Introduction to Sports Nutrition for Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing as a competitive sport typically demands performance in the anaerobic and aerobic-lactacic range as well as in strength endurance. The emphasis changes depending on the duration and terrain. In the case of long distances, the aerobic performance components become more significant. In addition, there is also the influence of altitude with the concomitant lower oxygen content. The challenge on the nutrition side is not only to cover the energy and fluid requirements, but also to consider the practicability of foods and drinks that can be easily consumed in the cold. Finally, regeneration is crucial, since performing and living at altitude prolongs the required recovery time.
For those who practice cross-country skiing as a sporting hobby, conveniently transportable snacks such as gels, bars or sports drinks suffice to supply themselves independently from the hip bag. For hydration and energy supply, the same carbohydrate-containing sports drinks (» sports drinks) are used in cross-country skiing as in classic endurance sports. SPONSER® therefore recommends COMPETITION®, which is acid-free, mildly flavoured, hypotonic and therefore very well tolerated. During more intense tours, LIQUID ENERGY carbohydrate gels (» gels) are ideal for any energy shortage. They remain liquid even at very low temperatures and do not freeze. Unlike bars, they do not have to be chewed and therefore do not hinder breathing. Otherwise, easily digestible, concentrated energy bars (» bars) such as the HIGH ENERGY BAR can serve as substitute meals. However, bars quickly become hard in the cold and should therefore be carried close to the body. Of course, only those without chocolate coating. OAT PACK oat bars are also well suited for easy cross-country skiing tours with breaks.
Skating or classic cross-country skiing competitions, as mentioned above, involve a versatile range of exertion, depending on the terrain and duration. The lower oxygen content at altitude further increases the physical load and requires a high acid tolerance. The latter is performance-limiting in cross-country skiing and makes products such as LACTAT BUFFER and BETA ALANINE very appropriate competition recommendations with regards to maximum performance. SPONSER® also offers special PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZERS in its range, such as NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2 or RED BEET VINITROX, which support the nitroxide (NO) (» blood flow) metabolism. These have a vasodilatory effect, increase microcirculation and thus have a positive influence on performance but also on the ability to recover, especially under oxygen deficiency. The nitroxide metabolism is very important for acclimatisation to and recovery from a stay and performance at high altitude with reduced oxygen content.
Endurance performance, as well as alertness and concentration, have been shown to be increased by caffeine (» caffeine). This is particularly interesting for cross-country skiers due to the high sport-specific technical requirements and with regard to movement economy. Since people react differently to caffeine, the use of the ACTIVATOR should be tested in different dosages. SPONSER® offers also MENTAL FOCUS, which is formulated without caffeine, especially for cognitive and mental performance.
To promote recovery, protein-carbohydrate shakes such as RECOVERY DRINK or PRO RECOVERY are recommended. These products are available for milk or water preparation and in multi-portion cans or sachets, selectable according to preference and use. Winter sports enthusiasts and frequent travellers also pay special attention to infection prophylaxis and strengthening the body's immune defences (» immune system). This cannot always be implemented optimally. The risk of contracting infections is significantly increased for travelling athletes, in training camps and at crowd events. In addition to a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle, the multi-nutrient preparation IMMUNOGUARD provides the athlete with important immuno-active substances.