In 2021, Kate Strong took three world records for the furthest distance travelled on a static cycle in 1 hour, 12 hours, and 24 hours. Here, Kate explains her three non-negotiables for choosing the best active fuel.
“The food you eat can be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
I know I'm preaching to the converted about the importance nutrition plays for athletes. Get nutrition right, and you can surmount mountains with relative ease. Get it wrong, and it's like trying to push through treacle with lead weights tied to your ankles.
When I was preparing for the 24-hour record attempt, I spoke to many nutritionists, dieticians, food and nutrition companies. I was looking for fuel that would effectively support me to reach an extreme goal while also ensuring I wasn't risking my overall health with any hidden toxins in the food.
There are three things my nutrition needed to have:
1. It’s got to work when I’m working hard
When I'm pushing hard on the bike, I need to know that the fuel I'm taking in can be broken down quickly and deliver much-needed energy.
2. It has to use whole food and plant-based ingredients
Aside from the fact that following a plant-based diet will increase our lifespan by a few years and reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, as athletes, we also benefit from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. These can help us recover quicker after an intense training session and lower levels of inflammation, meaning I can train for longer and at a higher intensity than on a meat and dairy diet.
3. It’s got to be tasty
Years ago, I learned the hard way that if I don't like it, I won't eat it. Forcing myself to drink orange juice laced with spirulina (and quickly bringing it back up again) will have that effect.
So, the fuel I eat needs to be tasty and enjoyable.
On my 24 hour ride, when I started feeling overwhelmed about the number of hours ahead, I'd nibble on a Veloforte energy chew and find I had more hope. I'd also use Mocha Bars as a treat for reaching certain milestones. They're delicious!
Veloforte ticks every box for me
And it proved to be the best fuel for my world record attempt. For 24 hours, I only ate and drank Veloforte products (with one break where I ate a lentil curry). I even had enough energy to help pack down the event after I stopped cycling!