Nikita Ducarroz has a Exercise Plan to Assist Carry BMX to the Subsequent Degree

Freestyle BMX began as an urban pastime trailing behind more established disciplines such as mountain biking and track cycling, but it’s official debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games now places it among elite sports. To that end, trailblazers like Nikita Ducarroz are beginning to get a handle on workouts and nutrition to help them get ahead.

To find out more, M&F sat down with the Swiss stunt specialist to find out how she is training her body and mind ahead of Paris 2024.

In Olympic freestyle Bicycle Motocross (BMX), the aim is to get to the finals, where the participants will perform as many tricks as possible within 60 seconds. Judges score the riders based on the difficulty of the tricks that they pull off, and other elements such as the height that they reach and the creativity and style of their routines.  At Tokyo 2021, Nikita Ducarroz impressed, taking the podium in the sports Olympic debut and earning her place in history with a bronze medal. The 27-year-old now boasts four Swiss national championships, a European championship, and multiple world championships to her name, and is understandably excited for Paris 2024, but she also understands that being an elite athlete means her training must constantly evolve.

Little Shao / Red Bull

Training Tips Nikita Ducarroz Has For Other BMX Riders

“It’s really the overall picture, and staying fit,” Ducarroz tells M&F. “We fall a lot, so it’s making sure our bodies can sustain that.” A suitable BMX for Olympic competition can fluctuate somewhere above or below 25 pounds (11.3kg) and while the bike needs to be light enough to pickup time after time, it also needs to be sturdy enough not to breakup on impact. Operating a BMX requires strength, balance, and flexibility, along with explosive power for those short bursts of energy.

Ducarroz tells M&F that she prefers full-body workouts, simulating the way that she is taxed during a BMX competition. The athlete squats to build up leg strength and works with the Swiss ball for flexibility. The brilliant BMXer also does plyometric training such as box jumps to work on that all important explosive power. The evolution of Ducarroz’s workouts is based on her increasing commitment to deliver on the world stage, seeking out the advice of experts to make sure that she is working-out smart as well as hard. “I work with a strength coach, she’s based in the UK, so its just like over zoom and stuff,” explains the biker of how she gets her sessions planned in. “I’m able to go into the APC (Redbull Athlete Performance Centre in Austria) a couple times a year and just do a bunch of testing so that I can give those numbers back to my coach and she can see what’s working.”

Nikita Ducarroz making a jump on her BMX bike on the streets of ParisLittle Shao / Red Bull

From the Streets of Cali to the Road To Tokyo

The origins of the sport of BMX date back to the 1970S, very shortly after the bike caught the imagination of kids in southern California. It would be decades later that a 13-year-old Ducarroz discovered the urban activity on YouTube while growing up in California herself. Crucially, getting to grips with her first bike proved to be a “live saver,” because Ducarroz shares that she was suffering with anxiety that was so chronic, the teenager had withdrawn from school and pretty much all of every day life. BMX eventually provided this girl with a way of meeting likeminded friends and also led to her the realization of having serious potential as an athlete. Of course, now that BMX is an elite sport, it requires elite training, and Ducarroz is excited to be part of this evolution. “There’s no set way to do things yet,” explains the rapid rider. Runners, swimmers, and other Olympic athletes may have generation of data to study when it comes to how a particular type of training can improve one’s performance, but the relative baby of BMX is only just finding its feet. “Working out in our sport is very new,” she says. “The concept of training and actually treating it like a real sport… so it’s been cool working with someone who is really knowledgeable on the fitness side of things, and someone who is open to exploring the BMX side, and kind of having a lot of communication between us to figure out what are the best things to be doing.”

Ducarroz explains that her commitment and discipline for training as an elite athlete means that she completes three strength and circuits-based workout per week. “And then, on the rest of the days, I’ll try to throw in a combination of Yoga, mobility, and also some bike interval training.” Another area of conditioning that is essential for Ducarroz is to make healthy choices as relates to her nutrition. Automobile racing drivers know that adding a few pounds of fat can take them off track, and Ducarroz also understands that weight gain, or loss, can mean a completely different experience when trying to shift her body on the bike. “I’ve been working with nutritionists, through the APC, to learn what are good things for me to be eating, and at what times,” she explains. “To fuel, to recover… I’m trying to be intentional about the way that I eat.” On BMX training days, Ducarroz doesn’t eat for an hour before getting on the bike. She explains that foods such as Greek yoghurt and granola, with added fruits, are a great way for her to eat and feel sustained while performing stunts and tricks. Ducarroz also shares that she eats a gluten free diet because gluten causes her to have stomach issues. “Other than that, I pretty much eat everything,” she enthuses, noting that a balanced diet is the goal. Hydration is another consideration. “For training and competitions, I always have electrolytes as well.”

Nikita Ducarroz shares that while she has come along way since her tender teens, overthinking and bouts of anxiety and depression are a recurring theme in her life. Fortunately, she is learning to accept her flaws as well as her successes, and says that experimenting with different breathing exercises has been of great relief. The biker found BMX to be a great way to find a support system, and encourages anyone dealing with mental health issues to find someone that they can talk to. Being active has also been great for her overall wellbeing. To help others, the resilient rider has created an Instagram space called “M1ntricks” dedicated to sharing stories and conversations around mental health. With Paris 2024 just weeks away, Ducarroz is genuinely excited for the future. “I have (Paris) in mind, and I feel like everything I’m doing is for that, and I’m reminding myself of that, but at the same time, I’m trying to stay in the moment.”

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