Elke Vanhoof is one of the most popular female riders on the international BMX circuit. The Belgian, who started competing when she was only 10, has long been considered one of the worlds most gifted riders, and it was no surprise when she became the European Champion in 2015.
A fast, exciting & dangerous sport, the bikes have only a single gear, and a single break, so athletes have to have explosive power out go the gates, and the stamina to maintain a sprint throughout.
We had a few moments with Elke to quiz her on how she has fuelled her career at the top of elite BMX riding...
Ahead of a race, what sorts of food/snacks are you having & when? "I prefer to eat my last big meal 2 hours before the race, with a lot of carbs".
What would you eat on the day of a major competition like the Olympics or World Championships? "I like to eat white bread with some honey".
What do you eat after competing? Can you treat yourself? "I need to full up my body again with all the things I lost, I eat protein and carbs. And Yes sometimes I can eat something tasty! Then I prefer some ice cream or chocolate brownie :) "
Does your diet change much between off & on-season? "If I need to train hard or have a lot of competitions I will eat more because my body needs it. To recover and be 100% ready for the next competition or big training. If its a rest period I don’t need that much food".
What are your thoughts on protein bars & shakes? "I love protein bars and use a lot of protein powder in my food just for the tast :) Now I’m using all he products from QNT nutrition, and I’m totally in love with the white chocolate whey protein. :) "
Do you eat much at the gym/after the gym? "I alway take my QNT shake after gym and eat a bit of carbs".
What does a BMX cyclists gym session look like for you (lots of weights, or cardio, or a mix)? "It’s more weights but we also need a bit of basic condition and a lot of sprints and plyo training".
What is your cheat meal? "Sushi, Ice cream or chocolate :p"
What meal(s) do rely on the most at home? Do you have a favourite recipe? "I love the sweet potato’s fries and chicken with some veggies"
You travel all over the world, do you get to try the local food, or do you have to keep to a strict diet; or is it a case of just taking what you can get in the hotel(s)? "Sometimes we can, but on a race weekend I prefer the food I’m used to eat. I also need to eat gluten free so I take some food with me from home".
How important is hydration at your level? "It’s always important to stay hydrated, so you can still give your 100 percent".
Do you have any pre-competition rituals? "Not really… I eat, change my clothes, warm-up, put some music on and talk with the other girls".
Do you have a favourite place to race in? "I always love to race in France, because te vibes and the competition is always good".