Whether you are cycling long distance competitions or you just enjoy cardio highs in spin class, focusing on your nutrition before and after your ride will help you ride more efficiently, effectively, recover faster, and if you want – lose weight quicker.
Prior to your ride, it is important to feed your body good sources of carbohydrates that will get you through your ride. Good carbs are low glycemic, meaning that your body will take its time to break it down, and in turn slowly release the sugar into your bloodstream. If you’re trying to lose weight or even just trying not to gain weight, you want to make sure your blood sugar doesn’t surge. As a cyclist, you will need the carbs you eat pre-workout to sustain your energy throughout the ride.
Low glycemic carbs break down slower and the energy from the carbs make their way into your bloodstream in a slow and steady fashion. You’re going to want this for your ride. The slower the release the longer your stretch of energy will be, and the longer and harder you can cycle.
Whole foods like lentils and oatmeal are great to consume pre-workout. As opposed to processed food, which are practically digested for you and become straight sugar once it hits your system, whole foods will keep you energized.
A bagel for example, is high glycemic. All of the wheat bran from the bagel has been stripped when it became a white processed piece of bread, making it so easy to digest that it pumps sugar straight into your system upon eating it. For longer, harder rides, stick to low glycemic carbs.
The Goji Berry Blondies from FastBeets are quick enough to make the morning of a ride and stay fresh for a week if made in advance. They have all the goodness of low glycemic carbs like oatmeal, plus extra protein and sustaining good fats. It also happens to taste much better than traditional oatmeal. So, if you’re bored by a bowl of hot cereal, try these blondies instead.
ENHANCE YOUR RIDE NATURALLY WITH BEETS
If you’re a long distance cyclist or you just like to watch your score rise in spin class, you’re going to want a competitive edge. Believe it or not, beets can do this for you. The nitrates in beets pump oxygen into your blood allowing you to go past your last score without expending more energy. To capitalize on this, have a beet juice up to 40 minutes before your workout, or incorporate beets in a salad before your ride.
After your ride you will want to fuel back up with food that will nourish you without ruining your workout. You’ll first need to start with a little insight into your ride. How long did you ride for and how tough was your ride? If you rode for 45 min compared to 3 hours, your nutritional requirements will vary. So take note of how you feel and what you will need to feel your best. Everyone’s body is different. But know that generally, calorie intake should be equal or less than calories burned.
Post-workout carbs are a subjective to the individuals needs. For example, I know that if I supplement my workouts with high glycemic carbs post-workout, I will recover faster, but I will also gain more weight than if I didn’t workout at all. So know your limit. It's better to start with fewer carbs and work your way until you feel fully recovered.
Protein is hugely important post workout. Protein will rebuild your muscles after the ride. This helps in weight loss and in giving you an even better ride next time. So load up on protein within 20 minutes of your ride.
For a quick recovery try the Vanilla-Acai Berry Smoothie. It calls for half the quantity of sugars as most smoothies out there, but it should still provide a great post-workout replenishment to get you through the next hour. After your post-workout shower you can sit down for a solid meal. This quick smoothie has the protein for your muscle recovery and the acai berry for the energy recovery. Feel free to add a banana or more berries to speed up your energy recovery. Adjust based on the intensity of your workout.
About Shaina Simhaee
Shaina Simhaee is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and editor of FastBeets.com. She works one-on-one with clients to help them reach their health and wellness goals. Simhaee advises clients to be their healthiest without compromising any part of their decadent lives. FastBeets makes the healthy life attainable to busy people and makes it easy for everyone to be just a little but healthier.