Nancy van der Burg, nutritionist at Team Jumbo-Visma, is a former top female athlete herself. In her day, the awareness grew that the right food supplements are an important part of someone’s total nutrition and top performance. Also, the dangers of less good and contaminated supplements became increasingly clear.
How do you view the Dutch sports supplements brand Virtuoos?
Very positively. Virtuoos is part of the performance strategy of Team Jumbo-Visma. In the Dutch sports world, Virtuoos is known for the quality of the ingredients and the purity of the products. This means that everything is always one hundred percent dope free.
Virtuoos answers questions that play a role in the world of sports. The brand closely follows current scientific developments and responds to them by sparring with Head of Nutrition Asker Jeukendrup and Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer. They are positive about the fact that Virtuoos moves along and puts in efforts with regard to developing new, innovative products. Examples of this are the recently increased doses of Beta Alanine Gold (750 mg) and Sodium Bicarbonate Gold (1200 mg).
Healthy and varied nutrition forms the basis for all riders of Team Jumbo-Visma. We also work with specific sports nutrition and the vitamins and minerals of Virtuoos.
How do you rate a food supplement (selection criteria for Team Jumbo-Visma)?
I always ask myself the following questions:
- Does a supplement really add value?
- Is there any scientific evidence?
- What is the reputation of the supplement brand in question?
As far as general supplementation is concerned, you need to ask yourself the question whether there’s a high risk of deficiency. Indoor athletes in relation to vitamin D, for example.
Is there a difference between dietary supplements for endurance athletes and power athletes?
In essence, both types of athletes have the same nutritional needs to live a healthy life. I therefore treat endurance athletes and power athletes more or less in the same way. Both of them have a high protein requirement, which is different from what was always thought. Power athletes need to consume mainly proteins and endurance athletes need to consume mainly carbohydrates.
Ergogenic supplements (sodium bicarbonate or nitrate) are really endurance sports products and therefore not suitable for power sports.
Among endurance athletes there are differences. Endurance endurance athletes (light riders, climbers) and endurance power athletes (sprinters and typical time trial riders). In the latter group, Creatine Complex Gold can be used for power training or big events.
What do Virtuoos supplements mean for the cyclists of Team Jumbo-Visma?
The performance program consists of a balanced training program with sufficient recovery moments, matching healthy food, supported by Virtuoos supplements. Throughout the performance program, we see that riders are getting fitter and fitter. Nowadays, everyone in our team is convinced of the added value of Virtuoos.
Because, as a nutritionist, I can substantiate the positive effects it can have on the riders, awareness has been raised. This awareness is present within the entire team.
Do the riders take the same Virtuoos products all year round (basic supplementation), or does this differ per period?
For the most part, the basic supplementation (general health) is the same. This consists of Multi Health Support Gold (without B6), Omega-3 and D3-3000 IU Gold (all year round). This is intended to support the resistance.
Periodic and specific: Creatine Complex Gold and Sodium Bicarbonate Gold.
Proteins are used to promote recovery after strenuous exercise.
When do the riders take their Virtuoos supplements (intake moments per supplement)?
Most riders do this in the morning. I try to make it clear to the riders that the intake of your basic supplementation should be a ritual. A habit, just like drinking a cup of coffee or a cup of tea with your breakfast. Only then do Virtuoos products provide added value.
Actually, all riders in our team now have this in their system and often take their supplements during, or shortly after breakfast.
[Recently, […] was present at altitude training to cook for the riders. Also, in the morning you see the riders going for breakfast while taking their Virtuoos boxes with them.
* Put your food supplements in a place in the house that you walk past often. For example, in the bathroom or next to something you use every day (for example the coffee machine or a kettle). Train yourself to make it a ritual. Link it to something.
Which Virtuoos supplements do the riders use to prevent infections?
When riders are on the verge of being ill, I recommend supplementing the basic vitamin C1000 Gold and Zinc Gold supplementation.
This is, of course, in combination with additional rest and especially, listening to your body. This is different for everyone.
If a rider is ill, how far will he be thrown back (on average) in his training schedule?
This differs per rider. It depends on how sick you have been and how good your basic condition is. Several factors come into play. If you can train less hard for a few days (at 70 to 80 percent) you will be thrown back less far. When you have been sick, intensive stimuli are very stressful for the body and can be counterproductive.
When I can’t train at all for a week, because of a severe flu or a cold, I often examine what I can do in the following week. What can my body handle and what it can’t? It can easily take two weeks to recover. I often need two weeks of training to get back to my old level. It can maybe take a month before you’re back at the level before you fell ill. So, during the season it’s very important to prevent a severe flu or cold.
Is it true that someone is more susceptible to illness when their fat percentage is low?
Yes, it’s possible. But this is just one part of it. Susceptibility also has to do with the severity of the intensity. A chronically low carbohydrate intake makes you more susceptible. The stress-relief balance must also be good. Circumstances such as the weather and a lot of travelling also play an essential role.
The riders of our team travel a lot (air conditioning environments) and come into contact with many different people. These variables can cause riders to fall ill quickly.
The staff also uses Virtuoos supplements during grand tours. Why, and which Virtuoos products do they consume?
It’s not mandatory for our team’s staff, but almost everyone uses them. Some of our staff take part in Multi Health Support Gold (without B6), for example. Our staff that go to grand tours often come back knackered. They work extremely long hours and also deliver top performances within their field of expertise. They also have to stay fit to support the riders in an optimal way.
Within the team there’s a strict hygiene protocol (in addition to supplements) to ensure that diseases are not transmitted.
Finally, the team wants to show that they’re one team. Stimulate each other by making everyone participate. This includes maximum support from the staff. Riders also feel taken seriously when the staff is involved in the hygiene protocol that covers the supplements.
Which Virtuoos supplements are used by Team Jumbo-Visma to promote performance?
Top performance starts with good general health. Only when this is the case, you can achieve extra good results with performance products such as Creatine Complex Gold. Think, for example, of the permanent power riders in the team, such as a sprinter.
Sodium Bicarbonate Gold or Caffeine Gold is mainly used for time trials by our riders.
To what extent are genetic predisposition and nutrition decisive for top performances?
Of course every person and therefore every athlete is different. The riders are blood-tested several times a year. These are standard checks within the team, and they are carried out by our doctor. The doctor only shares these results with me when they show strange abnormalities. An example could be that a rider has far too little Vitamin D3 in his body. In that case it’s important to take extra D3-3000 Gold.
A few years ago, many riders had too high vitamin B6 values. Virtuoos responded by taking the B6 out of its Multi Health Support Gold.
Now that our team has been working with Virtuoos for more than five years, and all riders are taking their supplements faithfully, I notice that the large deviations are hardly there anymore.
Why would a recreational cyclist need Virtuoos supplements?
Just like with professional riders, the ideal basic supplementation for an endurance athlete is Multi Health Support Gold (without B6) as support, Krill Omega-3 Gold and Vitamin D3 (during the winter months). All three products offer excellent support to your general health. This will of course improve your fitness. In short: don’t reach for performance products too quickly. It’ll come later.
Many of the recreational cyclists I talk to think that a healthy and varied diet in combination with a good basic supplementation is not interesting enough. People want to get results and perform well as quickly as possible. I always indicate that your general health is the most important thing, especially when you need to perform.
Which Virtuoos products would you recommend to support someone’s resistance?
Multi Health Support Gold (without B6), Vitamin C1000 Gold, Zinc Gold
Which Virtuoos products would you recommend to increase performance?
Caffeine Gold (endurance), Creatine Complex Gold (explosiveness)
* Sodium Bicarbonate Gold and Beta Alanine Gold can also be interesting if you are in top shape. First of all, however, you should thoroughly understand what these products can potentially do for you.
Which Virtuoos products would you recommend to recover faster after a big effort?
Proteins. This applies to both endurance athletes and power athletes. Magnesium can also work well. Though the team doesn’t use it at the moment.