Athlete's Corner: Nutrition Tips with Ashton Lambie

USA Cycling National Team member, Ashton Lambie, took the unconventional route to the Velodrome. An accomplished gravel racer, Lambie discovered his capacity for track racing last year, with his first year in track cycling culminating with two silver medals and a gold medal at the 2017 USA Track National Championships.

As Ashton heads to his first UCI Track World Championships next week, fueling up for the competition is a huge priority. We had the opportunity to catch up with Ashton and talk nutrition.

USA CYCLING (USAC): A huge component of being in top form as an elite athlete is your nutrition. What does your dietary plan look like on a daily basis?

Ashton Lambie (AL): A big component for me is consistency. I eat my meals at 7am, noon, and 6pm every day. I eat a big breakfast (eggs, bacon, avocado, and toast, or oatmeal) almost every day. I eat a lot of protein and fiber and as homemade as possible. I bake oatmeal bread for the toast every week, which is a good start! The rest of the day varies depending on my riding schedule, but lots of water, often something light like soup or salad for lunch. Protein drinks, nuts, and bars throughout the day, and something a little more substantial, usually with meat, for dinner. I usually finish with some kind of protein snack before bed.

USAC: Why did you begin putting a heavier emphasis on ensuring you were properly fueled? 

AL: I started getting into gravel racing about 4 years ago. Gravel rides are all about endurance. The races are usually over 100 miles, so I was doing 15-20+ hours a week riding. You can't go out for a 5 hour ride without a plan. The Dirty Kanza is a 200 mile gravel race at the beginning of June. The year I did it, it was over 80 degrees and the wind was against us for the last 100 miles of the loop. I ran out of water and had to share with someone. When you're riding for that long, gels and cookies (even my wife's) just stop tasting good, so my wife, Margaret, would meet me at the checkpoints with a variety food (pb&j wraps, turkey, cornbread muffins (Corn-fed!,) in addition to more water and mixed drinks. Doing gravel really made me focus on managing my nutrition and hydration well, because if you don't, you're on your own.

USAC: On heavy training days or race days, what is the most important component of your nutrition regimen?

 AL: Again, consistency is important. I try to train with everything I'm going to race with, so that I know how I will work. I don't ever throw in a new caffeine gel or something the day of the race. Whatever I train with is what I race with. I know how my body will feel, then.

USAC: What is the hardest thing to keep on top of when it comes to nutrition?

AL: I think getting enough protein is the biggest issue. If you're a normal person, an egg is a lot of protein, but for the amount we need as athletes, an egg doesn't amount to much. It can be really difficult to get as much as we need, especially since protein shakes get boring.

USAC: What advice would you give someone who is trying to figure out their nutrition plan to fuel performance?

AL: I think doing a food diary is really helpful. Even if you don't do it regularly and don't know precise amounts, it will give you a much better sense of what you consume. Did you eat 3 donuts at work today? That's an extra meal you don't remember happened. The opposite is true too. You might feel like you got a lot of protein because you had a shake, but keeping a diary might show you that that was the only protein you had that day. A diary can really help you keep track and make small adjustments that lead to a much more balanced nutritional profile.

Ashton currently resides in Lawrence, KS with his wife Margaret who keeps him fueled with homemade cookies. To cheer for him and the rest of Team USA on, follow him on Instagram and don’t forget to follow #apeldoorn2018 on social media February 28th-March 4th to get the latest updates on the UCI Track World Championships.