Eating for efficient exercise
Even while you’re fast asleep, your body’s still digesting the food and drink you’ve eaten during the day. To let that happen effectively, and to be ready for a ride early the next day, try not to eat any later than about 7pm. That way, your body can focus on using those nutrients effectively for health and repair and growth.
Light bites are better
Just before a training ride, your body may benefit from absorbing a little extra energy – but it’s important to choose foods that are still easily digestible, and make sure you eat sensible portions. Try variations on this theme:
- two cupped handfuls of starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice or quinoa;
- a piece of protein – something like grilled chicken or fish – but no more than a palm-sized piece for women, or a palm and a half sized piece for men;
- 1 to 2 cupped handfuls of dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach or watercress;
- a thumb-sized portion of healthy fats, like avocado or rapeseed oil, used as a dressing to preserve the healthful qualities of the oil.
Top up, mid-trip
While you’re focusing on the road ahead, stay alert for that ‘dry mouth’ feeling. It’s easy to dehydrate, especially if you’re losing fluids through sweat (which is normal). It really is important to keep your fluid levels topped up, and it’s easy enough to add water bottle to your cycle’s frame without upsetting its aerodynamics.
Everyone’s levels of fitness are slightly different. It’s important to experiment and find out what works for your body, your levels of overall health, and your current levels of stamina.
If you’re in any doubt about the amount of training you’re doing, or you’d like to start cycling as part of an exercise routine, it’s a good idea to check in with your GP first.