Guest Post – Basecamp Nutrition creators Michelle and Tom

Guest Post – Basecamp Nutrition creators Michelle and Tom

This post is a little different instead of a story of adventure I asked Michelle Reed creator of Basecamp Nutrition, bad ass mountain bike racer, and of course super team mate for the Bike Trans Alp to share some nutritional wisdom and recipe selection to getting those pedals turning through the winter.

But first.. an introduction from team Basecamp.

Hi everyone, my name is Michelle.

I am a South African currently living and working in Germany. I am a qualified BSc (Hons) Nutritional Scientist and currently completing a Nutritional Therapist diploma. I have a great passion for living a healthy lifestyle and helping others create the same for themselves and their families.

My aim is to further my studies to become a sports nutritionist and to always keep up with the latest and greatest in the world of nutrition, to educate those who require my services. 

Remember health is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.


Hey guys, my name is Tom.

I am currently living and studying in Bayreuth, Germany. I am doing my masters in Sports Economics with a focus on competitive sports. 

As a competitive cyclist, currently riding for a German mountain bike team, Kreidler, I have gained a lot of experience regarding what to eat and what to avoid.

With all the knowledge Michelle has and my experience as an athlete, we hope to present you with a lot of great recipes that will support your healthy lifestyle.

Never lose the fun when cooking and eating! The recipes presented here should only give you an idea. You can (and should) adapt them to your very individual taste.

Healthy recipes for winter training

 In my (Michelle’s) opinion an athletes performance revolves around 3 aspects; head strength, physical fitness and nutrition. Nutrition is one of the easiest ways to help improve performance and keep your body well conditioned.

Training through winter is never an easy process and it is the time of the year when many are preparing for their upcoming season. Come rain or snow training comes first to ensure you are earning that 1% over your competitors. The long hours in the saddle are accumulating to set up a strong base for the new season.

With intense training and a change in conditions, your body is put to the test in more ways than one, which makes taking care of it highly essential. This means supporting its processes in order to ensure that you are recovering quickly and not catching any colds along the way.

As a natural process with the increase in training, comes an increase in cortisol and inflammation. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is not only secreted at the sign of a stressor but also during intense and prolonged exercise. This natural increase has a tendency to lower immunity, which is why during this time many athletes battle with illness.

In order to help support your body by strengthening immunity, aiding digestion and absorption of nutrients and regulating inflammation, it is important to eat foods that hold the properties to do so.

Here are the links to our healthy recipes to keep you going through winter.

Breakfast – Warming raspberry oats

Lunch – Broccoli salad

Dinner – Pumpkin soup

Sprint Training Session

Sprint Training Session

Hi guys and girls this week I thought I’d share with you my Monday training session plan maybe have a go at it yourself.

You will need:

  • A bike
  • not to have eaten for an hour or two previously
  • a bottle of water and a snack for when you finish (banana or dates would be my choice)

Find a flattish road where there are no parked cars, tight bends or traffic lights to deal with you need to be able to give it your all safely.

Start by warming up for a good 20 minutes working in and out of the saddle to really warm those legs up.

Interval training is all about balancing high-intensity bursts of speed with recovery time. Not only will they help you improve aerobic capacity and speed, the post workout calorie burn is great. Remember to have something nutritious and protein packed for when you get home.

Start with 30 second (building up to 1 min over a period of 6 weeks) all-out effort. Then have 1 minute rest – repeat this 4 to 8 times. (building up over 6 weeks so not to overload too soon.)

After your reps have a 4 minute recovery spin keep your legs moving at a steady pace to help flush out the lactic acid.

Repeat this set 4 times.

After your final sprint change to a sub maximal effort for 5 to 10 minutes then have 10 minutes recovery.

Repeat this set one more time.

Recovery ride home, make sure you have a good meal / protein shake full of vitamins and protein to help your body recover. Also this session will make you hungry have some nuts (walnuts are great), blueberries and other healthy snacks on hand to stop you reaching for anything naughty.

I hope you enjoy this training session let me know how you get on.

Training with Training Peaks

Training with Training Peaks

This week I started my new Training Peaks training plan. I have edited it slightly so that it fits more inline with training for 24/12 hour endurance racing.

My main training sessions are around 3 to 4 hour session where I have two or three goals for the session.

On Monday my first 3 hour session was a sub-threshold (heart rate between  139 – 147) with tempo (HR between 131 – 138) phases and hard efforts on the hills. I kept my cadence high for this session and pushed hard, harder than I needed to but I felt good and I knew that my body was capable of working a little harder so I decided to go for it! When I got home I had done 64KM in 3 hours which was an okay distance for that time. I had spent 53 mins in my sub-threshold zone and 24 mins in my tempo zone with another big block in my anaerobic capacity zone (HR between  156 – 255) I was pretty tired for the rest of the day but felt happy with my first training session on my new plan.

The rest of the week comprised of a few sessions including going back to Pilates. It was great to be back in a Pilates class and Stacey is a great teacher I left Pilates nearly as tired as I was Monday from thinking about breathing, alignment and working muscles that had been asleep for a while!

Saturday was another big endurance day this time 3 hours with the same goals sub-threshold, give it some on the hills and high cadence. I chose a new route and it turned out to be rather hilly! 1000m of climbing in fact which made for some slow cadence sections and a lot of hard efforts on the hills, these hard efforts were added to, by the fact my bike wouldn’t change down into the small ring, no amount of limit screw fettling seemed to get it changing properly so I gave up and decided I would just use it as an extra training element!

At about 2 hours 40 I was still heading North away from home and made the decision to add on another hour to my ride. It was a beautiful day and I felt strong, the only thing I was running out of was water so a quick stop at a pub to get my bottle refilled kept me on the road for an extra circuit.

I arrived home after 4 hours covering 77.5KM with an average heart rate of 142 and a max of 181 I was really happy with my extra hour and the fact I climbed 1000m. I have only really just started training properly again since the end of February and I know from experience how quickly form drops so to pull off two good long rides in one week has left my feeling super happy.

I recommend Training Peaks to anyone looking to evaluate training it is simple to use and has some great features to help you stay on target and not over train.

Here is a brief outline on what the acronyms and numbers mean:

CTL (Chronic Training Load) is also called Fitness; it is a rolling 42-day average of your daily TSS (Training Stress Score). It indicates how much training load you are currently managing. If your Fitness(CTL) rises you are capable of handling a higher training load and therefore are more fit. If it decreases you are becoming unfit.

Watching this will indicate whether your training is working and you are improving or whether you need to put more in or have a rest day.

TSB (Training Stress Balance) is a way of measuring ‘form’ form is the magic term used for an athlete who is race ready.

Form in Training Peaks is measured by subtracting today’s Fatigue (Acute Training Load, or ATL) from today’s Fitness (Chronic Training Load, or CTL). Both Fatigue and Fitness are expressed as Training Stress Score, or TSS per day (TSS/d). Once the software has done the math, the remainder is your Form (by the way, the resulting Form value is for tomorrow—not for today.) It can be either a negative or a positive number depending on which is greater- Fitness or Fatigue. If Form is negative you are likely to be tired and probably not race ready. If Form is positive then you are probably rested and perhaps on form and ready to race.

If you would like to know more about using Training Peaks they have a brilliant blog or feel free to drop me an email.

The pain you feel today (and likely tomorrow), will be the strength you will feel tomorrow (more likely a few weeks).

The pain you feel today (and likely tomorrow), will be the strength you will feel tomorrow (more likely a few weeks).

For the last three weeks I have been working on my strength in the gym with my personal trainer Steve. After a long time off the bike I needed a way to build up my power and endurance and weight training is great for this.

Yesterday we worked on glute strength, with walking lunges, Bulgarian split squats and hip thrust to name a few.

In most of us today our glutes are not being fired up on a regular basis due to the fact we spend a long time sitting! Even though this is a big muscle group it gets lazy when it’s not used and weight training with exercises like squats, lunges and hip thrusts are a good way to build glute strength.

What’s a glute? The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation and internal rotation of the hip joint. So there pretty important!

Bulgarian split squats work the glute muscles as well as the upper leg muscles. The target muscle is the quadriceps with the gluteus maximus, soleus and adductor magnus working to assist. The hamstring, gastrocnemius, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus all act as stabilizers.

The glute bridge and the hip thrust are very effective, targeted and versatile exercises designed to activate the gluteal muscles. Being that the glutes are the largest muscle in the body (by surface area), they play an important role in hip movement and stabilization.

Strength training, DOMS and recovery

Strength training, DOMS and recovery

The first week of February signalled a change in my training, after a few weeks of building my cardio back up I made the commitment to get stronger by taking on a personal trainer once a week, to help build muscle. I felt getting the help of a PT would mean I would be pushed out of my comfort zone. I have also in the past found the free weights section in gyms rather daunting with the amount of testosterone being pumped around, I have often found myself gravitating to the machines, or lifting small weights where I feel at more at home. So picking a personal trainer who could help guide me to the exercises I should be doing to gain strength quickly, without injury and also having them there to spot me were important considerations in making this decision. One that seems to be paying off (now two weeks into my gym plan).

Last Monday the alarm rang at 5:45am and I rolled out of bed made my eggs and Matcha tea whilst feeding Luna (who was not impressed about being up so early), before heading to the gym.

I met Steve the PT at the gym and for the next hour we went through resistance exercises that would make my whole body stronger. As I have mainly concentrated on building my leg strength for years my upper body and back have become weaker so I was keen to work on this area and improve my strength. Steve took me through exercises like tricep dips, press ups and squats with kettle bells to help build my all round strength.

Most of the exercises I am doing use free weights and resistance I think resistance training works especially well for me as I get bored sitting on machines. Resistance training tends to be more dynamic and interesting.

After my PT session there was time for a protein shake, shower and quick change before driving to the office.

I had said to Lauren we would run at lunch, expecting my body to cope with strength training after weeks and weeks off was rather silly on my behalf!

None the less Lauren and I went for a walk/run and I actually felt okay once I was moving, once we had stopped and I was back at my desk it was clear that the running gym combo was maybe too much too soon and three days later I was still suffering with DOMS!

DOMS can occur anywhere in the body that has recently been exposed to unfamiliar or intense physical activity.

After working my whole body in an unfamiliar way there was not a part of me that didn’t ache in some way.

Top DOMS alleviation tips:

  1. Drinking plenty of water
  2. Eating the correct food, protein shake after my workout and then a meal of good carbs, protein and vegetables.
  3. Resting in front of the tele watching Scandal with your legs in the air (insert favourite TV program)

So much for a big training week… This really highlighted to me the importance of resting and eating for recovery. I have been keen to start building up my miles on the bike again in preparation for racing but having decided to also focus on building strength by using the gym I need to work on a better plan of how my training week will be brought together.

I spoke with Steve and we have adjusted my PT sessions slightly as it’s no good going to the gym if it means I can’t do any bike work during the week.

To make sure I recover well from my PT session I have changed my cardio sessions around and will try a short run on Tuesdays, walking Wednesdays and sprint sessions, a long tempo ride Thursday a rest Friday and then long low intensity weekend ride.