KNOWLEDGE : NUTRITION FOR SUCCESS
With: Peter Bartl Interview: Remedia
As you look at Peter paddling, it’s obvious that he trains hard. His body not only receives peak conditioning but also ‘peak feeding’. Peter cares about his food more than most of the competitors in the race scene. We spoke to him about what makes up his ‘eating for success’ program.
You are one of the fastest standup paddlers. How much of your success is down to the right food?
For sure it is very important to bring some talent with you that you have deep in your genes, but it’s not the most important thing. In standup you need high endurance abilities and you have to train hard for it, maybe a little different than all the others do. You need to paddle hard and have fun on and off the water. It is also essential that your expectations are not too big otherwise the workload can break you. And of course your nutritional habits have a high influence on your winning or losing a race.
OK, so what does ‘healthy food’ mean to you?
Healthy food means that my body can efficiency work with the stuff I put in and gain strength and endurance. You need to give up using unhealthy substances like trans-fats, refined sugars, aspartame and more. Try to avoid products which are baked in hot refined oil, or at least reduce it. In all of our western civilization we consume too much refined sugar, which makes the most of us fat and tired. Some people should not use to much milk products because it can cause inflammations. I use milk products like some butter, cheese or yoghurt, but I don`t drink pure milk and I also avoid cream or mayonnaise as I don`t feel well afterwards. Alcohol can also slow down your regeneration process and as a sportsman you shouldn`t consume too much of it. I have experience with this stuff; I drank a lot of alcohol in my former days.
Sticking with the present, tell us what you’re eating now.
The main part of my food is concentrated on natural organic vegetables in all colours. I also eat bread, noodles or other cereals, which give fast energy, my body is used to this stuff but I don´t eat tons of it, like they told us in sports science some years ago.
I am not full vegetarian but I eat less meat and fish, maybe once a week. I refuse cheap meat which is bad quality and sometimes full of antibiotics and other substances, I don´t even want to know. If I am not sure about the origin of the animals I eat, I don`t eat meat at all. My body tells me if I need some animal proteins to be ready for contests and have the toughness to go through the pain barrier. I have reduced my milk usage which improved my pain resistance – I can’t prove it on the paper but I feel it. I think it is possible to be top in sport also with fully vegan nutrition, but you need time for your body to get used to it. In sports it is essential to use enough proteins to have enough power. For example plant proteins gained from hemp, peas or brown rice goes into my power shake which I take after training. But as you have to know, most of my protein sources are contained in normal food products.
Normally I eat fruits like bananas, apples, couple of slices of bread with coconut oil and honey; sometimes I also use organic butter. I am also a big smoothie fan; especially green smoothies with spinach or salad give you the perfect kick start for your morning sessions. Oats and rice milk also deliver fast energy. Sometimes I go for some eggs, but I don`t eat them like Rocky, so 2 to 3 eggs per week are enough for me.
At home we normally eat vegetarian, as most of my family is vegetarian. If I sometimes want to have a piece of meat I cook it separately. Salads are our daily driver mixed with high quality olive oil, hemp oil, linseed oil or rapeseed oil. Some vinegar can be used but is not essential; you can also use some lemon juice and salt. We use grain seeds like quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat, which are rich in proteins and gluten free, which can be an advantage for sportsmen and women. I also love vegetables cooked so they stay crunchy – the essential ingredients stay inside and don`t get destroyed.
I don’t eat as much at dinner as I do at lunch, and I reduce the carbohydrates which is better for a good sleep. Besides there is a risk of gaining weight over a season eating big carbohydrate portions at night time. A big plate of noodles is only served before 2 p.m.
What’s the optimized daily time table in food consumption?
Many studies tell different things so it is not easy to find your own solution. Some say you should fast 6 hours between two meals which is one extreme. The other extreme tells you to eat 5 to 7 times per day. In my opinion a normal person should eat about three times per day, and people have to take care about their carbohydrates consumption, which is normally too high and leads to weight gain and can also lead to diabetes or other diseases.
What are the evil things we should avoid?
Alcohol has only a very small place and many sportsmen don`t drink any alcohol. I stopped drinking alcohol three years ago. My body gives me good feedback and my regeneration time feels shorter. Refined sugar can be used in small portions, but take care about those hidden sugar in sodas, ice cream and sweets.
Sometimes I eat chips ‘cause I like it and am running lean so the odd indulgence is OK. In fact I smashed took a load of chips between the heats of the 2014 SUP cross at the Payette River Games as nothing else was there and I needed fast energy. My body worked on it and I took the 4th place overall, equal with Kai Lenny.
Have you always been so interested in nutrition?
No, of course not, I had an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle in my 20s, around forty bottles of beer was the normal weekly amount. Beside this I also smoked cigarettes and other funny things, which in the end were not funny at all. Standup paddling helped me get motivated for using essential and good food. Sometimes it is really shocking for me to see so many people abusing and destroying their bodies, they only have one.
What is about the suggestion that consuming grain is not really healthy for humans?
This is a strange one and I cannot give an easy yes or no. White flour products should not be used every day in big amounts. To apply one rule, the less active you are, the less your white flour consumption should be, because our body uses this stuff for producing fat.
So green vegetables should be the perfect food for us?
Green vegetables contain very important ingredients for a healthy life like vitamins, antioxidants and chlorophyll. In usage with some other healthy nutrition green vegetables are absolutely essential for the human being.
Chocolate. Can we or not?
Why not? The only important thing is that you should not get addicted to any product you use. If you have the feeling you really need this product then you have entered the vicious circle. If you develop cravings for chocolate then it’s probably best to avoid, but if everything is ok with you, chocolate has antioxidants which are positive for your body and can also improve your endurance. I use organic cocoa powder without refined sugar and milk products for my carbohydrate supply combined with protein shakes.
Which important tip can you give to aspiring racers?
Always use high quality nutrition while training, which is easy to digest, especially in a hard trainings period, this is maybe the most important hint I can give you. Take a smoothie with coconut milk, rice milk, fruits and ginger. There are so many healthy possibilities to mix a smoothie, just do some research.
After a long and hard training or after having finished a long day at work, you can go for an organic fruit tea mixed with slices of fresh ginger, which gives you energy and leads to a strong immune system.
Peters best SUP results:
• 1st place 11 City 2013
• 1st place Namur 2013
• 1st place Mallorca 2013
• 4th place Payette River Games 2014
• 2nd place 11 City 2014
• 1st place Alps Trophy overall 2014
• 1st place SUP Trophy 2013, 2014
• Several titles in Austrian championships in Sprint and Long Distance.