Nutritionist Team Jumbo-Visma
Martijn Redegeld, performance nutritionist of Team Jumbo-Visma.
Who are you and what is a fact that few people know about you?
I'm Martijn Redegeld, the nutritionist of the Jumbo-Visma team. I guide all the riders of the WorldTour team concerning nutrition. On a daily basis, I try to make everything that has something to do with nutrition as optimal as possible for the team. Our Food coach app is an important tool to help with this. During this summer time I have a lot in contact with the riders to prepare them for the races in which they participate. What few people know about me is that I like to sin from time to time. Everyone thinks that because of my work I only eat super healthy food, but I also enjoy a savory snack every now and then.
What is the biggest challenge of the team of nutritionists of the Jumbo-Visma team at the moment?
Everything is currently dedicated to the main goal of the team, to win the Tour de France. The main challenge is to get all the preparations come together at the right time. Besides an optimal preparation of all riders, which we started months ago, the logistics are also very important, how do we get all the groceries from the Netherlands and make sure that the chefs have everything they need? The groceries come for 100% of the Jumbo in the Netherlands, because we know exactly what the riders take in with our trusted products, and so we can fine-tune our (individual) nutrition strategies. That is why we plan in advance what the riders will eat, and based on this list an order is made for Jumbo that they will deliver. On both rest days of the tour there will be another delivery. Two chefs are responsible for preparing the food during the tour. We take the kitchen of the Chefs with us where they work, which is a full truck with a full catering kitchen built inside. In this way, we can keep track of everything the riders eat from start to finish of the race and we can keep an eye on the hygiene, especially in COVID time. Ultimately, the challenge is that the riders are optimally prepared and have the confidence that they can ride as hard as possible.
With warm weather it is a challenge to stay well hydrated. How do you make sure that the riders drink enough (water)?
If it is extremely hot and the riders have to work hard, a rider can lose up to 2 to 2.5 liters per hour. Drinking enough is what we insist on to make up for the moisture loss. Drinking during cycling is a particular logistical challenge. How do you get the water that riders lose back to them? We need to plan where the bottles are distributed and whether we fill them with water or sports drink. A good plan for this prevents losing moisture that has a negative impact on the performances.
When the riders get off the bike they always have a deficit of 1 to a few liters. It is impossible to refill the total shortage on the bike. Actually, we need to make sure that their moisture level fully is fully in balance before they go to sleep in the evening, especially with a multi-day stage race it is important to start at zero and not with a deficit. Therefore, the riders are actively coached to drink evenly during the day. So that they don't drink 2 liters of water in one go, but divide it over the day. We try to facilitate this by, for example, preparing a recovery shake immediately after the course, and putting bottled water in every room where they are. B-Better water also plays a role in this, it offers the riders a drink but with a taste. Just a little bit different than regular water.
How much fluid should a Team Jumbo-Visma rider drink per day? And how much should you drink a day if you don't exercise so much?
Riders in the tour drink on normal, not extreme, days easily about 8 liters. On the toughest days, if it is also a bit hot, this can amount to up to 15 liters. In that case, it is, of course, an exceptional achievement that is not for everyone. For an average person who doesn't exercise, you can maintain that it's enough for smaller people to drink 2 liters a day and for larger people 2.5 liters is enough. On hot days, 2.5 litres is no longer enough. You'd better drink an extra glass. Especially if you know you're going to exercise later in the day, drinking is just as important as exercising. In addition, you cannot charge your stock indefinitely in advance. Therefore, it is important to continue to drink evenly before exercising, during exercise and after exercise.
For more drinking tips, read the next interview with Martijn 'enough drinking'.