In this period of social distancing, the lifestyle of many athletes around the world has changed radically, especially for those familiar with outdoor cardio activities such as long runs or cycling sessions. Globally, the situation is slowly improving, giving us hope to resume our beloved sporting habits as soon as possible.
Cyclists and runners have focused their attention on targeted and quality exercises thanks to treadmills, smart trainers and indoor bikes, so advanced in technology that users can barely tell the difference between machine and outdoor movements. Every time we train in the comfort of a closed environment, we undoubtedly find innumerable advantages, choosing for example the temperature we like the most, but have we ever taken into account that windy conditions while exercising outdoor lower our body temperature? During this lock-down period, our body has experienced new habits and adapted to new circumstances.
We asked for more insights to Iader Fabbri, nutritionist and biologist at the Italian National Cycling Nationals who counts among his clients world-famous and Olympic athletes, but also ordinary people in search of maximum psycho-physical performance and their personal balance index, a reasoned method to achieve goals and adapt to their food tastes.
The main emotional and physical effects during quarantine
The emotional aspect of quarantine has taken its toll on the condition of athletes: for those who had an active life before, it has been very challenging to stay at home. Athletic and dynamic people have a real need to return to their activities: this inactive period and the quarantine “test” have been quite demanding for many, or perhaps for everyone: Sport and movement are crucial to one’s psychophysical health.
We’ve gone through the fear of a sudden stop at the beginning of the quarantine, to the habit of letting go of one’s home routine. Many people – explains – wondered if they had found the desire to wear something different besides a suit or comfortable clothing.
Most likely, the lower loads of cardio training have changed the fitness habits of many which, in turn, have pushed active individuals to react differently to such a sudden variation. Assessing what many of my patients and acquaintances have done, I’ve come to realize that the lockdown has reduced the overall aerobic work volumes but has given the possibility, if time allowed, to increase training frequency and intensity.
To many sportspeople, especially amateurs, this phase will actually bring a real benefit because many individuals have started to think about their physical wellness. The lockdown has made you think about your lifestyle and nutrition. Others, on the other hand, will come out of the quarantine more fatigued than before because they have trained more than necessary, fearing to lose their condition.
The advice: for an effective and safe resumption of training, it is necessary to take 15 days to resume one’s rhythm without overdoing it to avoid injuries or other setbacks.
Concentration and dietary rules to return to the new normality
Eating habits in quarantine have changed: It’s not uncommon to self-indulge in food by approaching the fridge and/or the pantry. With the progressive loosening of the restrictive measures, the advice is to return to a new normality also at a nutritional level, avoiding quarantine foods and focusing on a targeted selection of products at the time of purchase.
To start again, we should remove all the food we ingested as emotional “reward” from the pantry. The important thing now, he explains, is to focus on shopping properly, without looking for satisfaction in quarantine goods. Training-wise, we should get back to pre-quarantine workloads, but without the anxiety to recover quickly. This requires athletes to have more discipline while still keeping in mind pre-set goals.
The lockdown has pushed active people to reflect on how important wellness and its maintenance is through proper nutrition.The lockdown has pushed active people to reflect on how important wellness and its maintenance is through proper nutrition. Balancing your plate not in terms of “how much you eat” must take second place to “what you eat” and to the hormonal effects that this “thing” generates, he concludes.
A good food base should not only start with fruit and vegetables but also with a good dose of noble proteins in the three main meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Iader Fabbri, sportsman and nutritionist
A cycling enthusiast, Iader trains with MyCycling, the training solution for indoor cycling that offers a high-tech smart trainer, a dedicated app with customized programs and a network of professional coaches able to follow and develop a progressive training routine tailored to each user.
Like many cyclists, Iader uses the rollers to train during the cold months or when the situation does not allow it. Today, thanks to the situation, mycycling has become a fundamental indoor training tool: in winter I also train during the week, I find a short and quality training very useful, but often I also include exercises with functional tools that interval the cycling session.