Be diet savvy! Sometimes on the bike we don't feel so hungry and if there's a good breeze to keep you cool you may not feel that thirsty either. But it's wise to keep hydrated and it's wise to carry sensible snacks and make sure you prepare properly for whatever cycling you're doing, even if you're trying to lose weight because muscle burns fat but muscle only builds with proper fuel!
When you eat is almost as important as what you eat - If you're training then fuel up with a high carbohydrate snack or small meal about an hour before you ride. Nothing too heavy, perhaps whole grain toast and fresh fruit or a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter (preferably not the sugary rubbish version!). If your ride is longer than an hour, you’ll need to refuel again.
Researchers recommend about 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrate for each of the 30 minutes you ride beyond the first 60 minutes. This might be a good time to consider a sports drink or healthy energy bar. After you've trained (particularly if it was a long session) you should aim to eat a high carb, high protein snack or meal within 60 minutes to replenish your body and prepare you for your next ride. A good choice is to make a healthy chocolate milkshake and blend a banana in it as its a perfect refuel and tastes great too!
Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Cyclists must make a conscious effort to drink fluids before, during and after riding to avoid the worst pitfall of all; dehydration. It is crucial that you are proactive and drink plenty of fluids, even before you feel thirsty. You'll should drink at least 8 - 12 ounces of fluid immediately before a ride, another 8 ounces every half hour during a ride, and enough when you're finished to gradually replenish those lost fluids after a ride.
A hydrated body is a healthy body and if you're unsure then coconut water is a perfect post-exercise hydrator but never in total exchange for plenty of plain old water! Do a bit of both!
1 June 2013