared advice about what to eat during triathlons and other endurance events. Wondering what to eat coming out of T2? Stacy recommendation might surprise you.  She also explained why going from solid to semi-solid foods over the course of long events will not only keep you better fueled but better hydrated, making the difference between struggling to finish and finishing strong. It didn't take long before I realized that even though I've been filling my bottles with all the right stuff, I needed to rethink what I put in my pockets. Goodbye liquid calories, hello.. well, i can't give you all the secrets now can I? 

After our questions were answered, we said our goodbyes (but not before urging Stacy to open up a food cart in Fairfax) and headed back to Marin.  

I understand Stacy will join us again -- this time at Studio Velo in MV -- for another Q & A session.  This is something not to be missed. Stay tuned for the next talk! 

by Shelley Hagan - SV employee and bike racer


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