If someone says "NASCAR food", you'd probably think more burgers than berries.
That's perfect if you're watching the race, but the most successful teams see nutrition as a tool to keep the pit crews performing so the cars can keep performing on the track.
After all, those 9-second pit stops don't happen by themselves...
Ashley Muschiatti - NASCAR Dietician and Strength Coach
Ashley Muschiatti is a registered dietician and strength coach working with Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR pit crew athletes. She has 2before blackcurrant berry pre-workout on her list of approved supplements.
My guys absolutely love it and it's one of their go-to pre-workout options.
They love it because it tastes good, but also because they can see the benefits of improved recovery and immune support so they can last and stay healthy throughout the entire season.
And the results are there too, Ashley is currently working with six of the sixteen teams in the play-offs - NASCAR Cup Series elimination format.
Athletes or Mechanics?
A lot of people never think of pit crews as pro athletes, but once you do, it makes sense.
After all, there's a lot of heavy work in changing tyres and pouring fuel, especially when you only have a few seconds to do it.
Given this, Ashley says a simple question led to a recent mindset change around how they selected their crews. Instead of training mechanics to be more athletic, why not reverse the formula?
Why don't we take athletes and teach them the skill of pitting a car?
As a result, Ashley's roster now includes former athletes from hockey, football and baseball backgrounds. These people are used to keeping themselves in the top condition needed to do a hot, heavy and physically demanding job, as well as performing under time pressure.
Which comes first, training or diet?
The NASCAR season lasts 10 months, so it's inevitable there will be ups and downs.
Ashley says there are times she can see someone is looking a little sluggish; perhaps their numbers aren't where they should be or they're having trouble recovering.
When this happens, what people are eating is usually at the root of the problem.
Wearing my strength and conditioning hat leads me to my dietician hat.
The problem is that fad diets and "experts" on social media mean that what people think they need is often different to what they actually need to perform in their sport.
And it can have a massive impact - the right nutrition can potentially add years to a career.
Ashley Muschiatti on the Roots Podcast
Ashley recently appeared on Roots Podcast, a show featuring professionals in athletics. She shared a lot of behind-the-scenes insight into her work with NASCAR teams, especially nutrition.
The link below jumps you straight into the discussion on blackcurrant berries versus beets (spoiler - blackcurrant tastes better!), but the whole thing is worth a listen if you'd like to learn why nutrition is taken so seriously by high-performing teams.
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