There is no doubting the world of motor racing demands a lot from its minions. Long days and sleepless nights is all a part of doing what we love, and let’s be honest, it’s totally worth it. Some call us crazy, but you do crazy things for love right?
Spanning over nine months, compared to 11 in 2015, this year’s V8 Supercars season is bigger and busier than ever. As always, the season demands only the best, which means all teams putting in the hard yards, not only mentally, but physically.
If there is a group of people who know the physical strains of the work required at race meets, it’s the Red Bull Racing Australia pit crew. Last to bed and first to rise, the crew know that remaining at the top of the leader board means a serious commitment to health and fitness.
“The pit crew are expected to change a 22kg wheel and tyre in around three seconds by themselves,” said Team Manager and general fitness guru Mark Dutton.
“Sure, they don’t need fitness to be good at that because it is such a short event, but they do need fitness to train for it. So for the pit crew the stronger they are, the quicker they will be and less likely to injure themselves doing it.”
So just like a marathon, you don’t run it unless you train for it. Well, you can, but you’ll fail miserably and that simply isn’t an option on race day. Also, it’s important to remember that looking good in a pit crew suit doesn’t come naturally.
“Every gunman and reserve gunman on the pit crew has a personalised training program written and monitored by Adam Garred, an Exercise Physiologist from Aspire Fitness and Rehabilitation that works with the team. Everyone is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses, so the programs are tailored to suit the individual.”
“Once a week we have our PT Trainer, Claire (also from Aspire), come in for a PT session where she smashes not just the gunmen or pit crew, but anyone and everyone in the team who wants to take part. I say smash, but with our team she doesn’t have to push anyone to do what she wants, everyone pushes each other in a totally positive way that it is almost as good for team building as it is for fitness and strength.”
Every good fitness routine requires preparation. It’s important to fuel your body for the exercise and just as important help it recover afterwards.
“I must admit, I am a bit of a sucker for a supplement, as like most of the crew, I have such little time to train. So when you do get that the time, it’s important to maximise what you put in,” said Dutton.
We here at RBRA are pretty fortunate when it comes having items that give us that extra “push”. A can of Red Bull is never far away, which helps boost our performance on track, off track and in life in general.
Our friends at Body Science also keep us stocked up with tasty protein and recovery options which keep us trucking throughout the day and when exercising. It’s just all about applying your intake to the right situations.
“Everyone’s training program is different, but if I squeeze in a short 15 minute lunchtime session then I will just have a Red Bull beforehand. Afterwards, Mario (our in house chef) prepares healthy lunches for recovery protein and carbohydrate source.”
“On the other hand, if I am going hard, then I’ll make sure I supplement my protein intake from meals with a high protein shake from Body Science. I use their WPI (whey protein isolate) for this. Before I train I also like to mix a Blueberry Red Bull with BSc Amino BCAA Fuel, then straight after the gym another protein shake, this one with more carbs, aminos, creatine etc.. BSc Nitrovol Lean Muscle is an all in one product that covers all of these.”
Team Physio and Welfare Manager, Chris Brady, from the Queensland Sports and Medicine Centre says that what you put out is as just as important as what you put in.
“From a recovery stand point, you can’t deny that the best recovery is sleep. When recovering from a workout/race, there is an ideal recovery from a fluid and fuel perspective also. Not only is what you put in your body important but the timing of it is also critical,” said Brady.
“Staying in control of that fitness on race weekends is best done by optimising nutrition by eating and drinking appropriately.”
Alright, all this chat has really got us motivated. Keeping fit reaps many rewards, including better health, having more energy and feeling better in general.
“In general, people with higher fitness levels are happier, more motivated, and have less health issues. All of this when working in a high stress environment improves all around team performance,” said Brady.
So what better way to start the 2016 V8 Supercars season then getting out there and giving it a go. You might not be lifting 22kg tyres, but you never know when the opportunity could arise!