FIT FOR SAILING
Strategies for optimal recovery after the one-design regatta crew weigh-in, by Andrew Verdon.
IN the February issue we looked at strategies for making weight for a one-design regatta crew weigh-in without affecting your performance. This month I would like to give you some tips for what to do following the weigh-in with regards to nutrition and hydration.
I always try to encourage crews to weigh in the day before the first race day if possible, as this gives more time to refuel rehydrate and prepare to race.
Firstly to ensure recovery between the weigh-in and the first race (expected the next day) the following strategies should be implemented:
1. If you have restricted your fluid intake for the final dip to weigh in, then 150 per cent of each litre of fluid lost should be replaced within two hours afterwards. So if you have dipped 1kg in body weight then 1.5lts of fluid should be consumed to rehydrate.
2. Rehydration can be rapid if electrolytes are consumed in this fluid. A sports drink would be ideal. There is some benefit for sodium to be included too as it stimulates water absorption and maintains the drive for thirst. Plain water can reduce the drive to drink. Most sports drinks contain some sodium and other electrolytes and minerals.
3. Energy restriction can cause a drop in muscle and liver glycogen. Glycogen is how carbohydrate is stored in the body. Thus a high carbohydrate meal should be consumed post weigh in.
4. Glycogen storage can be higher if this carbohydrate meal is of a high glycaemic index (GI) food. A high GI food is something that is converted and absorbed rapidly into the blood stream. A banana smoothie would satisfy all these requirements.
If you weigh in on the morning of the first race then the tips above need to be compressed into the time between the weigh in and the first race; you may still be following this as you sail to the start line.
Secondly, the following guidelines can be used on race days to aid recovery and keep performance at a high level over a multi-day regatta.
1. In the first four hours after the race finish aim to consume one gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour. For instance, if you weigh 75kgs then aim to consume 75gms of a carbohydrate rich food/s in the hours post racing.
2. Aim for this carbohydrate to be of a high glycaemic index, consumed as small snacks every 15-20 minutes. For more information on the GI see the University of Sydney website at www.glycemicindex.com.
3. Ensure that any fluid losses are replaced. If losses are greater than two per cent of body weight, then 150 per cent of the losses should be drunk over the hours post exercise to allow for complete fluid restoration.
An interesting process to try one day is to weigh yourself immediately before and after sailing and check the difference in body weight. This difference is your fluid loss in kilograms. Remember that one kilogram equals one litre of fluid lost. Research has shown that sailors do not consume enough fluids on a race day on the water and are often competing in early stages of dehydration.
Andrew Verdon is a strength and conditioning consultant to the Australian Sailing Team and runs the Beyond Exercise Studi in Sydney's Neutral Bay. He is currently racing in the Farr 40 class on Estate Master.