Cutting fiber on event day?

A few podcasts ago you mentioned cutting fiber the evening before an event. I was hoping you could elaborate on that. Is this because of water retention?
Do you tweak your pre event meals regarding fiber? If so could you provide an example of what you might eat and what you are looking to limit? I wonder how this might affect the current winning in the kitchen ingredients I am eating.
Hope you’re both well at Haute Route!

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hey @kmscott2438! thanks for a great question.

This is a super individual issue, as some people can handle a ton of fiber and others not so much around exercise, as the gut adapts to breaking it down depending on what you eat, which then changes the makeup of your gut microbiome, etc. But the basic rule of thumb is to reduce the fiber down in the days leading up to a major event or training session for a few reasons.

  1. fiber is essential for gut health and keeping our bowel movements regular and of good quality. This isn’t as important during a race, as excessive pooping isn’t ideal while you’re on the bike for obvious reasons! Cut it down to avoid producing too much bulk in your stool.
  2. Fiber is indigestible by us, and tends to fill up the gut without providing any energy. So this is a two fold problem around competition. Having a lot of fiber means we’re not filling up the tank with energy-dense foods, but also feeling full as fiber increases satiety. It can also take a bit longer for our gut flora to digest depending on the person, and so may cause GI distress and indigestion when exercising (try this for yourself by eating a big salad before a ride - no fun)
  3. fiber also retains water and pulls it into the digestive system to digest and excrete waste, thus requiring more fluid intake, which is why those of us on higher fiber diets tend to require more general water consumption. Obviously this has implications for athletes as we go through fluids at a faster rate, so dropping the fiber can help spare some of that for when we need it!

Hope that helps! Focus on white rice and other simpler foods right before the race, and experiment. The gut can adapt but definitely don’t overdo it. You gotta win in the kitchen at the macro level and then when it’s gametime, drop the fiber down a bit.

ps - in case you haven’t seen it, check out my TEDx talk on all things fiber :wink: