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Fit to Be a Champion: David and Kara Higgins on Diet and Exercise
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Photo: Lars Gange |

Some of that compromise with food has to do with the physical demands that he makes on his body. He started running for exercise. “That was a great way of burning fat,” he said. “I still do a lot of running now. The more I got into running, the more I got into fitness.”


That led to bicycling and into long-distance mountain-bike races – 60K or 100K cross-country races. “I have to change my diet for that as well, because you can’t just go and ride,” he stated.

Prior to the New England Forest Rally in July 2013, Higgins prepared in Wales. He expected the weather in Maine would be hot – in the 90s – as it had been in 2012. To accustom himself to the demands of hot weather, he decided to ride his mountain bike the length of the rally in two days. “So last week, on the hottest day, I went and did that,” he said. “When you do, you’re burning 3,000 to 4,000 calories, so you can’t afford to eat a tiny piece of chicken. It’s not going to get you through that.”



On Mountain Biking


David Higgins: “I’ve done six events this year: the winter series at the start of the year, which is maybe small two-hour races on a 10-mile lap. I just got into the top 20 toward the end of the season with that.


“A couple weeks ago, I entered a 75-mile, nighttime endurance event over the mountains. I got into the top 30 in that.”


Kara Higgins: “He does like his cycling, and he does like mountain biking. And we go out as a family and do mountain biking now. We’ve done about 8 miles, which is nothing compared to what David does.”


David: “Two weeks ago, I did a 60-mile race around Elan Valley, which has notoriously difficult hills. The main route they usually do is a maximum of 20 miles. We did 60.


“There were 206 people in that match, and I won that one. 


“So it’s been going okay.”


Kara: “Back home they track people’s routes to see who does them the quickest, so there’s quite a bit of competition. David makes it his challenge to go out and beat that.” 






“I avoid snacks. I drink lots of water and a little bit too much tea, but that’s okay, as I’m British!”

Now, when counting down the time for a rally event, Higgins feels better prepared. “The week before a rally I discipline myself and get into the mode of cutting out the things I know are bad,” he explained. “You maybe can get by with the odd little thing when you’re training hard at home and doing all the cycling. But when you come to a rally, being disciplined – this is what I can eat; this is what I can’t – helps get your brain focused for going to work.


Photo: Lars Gange |

“High protein, low carb is the main thrust. Before events, I wouldn’t necessarily rule out having pasta for the odd meal, where I used to have it all the time, thinking it was good. Now I wouldn’t have it but every two weeks.”



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