Today I’m going to be discussing Chris Froome’s Grand Tour winning diet. Now, all the data was revealed by BBC Sport in a recent article published on the 4th of July 2018. What does it take in terms of diet, in terms of fueling, to be a Grand Tour champion? In this article, I’m going to summarize it into five key points.
How much does he eat?
One thing that I noticed from the article is that for a less extreme stage, an easier stage like stage 11 for example, he would have a smaller breakfast of 524 kcal, whereas for an extreme stage like stage 19 which was really mountainous stage, he would have large breakfast of 996 kcal, so double the size of the breakfast. What these pro riders typically do is all have their breakfast two to three hours before the start of the stage so that their lungs have the capacity to expand and that they can get as much oxygen as possible into their bloodstream. On the most extreme day of the Grand Tour, Chris is having 6500 kcal and 1.3 kg of that is coming from carbohydrates. This is what that looks like in terms of Thai powdered brown sugar. This stuff is absolutely delicious!
Carbohydrates per hour on the bike
Another point that I got from the BBC article is that Chris has up to 96 grams of carbohydrates per hour during the stage, and less than 2% of calories from the fuel that he takes in come from fat, so he is having mostly simple sugars during the stage, and this allows him to be strong all day long.
How much percentage of Chris Froome’s calories is coming from carbohydrates, protein and fat? For an extreme stage like stage 19, it’s 79% carbohydrates, 9% protein and 12% fat. So really low fat, really low protein when the pressure gets turned on. And for a less extreme stage like stage 11, it’s 66% calories from carbohydrates, 23% from protein and 11% from fat. So, for both stages, whether it’s less extreme or more extreme, still a low percentage of calories coming from fat (11 to 12%).
Another interesting point in the article and something unconventional that most of the other teams don’t do is the fueling strategy that Chris uses for the stage. For stage 19 for example, they break it down into calorie consumption or the carbohydrate consumption for every 20 minutes of the stage and all the sections of it (a flatter section, the downhill section and all the climbs). During the climbing section, he will have more grams of carbohydrates every 20 minutes than he would for the downhill section and flat section.
For the carbohydrates that Chris consumes, he’s having mostly refined carbohydrates in the form of syrup, rice overall sweets, rocket fuel (which is a mixture of maltodextrin and fructose), juice, jam, pancakes, honey and gels. He is having rocket fuel and gels during the stage and off the bike he is having all these other things that I mentioned. The reason that he has refined carbohydrates is just because the body can digest and assimilate it into glycogen most effectively.
Finally my only criticism of his diet is that he can make it a lot more effective, he can increase his carbohydrate consumption by going vegan and getting nutrients directly from the source instead of filtering them through the animal products. What I mean by that is the nutrients that animal products contain come directly from plants anyway, so it’s better just to get them directly from the source instead of getting them indirectly through animal products. Another reason is because animal products place a toxic load on your body, the body has to work a lot harder, it has to spend a lot more energy to process the animal products, whereas plant products require a lot less energy to process. Furthermore, animal products have toxic elements like saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein and also biomagnification of environmental pollutants. All in all, a vegan diet is definitely the way to go and I’m willing to put $10,000 on it that if Chris Froome goes vegan his performance is at least going to stay the same. And his recovery between the stages is going to be even better.