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Photo credit: Skinfit International GmbH

For maximum performance on the cross-country trail

Whether skating or classic style, leisure athlete or professional athlete: cross-country skiing is one of the most popular and attractive endurance sports in winter. But if you want to achieve top performance on the cross-country ski trail, you not only need perfect conditions, serious training, top equipment and excellent technique: the more ambitious a cross-country skier is, the more important targeted sports nutrition becomes! A correctly chosen, carefully coordinated nutrition strategy determines whether a cross-country skier can maintain his top performance right up to the finish line - or whether lactate in the legs or an energy hole in the middle of the competition forces the athlete to slow down or even give up. The following points should be taken into account for top performance on the cross-country ski trail:

In advance: Filling up glycogen stores
Long cross-country training sessions in the cold as well as challenging competitions lasting more than 90 minutes wear out the body. Filled glycogen stores therefore form the crucial basis for reaching one's goal. Carboloading with a highly concentrated carbohydrate drink the day before a competition or a long training session is of great benefit. Ideally suited: CARBO LOADER, a sports drink specially developed for replenishing glycogen stores. Also important: a balanced breakfast based on slowly available carbohydrates such as oatmeal, porridge or graham bread. POWER PORRIDGE provides a tasty, quickly prepared and long-lasting meal before hard training or running.

Liquid supply during exercise
Anyone who is exercising over a longer period of time would do well to compensate for the loss of fluids and electrolytes with sports drinks. High-quality sports drinks provide the body with electrolytes and energy in addition to liquid.

• Generally speaking, COMPETITION is the drink of choice for endurance activities, as it is acid-free and only mildly flavoured. It is extremely well tolerated even at high dosages.
• In contrast, LONG ENERGY 10% scores with a protein addition of 10%, making the drink ideal for intensive strength-focused endurance training or very long activities.
• For those disliking cold drinks in winter: sports drinks such as COMPETITION or SPORT TEA are also suitable for hot water preparation and consumption.
• Cross-country skiers who want to train with reduced calories may do without energy-containing sports drinks and prefer our low-calorie electrolyte drinks such as ELECTROLYTES or LOW CARB BURNER instead. These are very suitable for fat metabolism training.

Energy supply during competition: observe blood sugar curve
Carbohydrate products based on glucose and sucrose, so-called fast sugars, quickly enter the bloodstream and cause a rapid insulin response during their metabolisation. Even though rapid availability is desirable, a regular supply is necessary to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. The following tips will help you to maintain constant blood glucose levels:

• Drink regularly from your sports drink is particularly important in the cold! The body also loses a lot of fluid through breathing in cold conditions. In order to cover the increased energy requirement caused by the cold, the COMPETITION sports drink can also be prepared in higher concentrations. This will provide sufficient energy, even if the drinking volume is slightly less than in hot weather conditions.
• During competition it is recommended to use LIQUID ENERGY GELS, as these gels do not require chewing and therefore do not hinder breathing as much. Furthermore, due to the high sugar concentration the gels practically cannot freeze, unlike bars.
• OAT PACK or CEREAL ENERGY BARS are recommended for amateur athletes who don't fight for seconds and like to eat solid food on the cross-country ski slope. These tasty bars provide long-lasting energy. Although they remain easier to chew than most bars, even at sub-zero temperatures, they should still be worn close to the body.
• An alternative to bars or gels is offered by the POWER GUMS fruit gums, which are relatively cold-resistant and therefore easy to chew, convenient and can be taken in portions. Besides 58 g carbohydrates they also contain 150 mg caffeine (approx. 1 ½ cups of coffee) per 10 pieces.

Tips for ambitious competitors
With increasing exercise duration, fatigue increases and the ability to coordinate and concentrate decreases. However, in a technically demanding sport such as cross-country skiing, clean and economical technology is of great importance, especially at high intensity and increasing competition duration. Therefore, it is recommended to take the ACTIVATOR 200 Caffeine Shot shortly before the start or, depending on the duration of the race, at the latest towards the last hour of competition: The drinking ampoule contains 200 mg caffeine in free form as well as from guarana, mate and green tea.

Fast regeneration
Immediately after the competition it is important to think about the next training session! A high-quality regeneration supplement supplies the body with fluid and electrolytes, fills the glycogen stores and helps to regenerate the muscle damage caused by exertion. Ideally suitable: PRO RECOVERY. The highly professional regeneration product with protein and carbohydrates is lactose-free and contains no artificial sweeteners. To be prepared with water.

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Author: Remo Jutzeler
Ing. Applied Food Sciences UAS
MAS Nutrition & Health ETHZ