The food you eat and fluids you take in on training rides have a real impact on how you feel, how you perform and the speed of your recovery.
1. Don’t eat too much in the two hours before you head out on a training ride. Light snacks are OK but if you want a big breakfast, have it early then let it digest.
2. Glycogen in your muscles is quickly used up when you are outdoors exercising so top it up with regular snacks or energy drinks.
3. Try to lay off high sugar products and go for something with a mix of fruit sugars and complex carbohydrate, like cereal bars, bananas, dried fruits or sport specific bars. These give a long, steady energy burn.
4. Hydration pre-training is a personal thing. Many like to lay off tea and coffee in order to ensure they pre-hydrate with water and fruit juices. Personally I couldn’t leave the house without my morning cuppa!
5. Throughout your ride keep sipping on water, juice or sports drink to stay hydrated. A 2 per cent drop in hydration levels can reduce your performance by around 20 per cent, and affects your concentration too. That’s not good in the middle of a long ride.
6. As soon as your ride ends, before you eat anything, have a big glass of orange juice with a nip of salt, to give you quick rehydration. This also provides a big shot of antioxidants, which help to stabilise those free radicals released by intensive workouts.
7. Once hydrated, you need to eat within about an hour of finishing your exercise. This period is known as the Glycogen Window, and is the best time to refuel your muscles for recovery and to prepare them for the next ride out.
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