Recovery is a very important thing for cycling performance. The best riders all have one thing in common they can effectively recover from hard and long training sessions. Maybe you don’t have the same genes as them but you can still improve a lot with proper nutrition. Give your body the right fuel after a ride and make a few adjustments in your regular diet and you will be able to ride more often and faster!
Eat fast carbs 15 – 30 minutes after a hard ride
The very first thing your body wants to do after a hard training session is to replenish the lost glycogen reserves. If you give it fast, easy to digest carbs in the first 30 minutes, you will replenish a lot more glycogen as a result. The best choices will be fruits or fruit juices. Don’t go straight for a large meal with a lot of protein or fat in these 30 minutes, those would make your body focus on digestion and you will miss out on glycogen recovery and have less energy the next day as a result.
Get enough protein
The second thing your body wants to do is repair the muscle damage that the training session did. For this your body needs enough protein and more fuel. There are two ways to give them to your body. First, you can find a quality recovery shake that contains protein and carbs that are easy to digest, and you’ll get what you need fast and on the go. Or you can have a whole meal ready which will take more time to digest but usually gets you also more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are necessary in the long term too. Regardless which way you choose, make sure your body gets a protein dose about an hour after the ride ended.
Now that you gave your body what it needs after a long hard ride, it’s time to think ahead. Inflammation is good in the short term, it allows your body to repair damaged tissues and improve. The problem is when inflammation persists chronically then it can do more damage than good. If you have a demanding stressful job and train a lot, chances are your body is fighting inflammation all the time. To help get it under control, you can try all of these things.
- Sleep longer, daily hard training might require you sleep up to 9 hours per night
- Limit sugar and refined grains in your daily diet they promote inflammation.
- Add fish and fresh vegetables to your diet, they are anti-inflammatory.
- Get a cold bath, shower, or try cryotherapy. Cold temperatures help reduce inflammation.
- Get a massage and do light exercises on rest days, both help blood flow
In the following articles I will recommend several recipes that make it easy to get enough protein and fight inflammation. I will also show you how to spice things up with home-made protein shakes. But sleeping and cold baths are on you!