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Eat Race Win – chef Hannah Grant's second sports nutrition cookbook, following The Grand Tour Cookbook – is a usable and ultimately interesting read that might help shed light on areas of nutrition that you've yet to optimise.
I like cookbooks. They're nice things to own, and if you're not particularly gifted in the kitchen, then a well-written one can not only make cooking seem manageable, but also a pleasure.
In particular, a well-constructed book can also motivate someone to cook better or more often – and that's the lasting impression that I've been left with after reading and trying out several recipes in Eat Race Win.
Instead of the 21-race day structure of Grant's first book, which I found a touch limiting, Eat Race Win is laid out in a far more useful pre-season (winter), training season (spring), high season (summer) and off-season (autumn) chronology, making use of ingredients and – importantly – trends inherent to human behaviours and seasons.
So, you get nutritional profiles with each meal that conform to the work that (could/should) be being done in each time frame. As Dr Stacy Sims (Grant's nutritional expert partner) puts it, 'there seems to be a disconnect between what it means to be nourished, and what it means to be fed', so each recipe is designed to meet the nutritional needs of an endurance athlete training in a given season.
The book even carries a section near the beginning that uncovers some of the latest thinking behind daily and seasonal biorhythms and how they affect appetite and nutritional requirements. From the outset, this is a book that sets out to help you help yourself by educating first, then offering up recipes that you can adopt and customise to your individual need or taste.
Some are simple – overnight oats and avocado toast (with poached eggs) have long been in my repertoire of go-to nutritionally-dense meals – while others will test your finesse a little more: 'Octopus a la Gallega', anyone?
There are also one or two that are pitched right at the absolute beginner – omelette with ham and boiled rice and spinach is worth a double page spread, apparently (as a time trial-specific meal) – while others take more time but not a lot of skill like, well, roast chicken.
My nutritionally-aware, already slightly practised brain finds these examples a bit 'duh', but then the reality is that there are plenty of people out there who want this kind of hand-holding, and to be honest, that's perfectly fine if it helps them get more out of themselves by eating more healthily.
The book is prefaced with more useful sections on key subjects like carbs and protein – incorporating some established but nevertheless current thinking on how each can influence performance, like types and timings – while I'm personally delighted to see a section on 'Ditching the low-fat idea'.
I was particularly interested to read a section on jet lag and how to reduce the impact of it, while aspects like gut flora and health are touched upon in the 'beverages' section. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a reference to Belgian beer or wine in this part, which is a shame...
There are insightful comments prefacing each seasonal section too. Input from ace triathlete Gwen Jorgensen, alongside Michael Valgren and Peter Sagan, have their place, while the most interesting (for me) comes from Team Novo Nordisk in the off-season (autumn) recipes section, which focuses more on indulging your sweet tooth and cravings while you can in a sometimes depressing time of year.
They're an inspired choice to feature, because the team operates with a complement of riders who deal with Type 1 diabetes on a day-to-day basis, so if there's anyone who needs to know about balancing sugar levels in a high-demand sporting environment, it's them.
After the seasonal core of the book come ideas for breads, cakes and desserts – with options for vegetarians and those with nut and dairy allergies as well as gluten intolerance – where the 'Winning Tiramisu' is just that, and bars and bites that can be taken with you on a ride.
The book-ending sauce section is welcome too, with vinaigrettes, pestos and salsas all present and ready to pep up otherwise boring meals in a fresh and nutritionally-valid way. And there are interesting tidbits on sprouting and what you should keep in your kitchen, all of which adds texture to a well-rounded-yet-directed second book for Hannah Grant.
A great follow up to The Grand Tour Cookbook, with plenty of sound advice and recipes to get stuck into
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Eat Race Win, by Hannah Grant with Dr Stacy Sims PHD
Size tested: 270mmx210mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Musette Publishers says: 'Eating right shouldn't be a punishment!'. In collaboration with Physiologist Dr. Stacy Sims Ph.D, who specialises in sports nutrition and hydration, Hannah has created EAT, RACE, WIN a modern endurance cookbook classic with more than 150 recipes and scientifically supported guidelines for all seasons throughout the year. As the weather changes so does the body – optimise the way you fuel for training and racing. EAT RACE WIN brings you lots of amazing vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free dishes to eat before, during and after training, showing you how to stay hydrated and make your own bars and recovery meals. Tailor meals after physical exercise and let yourself be inspired in the kitchen to get your goals in the bag – endurance food has never been more delicious! Includes interviews from some of the world's best endurance athletes: UCI World Road and Paris Roubaix champion Peter Sagan; Amstel Gold race winner Michael Valgren; Olympic triathlete gold winner Gwen Jorgensen; and cyclo cross rider Selene Yeager. Team Novo Nordisk nutritionist and riders also share knowledge on how to perform as a diabetic pro rider.
- Published to accompany Hannah Grant's Amazon Prime new cookery show 'Eat Race Win' starting this July
- Known as "the queen of performance cooking" following the success of her bestselling The Grand Tour Cookbook, chef Hannah Grant brings you the must-have food and nutrition bible on how to eat, race and win
- More than 150 recipes alongside scientifically supported guidelines for all seasons and includes interviews with some of the world's best endurance athletes
- Learn how to eat like a champion; designed both for experienced endurance athletes as well as newcomers to running, triathlon or cycling
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Publication date: July 2018
Publisher: Musette Publishing
A good quality hardback with spine – gift worthy.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Insightful, incorporates up-to-date science and thinking, plenty of recipes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Won't revolutionise you if you already eat healthily.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, it'd make a great gift.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It has an interesting (and valid) seasonal take on performance nutrition, written in an accessible way. Some simplicities aside, it could really help you structure your nutrition better.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding