ACTIONETIX | 8 Critical Performance Tips for National Races

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“Sometimes you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo.”

These famous words from the lyrical genius EMINEM resonate to so many things in life and particularly the CMRC Grand National Championship in Walton Ontario Canada or the Loretta Lynn’s. How often do you really get a chance to seize the moment and have your name etched into the record books for good? This event only happens once a year and you better be prepared to do battle in the heat, humidity and against the elements of stiff competition and one of the best tracks in the country. I’ve put together the top 8 performance tips for you to take to heart so you can perform at your peak all week long.

 #8 – Eat Your Potatoes

Everyone thinks that bananas are really high in potassium, and although they contain about 400 mg of potassium each, it pales in comparison to the over 1000 mg found in an average sized baked potato. Potatoes are also a fast absorbing carbohydrate, which will help your muscles recover for the next moto. Potassium however is of little use unless salt (sodium) is also present in you diet, so be sure to read Tip #1 as well.

#7 – Do a Warm Up

I know you’ve heard it before, but here’s the real reason why… When you engage in strenuous physical activity, your body starts by releasing a hormone called Epinephrine (commonly known as adrenaline). This hormone acutely raises your heart rate and constricts your veins (makes them smaller). If you perform a warm up of jumping jacks, lunges and knee high running on the spot 5-8 minutes before your moto, you’ll release the Epinephrine earlier, which will decrease the release during the holeshot and first lap. This helps open up your veins, which helps prevent arm pump and keeps your heart rate a bit more in check, so you can focus on the race.

#6 – Save the Energy Drinks for After Your Motos

I’ve written about this in the latest issue of MXP Magazine (Facciotti is on the cover). Due to the caffeine content of energy drinks, they are a mild diuretic (forces your body to excrete water) as well as a vaso constrictor (they make your blood vessels smaller). These two issue are exactly what you don’t want when you’re racing. Dehydration can really force you to hit ‘the wall’, and  vaso constriction is a strong contributor to ARM PUMP. Save the energy drink until you’ve finished racing.

#5 – Eat Your Eggs

Your muscle are going to take a pounding, especially if your racing more than one class. It’s not just what you eat after your mottos that help you maximize recovery, but all meals throughout the day. The average 170 pound athlete should be consuming around 30+ grams of protein per meal, and since a large egg contains ~8g and an egg white 5 grams, you should be using two whole eggs and 3-4 egg whites in your omelet or scrambled eggs to start your day. Your muscles will recover faster and and protein controls hunger very well.

 #4 – Freeze Your Water

This is a tip I always give people when they’re going to long-running sporting events. First of all, it acts as an ice pack for your cooler, and second, it works well to ingest really cold water after your mottos. You definitely want cool water before you race to keep your hydration up, but very cold water has a higher likely hood of causing cramps and constricting the blood vessels around the stomach, which in turn places more stress on the veins and capillaries in you arms, hands, legs and feet.

After your motto however, when you are trying to help regulate your core body temperature, ice-cold water will certainly help this process from the inside out.

#3 – Bring Your Ear Plugs for a Good Sleep

Some people are light sleepers and therefore need to block out the late-night noise to get a good sleep. Pack your earplugs to help in the process. During sleep is when a lot of physical recovery happens. In particular, Growth Hormone is released during Delta/REM sleep patterns. Delta/REM sleep is our deepest sleep and during REM sleep, your body actually shuts down and paralyzes our muscles. This allows your body to really focus on recovery. If you don’t reach Delta/REM sleep, you’ll be missing out on some real performance benefits.

#2 – Eat Some Protein Before Bed

Because your body is in recovery mode during sleep, it’s important to have some protein before bed. Ideally it’s in the form of a shake consisting of Casein protein (you can buy this at health food stores like GNC), however a chicken breast or scrambled eggs will also work well. Eat this about 30 minutes before going to sleep to help maximize your recovery for the next day.

#1 – Bring the Salt Shaker

I mentioned in Tip #8 that you need to raise your potassium levels all week long. If you do this and don’t raise your salt levels, it will be useless. Sodium and potassium exist in your body in a 3:2 ratio if you are depleted of one, your body will compensate by getting rid of the other (you pee it out). Since you need ~1800 mg of sodium per liter of water you drink, you also need ~1100 mg of potassium per liter. Knowing that isotonic drinks like Gatorade and Powerade only have about 400 mg of sodium and 120 mg of potassium per liter, you’ll need to salt your high potassium foods like potatoes as that I mentioned in Tip #8.

So there it is, my top eight performance tips for week-long events like the Loretta Lynne national championship CMRC Walton GNC. Ride hard, best of luck and most importantly be prepared and safe.