As a cyclist on the Specialized-lululemon team, Ally Stacher has a nutritional challenge we kind of all covet—getting enough calories. While her meal plan doesn’t quite approximate Michael Phelp’s 12,000 calorie diet, she does keep her jersey pockets packed with fueling foods while she trains on the bike.
“I like to eat every 45 minutes,” Stacher said. “I want to be able to nail a four-hour workout. If I get hungry, I won’t be able to do the workout to its fullest.”
Stacher, who’s also a rock climber and a yogi, emptied her pantry onto her dining room table and opened her refrigerator to us, so we could see exactly how this cyclist handles her nutrition.
We learned about a few of her on-the-bike snacks (she makes her own energy bars), her breakfast burrito obsession, and about her baking hobby which we’ve got to say, is pretty perfect for someone who burns through carbs.
That is quite the collection of red peppers. Are they being dipped in hummus? I love red peppers more than anyone else I know! Their nutrition content is through the roof. I like to sauté one up in the morning for my breakfast burritos or add them into soups. I dip them in hummus (I make my own hummus on a regular basis) or I’ll add one to a glass of juice.
Did you make up that homemade jam? My sister made the jam! She only uses fresh fruit out of her garden. She stocks me up for the year. It’s great on rice cakes with cream cheese.
I see almonds, peanut butter, and quinoa galore! What’s your go-to protein source? My protein source is probably eggs. I eat two to four a day. I like to add the almonds and peanut butter to my after-ride fruit smoothies. And, the quinoa is so easy to cook. Add a touch of lime and cilantro and you’ve turned it into a gourmet little side dish to any meal.
We’re obsessed with quinoa, too. What’s the plan for the acorn squash? I like to bake it with coconut oil. I’ll have it as a side. Or, while it’s baking, I’ll make a curry sauce with a couple of other veggies and add the squash to it. I’ll make plenty for leftovers, so I can eat it with my eggs in the morning for breakfast burrito.
Kind of a side question: Do you use the coconut oil mainly for cooking or have you adopted it into your beauty routines? I use it mainly for cooking. But I’ll occasionally putting it on my nails and hands.
Love that. What are in the paper packages on the top shelf? Baking supplies. I like to bake cakes from scratch, so I buy organic products from the bulk bins. At the moment, I’m really into making carrot cake.
Baking is a great hobby for a cyclist! What do you do to stay energized while on the bike? I do a few things. I like to have a banana in my pocket. Also, I make my own energy bars, and I’ll also make rice cake sandwiches with cream cheese and jam. These are usually all the things I carry in my jersey pockets while training. As you can imagine, my pockets are pretty stuffed.
Yes, I’m picturing Luon loaded with snacks. What’s your main priority when it comes to nutrition during training? My main priority for nutrition during training is eating and drinking enough. I feel athletes don’t eat enough during training and they don’t realize you need to fuel yourself to operate at your most optimal level. So fueling is my one of my biggest priorities. —Amy Eley