To the uninitiated, driving a car may seem like a fairly mild physical chase, but at an elite level, the hosts of "Top Gear" insist that putting the pedal on the metal is a very intense experience.
Professional riders follow the same level of science, training, and nutrition that every other athlete must absorb. This is why the three hosts of “Top Gear”, a show that combines the adrenaline of Formula 1 racing with the excitement of a demolition derby, have often reached their limits.
Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff explained how they are preparing for some of their car-based adventures, and we soon found out that the iconic show will return on BBC America for an incredible 30th season in April due to the fun nature All three guys from Top Gear are extremely disciplined in their approach to driving.
Getting into auto racing gave Harris his first glimpse into the seriousness of racing teams' approach to issues like nutrition. "The first professional race I did was with Porsche," he says. “And I was amazed. The way they expected their drivers to behave as professional athletes was very real. "
Harris believes that the physical condition of the top drivers is still underestimated to this day. This includes eating to make sure they are getting the right nutrient release throughout the race. "I think that most people still have no idea how fit and strong a modern Formula 1 driver really is," he says. “Lewis Hamilton is a great driver, but he's also a physical one. If you shake hands with him, he could crush your hand. You wouldn't believe how powerful these drivers are. "
While Harris is known to millions of auto enthusiasts for his work in automotive journalism, less aware of his legitimate experience as a long-distance racer, including his performances at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2010 and 2015. So do racers watch their calories? “Very few benefits are allowed in racing because all cars must be the same weight,” says Harris. "One of the best ways to gain an advantage is for the rider to be very fit and very light." He starts a carefully followed diet and lowers his body weight before each race, knowing it will reduce the stress and improve his chances of a faster finish time.
McGuiness may be more known to viewers for his comedy thoughts than his muscle mass, but since joining Top Gear, he's taken a closer look at health and fitness. Last year, at the age of 46, he lost nearly 30 pounds and got a lot firmer thanks to a combination of running, boxing, and clean eating. During the trip, he even received tips and suggestions from personalities such as "The Beast" Eddie Hall, Martyn Ford and Donna Moore. He admits that he learned a lot about himself in the process.
"It was a challenge for me to see if I can do it," he says. "w I prefer to be stronger and not worry about how I look shirtless, but as long as I am stronger and feel like I can run or get on my bike, I'm happy."
Of the three hosts, Flintoff has the most impressive athletic pedigree, but some of the wacky auto antics on "Top Gear" are hard to prepare for any athlete, like the time the former English cricket captain stepped in from a 500-foot dam Switzerland has jumped in the air while strapped into a Rover convertible. He makes sure work goes to the gym.
"I don't do big weights, it's mostly stretches," he says of his current fitness program. "I don't feel like I'm exercised unless I finish a session sweating. I know your body changes when you don't exercise. And mentally, no exercise has a massive impact on me."
Flintoff finds that the more he drives, the more his mental and physical endurance improves during the rigors of the road. There is no question that good technology also plays a major role in driving. Harris notes that bad posture frustrates many drivers. "One of the most common things about people who haven't driven fast cars on a racetrack is that they have no idea how bad their posture is in the car," he says. "Really, what you want to do is have the seat support you so you don't use up too much of your core and your arms can move freely."
After completing the last season of "Top Gear", all three hosts agree on which tasks presented the greatest physical challenges. The boys did a triathlon in which they were forced to swim in extremely cold temperatures. They were also towed at high speed on an airplane runway while wearing titanski on their feet. “I was on the back of an Ariel nomad … about 90 miles an hour, and you had to hold on for your dear life. You didn't want to let go, ”says Flintoff.
So who is the most competitive of them all? "We're equally competitive, but for different reasons," says Harris. "Freddie, with his professional athletic background, just wants to achieve something, and Paddy just hates being passionate about losing."
"You're right," jokes Paddy. "I don't mind finishing second, but I hate to lose."
"Ah, second place is like losing!" fires Freddie back. "Second is a loss."