Trends & Features

Protein powers the dark days of training

Winter is coming and it’s going to get dark, cold, wet and miserable outside.

The nice sunny runs and brisk autumn outside exercise sessions will soon be a thing of the past.

So what happens now? Well simple – the warmth of the gym is calling. And with that in mind, Dr Rob Child looks at what products can help power through a tough training period Dr Child, Science in Sport’s Chief Scientific Officer, is using his vast knowledge in biochemistry and his experience in working with some of the world’s top athletes to bring the latest advances in nutrition to SiS products.

He spent many years at the cutting edge of research, before moving to elite sport and working in swimming, sailing, boxing and triathlon and is currently the performance biochemist for Team Katusha, one of the world’s top cycling teams.

So Dr Child knows how to get the best out of training sessions and what products to use to fuel athletes to their goals.

He said: “In the northern hemisphere winters are cooler and athletes tend to drink less during training.

“This can make dehydration a genuine possibility.

“So hydration during and after training is still important, especially if further training needs to be performed the same day, or in subsequent days.

“Reduced fluid intakes during training results in a bigger energy requirement from energy bars, protein bars and gels

“Team Sky actually use SiS’s industry-leading Whey20 protein gel during rides, to reduce muscle breakdown and improve recovery.

“These benefits are equally important to recreational athletes, particularly during periods of hard training.

“Whey20 has made it even easier for athletes to reach their body composition goals as it contains 20g of high quality protein in ready to eat format, but with less than 2g of carbohydrate.”

Whey20 has very high levels of branch chain amino acids in a convenient format and is innovative in its field as it doesn’t have to be refrigerated.

Child added: “In terms of going to the gym it would be an ideal thing to stick in your bag and use immediately after the training session. “You could, if you are really going out to build muscle, take half before training and half during training, then take another one afterwards.

“Which would be 40g of protein, which is what a lot of the body building or the muscle building guys do.

“So it’s quite a versatile product and I think it is going to create a new category within the industry.

“During winter training Rego is still needed for recovery and the range of vitamins it provides are important to help athletes stay healthy in the winter months, especially vitamins D and C.

“In the early part of winter many athletes do additional sports activities with their regular sport.

“This often includes gym workouts, weight training and skiing, while the athlete focuses on strength and power, particularly in the core.

“In the latter part of winter most athletes reduce body fat, in preparation for the competitive season.

“SIS’s high protein products are perfect for building strength and power and reducing body fat in the winter months. “SIS Whey protein, SIS Advanced Isolate can be used between meals and by varying the amount of carbohydrate consumed athletes can gain muscle and/or lose fat.”

At the Rio Olympics SIS fuelled an incredible 34 Olympic medals and work very closely with elite athletes.

However, after already working with elite athletes from around the world, it wasn’t the opportunity of working with Olympic athletes that attracted Child to SiS.

He said: “It was the ethics of the company.
“They were very thorough on drug testing and that’s an area where I have been responsible for all the teams I have been involved in to ensure that the supplements riders take, and have access to, have been drug screened.

“It is a complete headache if you can’t trust the products.

“I simply wouldn’t supply them to an athlete, there is simply too much at risk.

“SiS screen all the raw ingredients, which is actually the most sensitive and the most thorough way to ensuring the products don’t have any illegal contaminants in them.

“They also swab the lines and test the final products and probably have one of the most thorough drug screening programmes in the industry.

“But they also haven’t been swayed by fad ingredients, which a lot of companies will stick in for a few years, because it is the buzz thing.

“The final thing was the team and the structure that they have. “They are involved in doing research trials on their products, they have close links with academia and with the athletes.

“So they actually use athlete feedback a lot, in terms of where they think the opportunities are in the market and develop products to meet the needs of athletes or for recreational riders as well.”

The SIS community is very diverse and has expanded from cycling, running and triathlon to strength and power sports such as boxing, rowing, gymnastics and swimming.

Dr Child has worked with cycling teams Cervelo, MTN Qhubeka and Katusha.

He studied for a PhD at Wolverhampton University, the leading muscle damage research centre in the country, Liverpool University School of Medicine and University College Chichester, the leading sports science university in the country.

He said: “I moved away from medicine because even though you could do hi-tech stuff the problem was you couldn’t do any work with athletes.

“So I learnt all my biochemistry skills in medicine and during my PhD and then went to work on athletes to do stuff on altitude training, muscle adaptation, antioxidants and all sorts of stuff.

“Basically, it had given me the tools to answer the questions that needed to be answered in the sports world.”

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