Picking up good eating habits around cycling is vital to a successful enjoyable ride.
Keep your fluid levels topped up
Get into the habit of taking on fluid regularly, whether you are out on the road or not. Water is essential for carrying nutrients around the body and for regulating body temperature.
Being dehydrated can lead to a significant drop in performance so make sure you get enough water on board. When the weather is really hot try popping a hydration tablet into your water to replace those electrolytes that are lost through sweat.
Don’t leave fuelling to the last minute
Have a pre-race carb meal 2 hours before exercise in order to top up your energy stores. Do not make the mistake of over-eating however as this may leave you feeling bloated. You can always top up your energy on the start line with an energy gel.
Eat regularly during longer exercise
Your body can store enough energy for 90 minutes of strenuous exercise, and then you’ll be running on empty. It’s far better not to let yourself get to that – so don’t risk bonking.
Try to get into the habit of eating regularly in order to ensure you maintain performance and avoid getting jelly legs; even the pros can get this wrong. We recommend that 60-90g of carbohydrate intake per hour is optimum and this can be obtained easily from energy drinks, energy gels and bars that are perfect for popping in your jersey pocket.
Practice your nutrition strategy in training
You wouldn’t do an event without the necessary training so don’t eat during an event without practicing your strategy first. You need to know how gels, energy bars and energy drinks make you feel at different stages of your ride in order to know which one to have and when.
Recovery, recovery, recovery!
When you train or compete your body uses up so much more energy than normal and it is vital that these stores get replenished. Without replacing energy, nutrient and protein stores your body just will not recover from the stresses and strains of training.
Taking on proteins and carbohydrates within an hour of your training will increase your recovery due to the body’s unique ability to absorb nutrients within this time. A bowl of pasta and chicken is perfect, but if you don’t have easy and speedy access to a kitchen or a shop then try a recovery drink
Last but not least
A bike ride can take you over a long distance, and medical identification must be worn should an emergency happen and people are trying to help you.