With World’s Toughest Mudder approaching fast, it’s important to keep your nutrition in check. You’ve got to eat like the best, to be the best, after all. There are certain dietary strategies that can mean the difference between a top placement and a ride on the struggle bus come race day, or at least according to Stefanie Bishop, 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder Champion. Check out her tips for eating like a Mudder trying to win WTM 2017 below.
1. Maintain Your Frame
At this point in a World’s Toughest Mudder training program, it’s time to start tapering, or decreasing training intensity in order to give your body time to recover so it can perform optimally at Lake Las Vegas. But during this time, it’s crucial not to gain too much weight.
“Watch what you’re eating during your taper, making sure your input doesn’t exceed your output or else you’re going to show up at the start line a few pounds heavier,” says Stefanie Bishop, 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder Champion. “If you’ve been training for 2 months at a certain weight and all of a sudden you gain 3-5 pounds, that can have a huge impact on your body, not only for running but for grip strength.”
But dramatic weight loss isn’t beneficial either, so don’t go on a crash diet to get lighter before the race. “You don’t want to lose much weight either because that’s stress on your body and likely means you’re not fueling with the proper nutrients,” Bishop says. “If someone my size tried to shed 5-6 pounds the week leading into WTM, that’s a really bad idea. I’d have to starve myself to lose that much weight in a week.”
Bishop says maintaining your training weight, regardless of body type, is key leading into WTM.
2. Know Your Body
Bishop doesn’t change her diet much year-round: she always eats nutrient-dense foods. As a vegetarian, her main protein sources are quinoa, pumpkin seeds, nut butters, black beans, chick peas, cauliflower (which has 6 grams of protein per serving), and farro. “I try to eat 25 grams of protein per meal or snack,” Bishop adds. “I supplement some of my protein with a Vega protein shake.”
With the World’s Toughest event less than a week away, Bishop has been training less than 10 hours a week during her tapering period. She says that she’s been eating like anyone who goes to the gym, opting for sweet potatoes, spinach, other green vegetables, avocados, and avocado toast.
She’ll actually eat sweet potatoes during the WTM event itself, too.
The only diet change occurs after WTM. “The only time my diet change is after WTM when I give myself a week to eat whatever I want,” says Bishop. “Aside from that, I’m very consistent. My mood is dependent on my diet and I don’t respond well to processed sugar.”
As for hydration, Bishop drinks 1-1.5 gallons of water per day, sometimes adding Vega Hydrator or Himalayan sea salt for extra sodium. Sodium is the first electrolyte to go during long periods of exercise, so when you’re training for a 24-hour event, those added electrolytes are crucial.
3. Ditch The Sweets
A week removed from Halloween, Bishop suggests laying off any leftover candy for the next week. “You can grab a few of those snack sized candy bars and get carried away,” Bishop says. “All of a sudden you can be 4 pounds heavier on the morning of WTM.”
For Mudders flying into Las Vegas, NV, drinking one cup of water for every hour in flight is a good rule of thumb, according to Bishop. During the event, Bishop suggests eating more than just energy gels: have some real whole foods ready to go too.
For more race day tips from Bishop, check out her Ultimate World’s Toughest Mudder Packing List.