Friday, January 30, 2009

The Drip: Nutrition to Train Harder, Recover Faster, AND Lose Weight!?

I know, I know - sounds like a super-hyped marketing scheme to tantalize you with getting svelte while also encouraging you to open up that wallet. Actually the Drip is a nutrition technique that elite cyclists have been using for years, in one form or another. It's ideal for athletes in large volume base or build periods of their training (i.e. typically right about now).

I've been on and off the Drip for about a month+ and have had excellent results myself. I'm bringing on lots of calories, recovering really well, training hard on back-to-back days, and slowly leaning down.

Here's an excerpt from an article and interview of Alec Donahue I did for Cyclo-CLUB, with a link to the whole thing at the bottom:

Like many cyclists, coming out of the holidays this winter I was faced with perhaps the most common dilemma: I had excess weight to lose, but also wanted to get going with my training. Those two issues don't have the same solution, although they might seem to at first blush. Old school training philosophy would tell me to go out and ride tons and tons of base miles in the form of Long Slow Distance (LSD).

The LSD approach doesn't work for me for two main reasons. #1 -- I work! I just don't have the time to ride 5 to 6 hours a day or 30+ hours a week. #2 -- I'm a firm believer in the theory that the best way to build "base" is by pushing a decent, hard tempo for prolonged Chunks during a ride.

Athletes can't push their bodies very hard when on much of a calorie deficit -- yet that's how one loses weight. Enter the Drip…

The Mechanics: You're constantly bringing on (or "dripping") calories all day long in liquid form and eating small meals every couple hours (2-300 calories each) on top of that. The liquid mix consists of a good quality protein and some form of sugar. The carb-to-protein ration should be between 3:1 and 6:1. Although I'll experiment with home-remedies for variety's sake (more on that later), I personally predominantly rely on the Clif-Shot recovery mix. It's a high-quality organic product, tastes good, and takes away the guess work and measuring.

The Theory: The goal is to keep your metabolism constantly fired up with a continual influx of carbs and protein. Insulin spikes and subsequent crashes become non-existent, energy levels go up, recovery from workouts improve, WHILE you get leaner and drop weight!

start quoteI used to drip more when I had an office job. It is awesome. You don't get super hungry and then crave fried chicken for lunch. I would eat the chicken then get so tired that I was barely working after eating. The drip levels blood sugar and helped me make better decisions.end quote
-- Alec Donahue

I've heard various pros whisper about cycling on-and-off the Drip for years, but never had more than a vague understanding of the tactic. It was originally conceived by Rick Crawford, famous for coaching the Fort Lewis College cycling team and Tom Danielson, and one of the main forces behind the Colorado Premier Training program and their new wind tunnel. Crawford even had a "Drip" product on the market several years back -- which gave the technique its name -- although online information about the now defunct offering is scant at best.

My own coach referred me to Cycle-Smart's Alec Donahue, a racer who has relied on the Drip throughout his racing career and has coached his athletes in its implementation. He agreed to an interview to walk me through the process for my own benefit and allowed me to share the info with Cyclo-CLUB.

I've been experimenting with the Drip myself for the past month and am really excited by my performance and day-to-day recovery. I went straight from the 7-Day Fat Loss into Drip-mode. Weight loss has been modest so far -- about 5 pounds -- but I've definitely gotten leaner, lost fat (waist has shrunk), and am gaining fitness every week!

Read the whole darned thing, including nutrition specifics, HERE!

Photo via flickr by by enggul


PL said...

Dude. I bought two large cans of "The Drip". The Rick Crawford endurance nutrion drink. Crawdaddy was my coach in 2005, and he was awesome, but The Drip was like a punishment. It tasted absolutely f-ing horrible, like vomit. And when I say like vomit, I'm not saying, it tasted bad, or gross. I'm trying to be as accurate as possible. You know when you have a virus, and you've puked up everything inside you, and all that's left is the bright yellow bile from your liver, and when that comes up, it has a very strong and unforgettable taste. That's The Drip. It was theoretically an orange flavor, but I had to cut it with orange Accelerade to get it down. When I mixed it straight, I couldn't drink it and would come back from Crawford's 6 hour base rides (I was a Cat 4, mind you) totally parched and dried out because I couldn't bring myself to reach for my bottles. That's how bad The Drip was. I'm sure it had all sorts of good stuff in it, and nothing bad, but it tasted like genuine, USDA choice vomitus. This is the only time Crawfish every steered me wrong. In every other way I think he's the bomb. He put me on the Paleo Diet, worked wonders for me. He is awesome. But The Drip...eeewwwwww!!!

markson said...

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Unknown said...

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