As a Cross-Country Mountain Bike World Champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner, Evie Richards is one of the most talked-about off-road cyclists in the world, but success has sometimes come at the expense of good health. Here she discusses the sports nutrition that helps keep her at her best during competition.
🕒 4 min read
Q. How has sports nutrition helped your performance?
I think race day nutrition is so important. I think it cannot be overlooked at all. Sometimes when I was younger I never used to fuel very well, and I think changing this has helped my performance massively.
So making sure I'm getting enough carbs during the race, and making sure I'm recovering after with a shake and cherry juice, means that I have a really good race and am recovered and ready to go for the next one.
It's super important now that we have short track on a Friday and the long race on a Sunday to make sure we're really hitting that recovery.
Also, at the start of the year I did a blood test and was found to be deficient in iron. I tried to eat lots of spinach and iron-rich foods to try and get my iron levels up, but I couldn't manage it through nutrition.
As I was going to compete at altitude, I decided the only way to get my levels up was to have an iron supplement. It's really important when you're going to a high-altitude location to make sure you have good iron levels, because if you're low on iron you can end up quite fatigued.
Stomach-friendly Iron Bisglycinate with B Vitamins, Vitamin C and Copper
- 14mg of stomach-friendly iron bisglycinate (100% iron NRV)
- B vitamins to support red blood cell formation
- Copper and vitamin C to aid iron absorption into the body
Q. What supplements do you take leading up to a race, during the race and after?
I take the same supplements as I do in the week. The only things I normally add in are the Performance Greens and the cherry juice. Performance Greens are for when I'm not getting all the nutrients I need – maybe because we have limited access to food when travelling.
100% pure sour cherry juice concentrate
- Contains approx. 100 whole cherries per sachet
- Naturally high levels of anthocyanins and flavonoids
- Commonly used by professional athletes to aid recovery
Protein shakes are key post-race and I only really use them at the races; I never really have to use them at home because I can always get food. During a race week it's not always easy to get access to a full meal straight away, so that's when I'll use a recovery shake afterwards.
I use the cherry juice just for that extra bit of recovery and for sleep. Especially after the short track race, I really struggle to sleep, and as we need to recover quickly I tend to use a cherry gel straight after I finish the race to try and help me sleep and recover.
Q. What supplement can't you do without on race day?As I mentioned, Performance Cherry is key. Post-race it's so important for me to ensure I recover well ahead of the next one. I couldn't do without the cherry juice – it really helps, especially when there's races at altitude and I'm struggling to sleep. I just feel like for me, they're the best way to help me sleep and help my recovery.
A good night's sleep improves my stress levels and mood, especially with back-to-back competitions, and allows me to be at my best for the next event, which often comes round soon after the short track.
Q. What are your top pieces of advice about diet and supplements?
My main piece of advice would be to always try and get as much as you can through nutrition. I've got a healthy diet and I'm really interested in making sure I'm eating clean and fuelling myself properly.
But I also think you can't get everything through your diet. And that's when you should use a tested, trusted brand to help make sure you're not deficient in anything, and to help you tick off all those nutrition boxes. So yes, make sure that you're trying to do everything through your diet, and if you can't, use a tested supplement brand that's Informed Sport-approved.