Dotsie Bausch talks nutrition, training, and recovery

Recently, Bonk Breaker co-CEO and Category 1 cyclist Chris Frank (CF) sat down with Olympic silver medalist & Bonk Breaker athlete Dotsie Bausch (DB) to discuss nutrition, training and recovery.

Dotsie Bausch fuels
Dotsie Bausch on a training ride

CF: You’ve had quite a remarkable journey and now you’re looking at possibly making a comeback for Rio. Tell me your greatest highlights over the years.

DB: Two words: Olympic Games. I have to say that the journey to the podium there was more rewarding than the end result. What you discover about yourself in an Olympic journey is that the people that touch your life along the way are more rewarding and inspiring than any single moment could ever measure up to be.  From here, I look forward to soaking up my journey however it unfolds!

CF: I know you have a unique story on how you got into cycling.  Tell me quickly about that, but what I really want to hear more about is how that has impacted and translated into your nutrition philosophy.

DB: I do. I suffered from anorexia and bulimia for years. When I found cycling, as one of my pathways towards healing, I started to understand the effect real nutrition could have on my performance. It has been an evolution, but today I can honestly say that my whole foods, nutrient dense, plant based, organic food choices have me recovering at double the rate of my teammates, who are 10-15 years younger! The golden egg of any sport is finding a natural way to produce the maximum workload to encourage the most growth potential and adaptation to reach a new level. If you recover quickly, you can wake up and train hard again day in and day out. If you are not recovering well, you have to take too many rest days losing valuable advantages over your competitors.

CF: How does your nutrition philosophy translate into the off-season? 

Three of the four American women on the podium after earning silver in the women's team pursuit
Dotsie waves to the crowd before collecting her silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games
DB: Because of my history, I created a promise to myself that no food in the world is off limits. With that, comes freedom of choice. Now I choose foods that are nutrient dense.  I want my food choices to be functional and not empty.  I think to myself, what will give me the biggest bang for my buck?

As an athlete, I focus on choosing foods that are healing and replenishing. In essence, what foods will support my body to increase my athletic capacity?  The off-season is when we prepare our body for race season.  We prepare our body to handle the demands of training and competing during race season. 

CF: I agree, if you do not come into the season healthy, it makes for a tough year and nutrition has a lot to do with that. You mentioned the importance of recovery, tell me more about that. 

DB: Recovery lends itself to change. I am always telling my clients when they are freaking out during a rest week, to rest easy because this is when your body adapts and becomes stronger and more resilient. I am a big proponent of on the bike eating and that is where my Bonk Breaker bars come in. If I don’t eat on the bike, my glycogen drops too quickly and the quality of my training decreases dramatically, especially when I am doing hard, intense intervals. If you eat on the bike, you are less likely to end your workout famished, decreasing your tendency to overeat.  This is also important in keeping your weight in check. Speaking of recovery, what components of Bonk Breakers lend itself to optimal post-workout recovery?

CF: Dotsie, you touched on a couple of key points.  First, there is what you eat on the bike and that can differ from what you eat for recovery.  Bonk Breaker Energy Bars have a great 4:1 balance of carbohydrates to protein, which like you said, keeps your glycogen stores fueled during exercise. We use simple, clean ingredients that your body recognizes making Bonk Breakers rocket fuel energy.  All of our bars are gluten-free and dairy-free, so they are well tolerated by many people. In terms of recovery, I like to eat more protein to help repair and build my muscles.  Bonk Breaker High Protein bars have 13-15 grams of brown rice protein, a dairy-free and soy-free protein source, along with a nice balance of carbohydrates and healthy fat.  In addition to your need for protein post workout, you also want to get plenty of carbohydrates to refuel your glycogen stores for your next training or race.  Your body uses energy most efficiently immediately after exercise. 

CF: We have briefly touched on this, but sometimes we get too caught up in race weight and forget to focus on the quality of ingredients that we are putting into our body.  Tell me what you think about that. 

DB: Oh, this really is a passion of mine. People connect lightweight to performance. I know that is a huge factor for efficiency, and it is even true on the track in the 3K and 4K distances. The more efficient you can be, the more endurance you will have.  People think since the track is flat, weight does not matter. Many people think of dieting and turn to products with artificial sugars and fat-free selections offering little nutrient value. To find your optimum weight you must fill yourself up with nutrients from the earth and the sea. Think whole grains in their natural form, colorful veggies and fruits, clean protein sources, essential fatty acids and lots and lots of water! Eating a whole foods diet will assist your body finding a healthy weight.

Thanks Dotsie!

This article is brought to you by Bonk Breaker, the Official Bar of USA Cycling. To find out more about the elite athletes behind the real-food bars, or to purchase bars, go visit the Bonk Breaker store. USA Cycling members can save 10% off all items at the Bonk Breaker store. Learn how to take advantage of this member benefit through your "My USA Cycling" account.