Jimleo2

Jim Leo

President of PitFit Training

PitFit Training Founder and President Jim Leo is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has grown PitFit into the industry leader in the development and implementation of motorsports-specific human performance and has a clientele that represents a virtual Who’s Who in auto racing. A speaker at each of the SAFEisFAST workshops before the program moved online, Leo’s current video on Driver Fitness is one of the most viewed on the website with additional videos, The Neck, Reaction Training and Nutrition coming soon. 

iRacing

The top three questions will receive a 3-month iRacing.com subscription!
If you haven't already viewed Jim's videos, check them out here: Fitness Overview & Driver Workout Overview

Jim Leo answers your questions!

  1. What are the best cardio exercises for drivers?
    - Susan Menkar
    • Jimleo2
    • Traditional cardiovascular exercises include running, cycling, etc. The problem with many of these activities is they emphasize greater usage of the lower body for muscle endurance. It’s better to incorporate activities like swimming, rock climbing, boxing, upper body ergometers and rowing to help build muscle endurance in the upper portions of the body.
  2. As a rally driver, I have found that the consumption of an energy gel (carbs and caffeine) five minutes prior to a special stage greatly enhances my levels of awareness and concentration. However, when I follow the hydration protocol it appears that I move into hyperarousal state! Is there a happy medium?
    - Vaggelees Zachos
    • Jimleo2
    • Energy gels are a great in-between for energy bars and sports drinks. They normally provide good levels of carbohydrates and digest quite well. Caffeine, indeed, has been shown to have a positive effect on reaction times. In a 2011 Dutch study, subjects given caffeine had faster reaction times than those who did not consume caffeine. In regard to concentration, caffeine has shown to increase activity in the prefrontal lobe of the brain, which is involved in attention, planning, monitoring and concentration. Caffeine has also been found to play a role in greater concentration in rifle marksmanship and target detection during simulated combat practice in the military, indicating caffeine can increase concentration to cope with stressful activities. 

       The dosage of caffeine and usage history will often dictate the individual effect on the user, and how long this aroused state lasts varies as well. I would suggest experimenting outside of the race car with the dosage. If you are using the gels, try half of the package to see if there is any difference. You can also experiment with the timing of the gel, perhaps ingesting longer before the event. 
  3. I am a mechanic on a race team and my goal is to be part of a crew at the Indy 500. Can you please tell me what sort of exercises I can do to help me prepare for this in the future?

    - Ken Hardy
    • Jimleo2
    • The life of an IndyCar mechanic can be challenging both mentally and physically. Unlike in NASCAR, where there are specialized pit crews who are not mechanics, IndyCar mechanics work on the car and also perform the pit stops. This can be challenging when a driver wrecks the car, or an engine needs to be changed on race weekend. With our teams, we emphasize not only the focus on pit stop performance through training, but overall wellness to sustain the grueling hours on the road and in the shop. 

      Multi-joint movements that emphasize the legs, hips, core and upper body are of most benefit. Explosive movements like power cleans, high pulls, and push press helps develop total body strength, speed and power. Agility drills also give the pit crew the ability to move to and away from the car faster, while also assisting in getting out of the way when a driver loses control when coming in for a pit stop. 

  4. I sometimes find myself losing focus during a race. How can I work on maintaining a high level of concentration?
    - Jimmy Jones
    • Jimleo2
    • If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend viewing Dr. Jacques Dallaire’s tutorial, “Focus and Concentration” which you can find at http://go.safeisfast.com/MentalPreparation. He is much more the expert on mental preparation than I am – and has recently released a new book on the subject, entitled Performance Thinking (http://bit.ly/GB6VFg) – but from the physical perspective, normally we at PitFit Training include large amounts of visual and cognitive activities into the driver workouts to help them maintain focus. Playing a video game while on an exercise bike, reading flash cards between sets of a circuit, and playing ping pong intermixed with a high-intensity interval are simple ways to train the brain to stay on track.

  5. At what age do you suggest youngsters begin to concentrate on their physical conditioning if they want to become a race car driver?
    - Anonymous
    • Jimleo2
    • I say this about any child, regardless of what they are involved in: It’s never too early. Children gain amazing improvements in motor development by simply being active kids. From there, organized sports teach skill, discipline and the ability to handle tough situations. When it comes to structured training, it depends on the emotional and physical maturity of the child. I’ve seen an 8-year-old girl perform an Olympic snatch with perfect form and I have also trained 15-year-old drivers who lack simple motor skills because they have been racing since they were very young and never played sports. We usually start kids in a fun yet athletic-based program around age 8. This is a good age to teach proper fundamentals that translate into additional exercises over time. 

      Here is some information from the American College of Sports Medicine http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/youthstrengthtraining.pdf.
  6. Do you do any research dealing with drivers’ core body temperature while they are in the car during a race? Do you do anything during the race to help the drivers or pit crews?
    - Emily Teson
    • Jimleo2
    • Obviously, increased core temperatures can have a detrimental effect on any athlete if levels rise to dangerous levels. Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It is usually caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. When body temperatures reach 104 F, this condition is known as heat stroke and immediate medical attention is required. There have been numerous devices invented over the years to reduce the cockpit heat of race cars, which reach 140 F in closed cockpits. Cooling suits, cooling shirts and blowers are some that have, at times, shown success while at other times can become even more dangerous than the normal temperatures in the car.

       Our biggest ally in reducing heat stress for both drivers and pit crews is acclimatization, fitness, hydration and any possible way to give them even a brief respite from the heat. The racing suits and pit crew suits actually wick away moisture very well, and this is a greatly appreciated feature. Our pit crews drink water throughout the race, and in extreme conditions we keep cold wet towels on hand to reduce soaring body temperatures. While there are several tools on the market that can help monitor body temperatures, such as ingestible tablets, the research has shown inconsistencies. 

       The drivers prepare with adequate hydration the days leading up to the race and, depending on the series, gain some relief during caution periods by holding a free hand out of the window. It’s amazing to hear the stories of drivers who frantically work to get the left driving glove off so they can put their hand out the window, noting the refreshing relief they get! Fitness is important, because the higher the heart rate the more heat is produced by the body. Therefore, it’s important the driver be in very good physical condition to keep performing at peak levels throughout the entire race.

  7. I’ve always been told that a “balanced diet” is crucial to overall health and fitness, so I’m interested to know how you think drivers like Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly – as well as others, I’m sure – can maintain their fitness and stamina levels on vegan or other non-traditional diets.
    - Steve Lees
    • Jimleo2
    • This is an excellent observation, and the virtues of a proper vegetarian diet are well-known and have major positive health benefits. The biggest key to maintaining a proper vegetarian diet as an athlete is simple…planning. Getting the right amount of nutrients from a vegetarian diet takes more effort than just eating whatever is put in front of you, but it can be done. One of the main areas that vegetarian athletes must stay focused on is getting enough of the proper protein, which is not commonly found in plant-based foods. But, educating yourself on combined proteins, protein supplements and plant-based proteins will keep you on track to an eating plan that has shown to decrease an amazing amount of conditions and diseases that affect our society. 

       My advice is to seek out a registered dietitian who has experience working with vegetarian athletes. There are also some great books out there. It’s not for everyone though. Tony Gonzales, the All-Pro tight end for the Atlanta Falcons, tried to go strict vegetarian several years ago and discovered he could not find enough balanced protein to meet his demands as a strength and power athlete. After meeting with a dietitian, he revised his eating style and actually wrote a book called “All Pro Diet.” Great read, and it’s something most of us can follow.

  8. I tend to load up on carbohydrates before an event (rallying). How many days prior to a two-day rally would you suggest is optimal?
    - Vaggelees Zachos
    • Jimleo2
    • The concept of carbo loading was based on research in the 1960s that showed when an athlete first depleted glycogen storage over several days then overloaded with carbs, there was an increase in endurance performance. Of course, the period with no carbs wreaked havoc on the athlete’s digestive system and energy levels. Throughout the years, the process has been refined and it was proven the depletion phase was not necessary. Our basic approach, which is very common and proven to work, is to increase carbohydrate consumption three days before the event while simultaneously increasing rest. This format has shown to increase endurance by as much as 20 percent, and is far easier to tolerate than some of the more extreme methods.

  9. What is the biggest difference physically that seems to make Indy Lights drivers struggle when they make the move to Indy cars?
    - Spencer Pigot
    • Jimleo2
    • We always follow the philosophy with our junior drivers that we don’t train them for the series in which they race, we train them to be ready to test the next car up. We do this because when a driver moves into a faster car there is a sudden shock to the system physically and mentally. The higher speeds mean determining the braking point is more difficult, thus physical and visual reactions are challenged. The grip is often higher, coupled with the higher speeds, and suddenly G-forces are increased. This taxes the core of the driver more. On top of this, the upper body strength needed to drive the car needs to be greater, including potentially the neck, which when fatigued can affect the driver’s ability to visually focus. Having said this, fit drivers will quickly adapt to the changes because they are prepared. But we have heard of many a driver who moves up to test a faster car and performs poorly because they simply can’t “hang on.” 

  10. What would be a good sample workout for a race car driver?
    - Anonymous
    • Jimleo2
    • A good driver workout incorporates exercises or activities that increase the heart rate, provide overall body conditioning and target specific areas of the body a driver uses. Below is a simple workout using body weight, dumbbells or bands, and some type of cardiovascular equipment.

      • Warm up for five minutes with a light jog, then slowly perform 10 body weight squats, 10 push ups, and a light stretch of areas that feel tight
      • Each exercise should be performed based on time, with a specific rest period between exercises. Keep a constant 2-3 second pace per direction of an exercise. Always consult a physician before starting any exercise program.

      • Push up 30 seconds
      • Body Weight Squat 30 seconds
      • Crunch 30 seconds
      • Cardio 2 minutes
      • Isometric hold on neck (L) 30 seconds
      • Isometric hold on neck (R) 30 seconds
      • Reverse Fly (dumbbells or bands) 30 seconds
      • Front Plank 30 seconds
      • Cardio 2 minutes
      • Isometric hold on neck (Front) 30 seconds
      • Isometric hold on neck (Rear) 30 seconds
      • Front Dumbbell Raise 30 seconds
      • Dumbbell Seated Twist 30 seconds

      That should take you 10-15 minutes for one circuit, with 10-20 seconds between exercises. Rest for several minutes, drink a little fluid, and start again!

  11. I train three to four days a week as part of my driving program and my Polar S625X HRM displays an estimated calorie expenditure. For cardio and strength training, it’s pretty obvious how running or deadlifts correspond to calories burned. Is the same true in a car? Generally we have high heart rates but we aren’t necessarily experiencing the same physical exertion. Are the calories calculated by the HRM while driving equivalent to those while running or lifting in the gym?
    - Brian Ghidinelli
    • Jimleo2

    • The Polar monitors use a combination of your average heart rate, age and weight to determine your caloric expenditure. While many feel the activity in the race car doesn’t produce enough physical stress to compare to actual physical activity, research performed by Dr. Steve Olvey and Dr. Pat Jacobs with CART drivers showed that the heart rate and oxygen consumption on a road course was similar to the amounts and levels of a long-distance swimmer or runner. Therefore it’s safe to say that exerting yourself off the track at the same levels you encounter in the race car will allow you to handle driving stress far better.

  12. I remember seeing photos of Scott Dixon when he was much younger. He didn’t look very fit at all. Same with Paul Tracy! How did they manage to turn themselves around?
    - Henry Bottoms
    • Jimleo2
    • This question had me laughing out loud! I started working a little with Scott when he was a pudgy teenager fresh from New Zealand, and while he showed flashes of brilliance in his inaugural Indy Lights season in 1999 it was obvious his natural talent had been his “ace in the hole” until then. But at the start of the 2000 season, when he signed for a full season with PacWest Racing and PitFit, his attitude had changed and he saw that a training and diet program would take him to his highest level. I won’t go into all the details, but Scott didn’t take a drink of alcohol and even go on a date the entire season. I took a very robotic approach to his program and he thrived, dominating the 2000 Indy Lights season. Since then, he has kept fitness a key in his career, even winning his age group in a 2005 Half-Ironman triathlon in Miami.

      Paul Tracy was another story. He had quite a bit of success, having won races with Penske Racing and always near the front of a race. When I started with him in 1998 after he signed with Team Green, he was very heavy and routinely getting his ass kicked by fit drivers like Zanardi, De Ferran, Blundell, Franchitti and others. He focused on cycling nonstop, which certainly helped his fitness but was very limited in its functional value. I incorporated a much wider variety into his training and also relentlessly pushed his calorie consumption to be less processed, well-rounded and smaller. He lost about 25 lbs in three months and was the talk of the 1999 CART Spring Training! As he has gotten older, he saw his fitness was crucial to performing well on street and road courses and also helped his concentration on ovals. His weight has changed throughout the years but he never went back to being that pudgy kid from Canada!

  13.  am out of school for the summer and plan on training to increase my strength and stamina for karting and cars in the future. Since I don’t have a gym nearby, what exercises can I do at home to be more physically prepared for racing?
    - Austin Jordan
    • Jimleo2
    • It’s amazing what you can get away with when equipment is not handy. Taking simple exercises and changing the angle can make a huge difference. Also changing the intensity, rest, duration and order can give you a number of workouts with few exercises. For example, a push-up can be made more difficult by elevating the feet or offsetting the hands. You can also put one hand up on a ledge so one hand is higher each rep. How about raising a foot off the ground to increase core stability? For pull-ups, you can do a stand pull-up but change the grip to palms forward close, wide reversed or pronated (palms facing each other). Try lying under a weight bar and pulling yourself up, then apply some of the same changes as a standard pull-up. For lower body, a basic body weight squat is a tremendous multi-joint exercise. How about a lunge, or jumping off the ground at the top of the squat to add an explosive component? From a cardiovascular standpoint running is always on the menu, but add some hills or even run trails. You can set up a circuit in which you run for a half-mile, then do 25 pushups, another half-mile and 25 squats, another half-mile and do pull-ups. Repeat this but every time you come back to the same station tweak the exercise a little. I hope that helps!
  14. Should I be working out every day to ensure optimal fitness? I read somewhere that taking a brief break from time to time is actually more beneficial.
    - Terri Vale
    • Jimleo2
    • There is certainly a certain amount of recovery necessary from training if you want to have an effective program. All too often an individual starts a training regime and becomes somewhat “addicted” to the new positive feelings and direction they have discovered. The problem with not taking recovery seriously is that the body will not be mentally and/or physically prepared for the next bout of training, and this is when injury, physical barriers and mental burnout commonly occur. 

       One of the best quotes I have heard is, “One workout can’t make an athlete, but one workout can break an athlete.” We encourage our drivers to vary the duration, frequency and intensity of the training. We also schedule recovery into the training, and this can vary from a complete day off (active recovery) to something that just keeps them moving but not enough to create additional stress (active recovery). 

       Try a yoga class, or go for an easy hike on active recovery days. The key is that if you train hard one or two days in a row, taking it easy on the next day allows you to be ready for another bout of hard training. When you don’t take days off, suddenly you can’t perform at the same levels and this creates a mental strain. Often the athlete will compensate by pushing forward with more training, but this intensifies the problem until a potential injury or emotional outburst can take place. Poor sleep, irritability, general fatigue and elevated resting heart rate are common signs of overtraining.

  15. Are there any differences in the way you would prepare a driver for INDYCAR and NASCAR?
    - James Worth
    • Jimleo2
    • With any series we are involved in, the training regimes are similar in some respects but also vary in several ways. To dig deeper, how we train a driver is often based on the type of racetrack they race on and the car they drive. With oval drivers in general, the duration of the cardiovascular training is normally up to 1.5 times the standard time of the race. We try to simulate the same training loads and conditions as they encounter in the car. 

       For a NASCAR driver, the physical demands are less than an IndyCar driver but the heat stress is far higher. The grip level of an IndyCar is incredibly high, and they must maintain a very steady and methodical approach to steering (this varies between an oval and road/street course). The NASCAR driver is constantly correcting the steering wheel, and they tend to have an amazing ability to feel a car moving around yet still maintain control. Concentration is key for both drivers though, and the more fit the driver is the greater is the ability to stay focused regardless of the conditions.

  16. I am very tall (6' 3"), which means I am quite a bit heavier than most of my competitors in karting and open-wheel cars, and in these light cars it makes a difference. I’d like to gain some muscle mass but I’m afraid of over-doing it and gaining more weight. What do you suggest? - Erik Harken
    • Jimleo2
    • Certainly most of our drivers tend to be shorter than you, but we also have several drivers of that height who do very well in the car! One of the things a tall driver encounters is the overall mass is greater simply due to the height. Staying lean is important but not if it means sacrificing the necessary strength for performing at your best in the race car. Focusing on muscular endurance activities using equipment like kettlebells, sand bags, sledge hammers, tires and other “old school” tools allows you to strengthen your body in a very functional manner while also having loads of fun! It’s important you seek out a quality kettlebell instructor, and if you find one who is RKC certified you should be in good hands.

  17. What are the most important parts of the body to shape up?
    - Jonathan Sugianto
    • Jimleo2
    • In regard to racing, we tend to focus on the entire body as much as possible simply because we want our drivers to be complete athletes. This isn’t to say a driver will suddenly gain dramatic advantages by increasing leg strength, or making the core as strong as an oak tree; but maintaining strength in all parts of the body allows for a decreased chance of injury during training as well in accidents. Think of a Tour de France rider, who focuses on the legs, hips and low back but does little to develop strength in the upper body. They are suited for that sport alone, which is what they want, but they lack basic strength in other areas of the body. As a driver, you want to develop strength in the whole body and also allow for specialization in the primary areas that do the work: core, shoulders, arms, forearms, neck, chest, back. Choosing cardiovascular activities that strengthen these areas and develop muscle endurance is by far the best route. Boxing, rowing, swimming, intense rock climbing and upper body ergometers are excellent choices.

  18. I have an old shoulder injury (rotator cuff ), and after a time I can feel a slight numbness in my left hand as my shoulder wears on. How should one exercise shoulders yet maintain joint function and integrity for the light, repetitive applications to racing?
    - Rishi
    • Jimleo2
    • The rotator cuff is one of the most often-injured areas of the body in athletes, simply because we use it for so much. I had our intern, Julia Daly from Boston University, research your numbness, and she found this information: “There are many nerves that pass through the shoulder. When a rotator cuff is damaged, those nerves can be irritated from the surrounding muscle tissue damage, causing numbness in the extremities.

      “Exercise facilitates swelling of muscles and blood vessels, which will put pressure on the nerves running through the shoulder, causing more irritation. This explains the progression of the numbness in the race car, since so much shoulder/arm exertion is involved.”

      To develop strength without creating more damage, prevention is key. Internal and external rotation, using bands or light dumbbells, is very beneficial. We are very fond of the Body Blade, which was developed by a physical therapist and develops shoulder strength with minimal damage to the shoulder. We have them on our web site store at www.pitfit.com, but you can also go to the Body Blade company web site for more information. The bottom line is steer clear of excessive loads, and when you feel pain in the area, focus on rest and ice to reduce the inflammation.

  19. Barefoot running in shoes like Vibrams is becoming a huge trend. What is your take on training in this type of shoe – positive and negative?
    - Neil Alberico
    • Jimleo2
    • The concept behind the barefoot or “minimalist” running trend is based on a recent book in which the author extols the virtues of Mexican tribesman running for hours at a time in either bare feet or simple sandals and seems never to be injured. This movement brought us first the Vibram shoes, and now has spawned a number of companies with minimum support to allow for a natural running pattern. This actually has some merit because we really were not born wearing shoes and many people have found that basic nagging injuries were remedied when they went shoeless.

      However, for every success story there is a similar case of injury for those who go this route. My view is very conservative, meaning that an individual should try walking barefoot or with a minimalist shoe for several weeks before attempting to jog. Everyone is different, and just because a friend is bouncing around the roads in a trendy pair of “finger shoes” doesn’t mean it’s right for you. I ran in the Vibrams after having adopted barefoot running for several weeks and found I just needed a little bit of support.

      My suggestion is always find a proper running shoe store, and spend time letting them put you in the shoe made for your running gait. Don’t go in seeking a particular shoe brand, or color. Let them find what works for you. My first pair of running shoes were bought in Bob Ronckers Running Spot in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I ended up with the ugliest pair they brought me…Saucony Jazz 2000. But they started my path to running and I have never stopped. Good luck!

  20. Are energy drinks like Red Bull or Monster any good for staying alert during a race?
    - Anonymous
    • Jimleo2
    • This is a common question we get at workshops, and we give the same answer: Avoid them if possible! Energy drinks like those you mentioned and many others tend to be loaded with sugar and caffeine, or some derivatives of these same ingredients. This can act as a diuretic which essentially increases your desire to urinate and can dehydrate you. We feel the same way about soda (or “pop” depending on where you live). Commercial sports drinks also tend to be high in sugar and can elevate blood sugar but follow this with the requisite “crash” afterward. Don’t get me wrong, one of these drinks will normally not suddenly put you in a state of dehydration, but it’s wise to follow our rule that for every energy drink soda you drink, you should drink 12 ounces of water. There is some research showing that caffeine does enhance reaction times and alertness, so it’s best to experiment in testing sessions first to see what works for you.

  21. I travel a lot and tend to rely on hotel gyms which have the usual cardio equipment, dumbbells to 50 lbs and maybe some machines, with 30 minutes to get a session in. What would you recommend for the most bang for the buck?
    - Darren
    • Jimleo2
    • Research has shown that higher intensity interval training is going to give you more return on investment than anything else. When it comes to using dumbbells or any kind of resistance, any type of multi-joint movements that require total body activation will not only create much more functional strength but will also elevate the heart rate to the point where you’re also getting a cardiovascular workout as well. One great way to do something like that is to combine the cardiovascular and the strength workout all in one so you would develop a circuit that involves perhaps a minute of cardiovascular training with a minute of multi-joint activity with weights and then maybe a core movement, and then go back and do the cardio and continue cycling through so it’s a non-stop movement. Whether you’re using any sort of cardiovascular equipment, weights, body weight, there’s a large variety of movements you can do with all of those tools.
  22. When racing in tropical weather, how do you recommend overcoming heat stress when the temperature is 90 degrees and humidity tops 80 percent?
    - Luis
    • Jimleo2
    • The whole key to racing in the heat is acclimatization – acclimating yourself to the heat as much as possible prior to the event. When you train outside, try to train in the hottest part of the day. If you can work in an environment that’s a little warmer than normal – for example, turn the heat up a little bit in your gym, as opposed to air conditioning, and simulate some of the conditions – over the course of time, in seven to 10 days, your body should acclimate much better to the heat, but it’s important when you’re training this way that you pay attention to the potential of heat stress. You want to continue to ingest fluids and get your body used to fluids as much as possible while training.

      Hydrating in the days prior to an event is crucial to handling the stress of heat. You should start consuming at least a liter, 64 ounces, of water during the days leading up to the event so that your urine is pale and you’re getting adequate fluids. That will help your body; your cells will be full to capacity with fluids. That will help you adapt much better.

      It’s also important when you finish a session to cool the body as soon as possible. We tend to put some ice around the driver’s neck when he gets out of the car to cool the body as soon as possible, and that will help the recovery from heat, but really the key is to ingest adequate fluids throughout the race weekend and prior to the race weekend, and slowly build yourself up with heat training leading up to that.
  23. I know I am not in the best physical shape but I seriously want to get into better shape for racing. What exercise and/or diet would you recommend?
    - Keith Mohn
    • Jimleo2
    • For physical conditioning, the elements of strength, stamina and flexibility are all very, very important. You need a very well rounded training program. There is no one activity that will be the end-all, so to speak, so you’re going to want to add variety to your training as much as possible. Usually a good combination of dynamic strength movements, whole body movements, stamina training, cardiovascular training that incorporates various heart-rate intensities, never really allowing the body to get used to anything – you want to be constantly offering the body different things that it’s not used to, and that constant adaptation to these constant stresses will create a much more well-rounded athlete than just jogging on a treadmill or just lifting weights. 

      As far as diet goes, we’re real big fans of choosing a very standard eating plan with higher levels of carbohydrate, moderate levels of protein and lower levels of saturated fats. You do want to stay away from processed foods and try to eat foods in their natural state as much as possible, and definitely avoid processed sugars. Sodas are certainly something we tend to frown upon because of all the processed chemicals in them. And obviously portion sizes. One of the big problems with dieting, at least in the United States, is that we over-eat. Our portions are so large and people want to tend to clean their plate and the plates are usually enough to feed a family of three!

      Those are some of the basic tips. We don’t really have any radical diet plan for our drivers. We just try to have them eating a natural organic-based diet as much as possible.
  24. How do you recommend drivers prepare themselves immediately prior to a race?
    - Anon
    • Jimleo2
    • Immediately prior to a race, the driver should have a well rehearsed ritual they would follow every race weekend, so they want to follow this whenever they race. This would incorporate the same breakfast, the same time frame, and the meal plan should be properly structured. Two to three hours prior to the event, the driver should have a meal that’s high in carbohydrates, moderate levels of protein and low in fat. They want to continue to ingest fluids – preferably water or an electrolyte drink – leading up to the race. If they have a stretching routine or a warmup routine before they get into the car, they should follow that.

      The biggest thing is you want to develop a ritual leading up the race, and the days before, and follow that – the same foods, the same drinks, the same routine – and use that exact ritual on race day.
  25. I am sure the benefits from your ePitFit program will depend on the determination of the participant, but has it helped produce successful drivers?
    - Aaron L
    • Jimleo2
    • Never, no! Yeah, absolutely. I will say that without a doubt the online ePitFit program is only as successful as the driver and the effort he puts into it. The program has to be followed in a rigid manner and the driver must report his data back to the trainer so that there’s some accountability. We’ve had large success with the program. I guess the most notable would be Memo Rojas, who lives in Mexico and who we’ve had on ePitFit for three years.

      We encourage our drivers and try to make it much more feasible for the drivers financially to come and make visits to PitFit throughout the year. Even if it’s just one visit, they learn so much and we can evaluate them firsthand. We do have success with drivers who are very rigid with what they do but if you’re the type of driver or the type of athlete that needs someone to push you and be behind you all the time, it’s going to be a struggle if you’re not willing to put in the effort. We’ll give you the tools but you have to put in the effort.

      Usually what I tell people is that, look, it’s a great program but I’ll be honest, it’s a weak sister compared to being here. You have to come in to Indy. We offer our program to these drivers and they want to come in a couple of days a month as part of it. We price it out so it’s much, much easier for them to handle. We realize they’re already going to have to buy a plane ticket possibly, get a hotel room and all that, but we know that the long-term success of the program is based upon them walking through our doors and seeing how we work with the drivers, getting them firsthand experience, and then they’re hooked. But we’ve had drivers around the world on that program who we’ve not met before and might never meet. It works to an extent but it’s a tough sell for long-term success without them coming in.