Test your nutrition and recovery knowledge

(Answers at the bottom of the page.)

Dehydration causes the blood to thicken, which increases the workload on the heart.  To ensure performance is not impaired due to dehydration, we should:

a.  lose no more than 2% of our body weight in fluid.

b.  drink one bottle per hour, more if it’s hot out.

c.  drink to thirst, but know that thirst can sometimes be suppressed under strenuous conditions.

d.  a and c. 


Overall, we want our diet to consist of high quality carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs).  There are occasions, however, when it’s good for working athletes to consume easily digestible, low fiber carbs. 
That time is when? 


True or False:
Consuming healthy fats, such as olive oil, fish, avocados and nuts helps to control hunger levels. 


True or False: 
Skipping meals causes the body to secrete stress hormones, which transitions the body into muscle-burning, rather than fat-burning, metabolism. 


Foods that increase inflammation and interfere with recovery are:

a.  processed food and high sugar foods

b.  alcohol 

c.  red meat

d.  a and b


Common deficiencies found in endurance athletes residing in the Pacific Northwest are:

a.  vitamin D

b.  magnesium

c.  iron (in female endurance athletes)

d.  all of the above


The best sources of protein for endurance athletes are:


Which of the following elevates cortisol (stress hormone) levels?

a.  light (this includes light from electronic devices)

b.  aerobic training lasting longer than two hours

c.  coffee

d.  all of the above


Longer aerobic training sessions elevate cortisol levels within the body.  While cortisol in healthy amounts is a good thing, too much can damage muscle tissue even after a workout has ceased.  The most effective way to reduce cortisol levels after training, return our body to a healthy metabolic state, and improve recovery time is to:

a.  consume a primarily carbohydrates snack within a 30-minute window after training.

b.  consume a recovery snack immediately, then consume a full, balanced meal (with carb, protein and fat) within 3 hours of training. 

c.  consume a sports drink as quickly as possible after training—after all, sports drinks are formulated for easy absorbtion and to promote quick recovery.   


The most important electrolytes to consume during exercise are:

a. sodium and potassium

b. sodium alone

c. potassium and magnesium

d. the body needs all the electrolytes during exercise


Georgo is racing in a 3-day stage race this weekend.  He knows that recovery and nutrition choices play a huge part in determining performance outcome in multi-day events.  To make the most of his recovery, Georgo needs to make sure he:

a.  starts each stage well fueled so he mitigates the drain on his body’s fuel stores.

b.  focuses on carbohydrate and protein intake immediately after each stage in order to replenish glycogen stores and repair damaged muscle tissue.

c.  rehydrates immediately.

d. limits his alcohol intake to 0-1 drinks per day, allowing his liver to replenish glycogen stores. 

e.  all of the above. 


Vincenzo is struggling on climbs during team rides.  He and his coach discuss the issue and determine that Vincenzo could healthily improve his strength-to-weight ratio by increasing his functional threshold power by 5 watts and losing 5lbs of excess body weight. To lose weight while not compromising his performance, Vincenzo should:

 a.  increase his Zone 2 mileage by 10%. 

b.  get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, between the hours of 10pm and 7am. 

c.  carefully balance his high and low-intensity training through the week so that he is managing cortisol levels.

d.  reach a caloric deficit of at least 350 calories per day and limit fat intake.

e.   b and c


It is advantageous for endurance athletes to optimize their “metabolic efficiency” by burning fat as fuel—this helps to conserve precious glycogen stores during long rides.  To improve metabolic efficiency, one should:

a.  reduce caloric intake during long rides so the body learns to tap into fat stores and burn fat as fuel. 

b.  eat breakfast each day, then eat frequent, small meals throughout the day and never become too hungry.

c.  consume at least 35 grams of protein during meals. 


Maxamillion is suffering from muscle cramps on long, hot training rides.  He also has trouble getting his muscles to relax at night, which impairs his sleep.  Maxamillion should:

a.  increase his sodium intake during long rides and take an Epsom salt bath each night.   

b.  try a magnesium supplement at night.

c.  make sure his bottle fluids include sodium and potassium. 

d.  b and c. 


Andy G. is struggling in the flats.  He and his coach determine he should increase his power output and work to gain 2lbs of muscle through the winter.  To aid in that weight gain, Andy should:

a.  eat at least 60 grams of protein per day, preferably before bedtime.

b.  eat 20-25 grams of protein, spaced out in small meals throughout the day.

c.  incorporate strength training into his training program. 

d.  b and c.


True or False:

Sleep deprivation decreases our body’s ability to absorb nutrients.


Answers: d; during and after training; true; true; d; d; lean meats and lean dairy; d; b; a; e; e; b; d; d; True! 

This quiz is adapted from a performance clinic given to a men's cycling racing team.  For more information on hosting a clinic catered specifically for your club or team, click here.