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Nutrition for MTB Adventures – Recovery

By Jiri Kaloc

Recovery is extra important for multi-day races and adventures because you don’t have the luxury to just take a few days off if you don’t feel good in the morning. Let’s take a look at what you should do right after a ride and later in the day to feel as fresh and full of energy as possible the next day.

Post-ride fuel

This is when special recovery drinks can come in handy. Most cyclists don’t need them for regular training or individual rides but when it comes to multi-day races or adventures, they can be a big help. They are easy to digest, which helps after a hard day of riding, and they contain the right mix of macros. Go for drinks that have a roughly 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. That ratio is beneficial for increasing protein synthesis in the muscle mass and kick-starting glycogen replenishment. Try to have this drink as soon as you finish your riding or within about 15 minutes.

Within the next 1-2 hours, make sure to get a moderately-sized meal that’s centred around protein and carbs again. You might still feel some fatigue and dehydration so don’t overeat to avoid nausea. A portion of fish or meat with some starchy carbs works best for this meal. You can try our Chicken Breast with Pesto and Sweet Potatoes recipe.

Post-ride dinner

You should try to get at least one more good meal in before going to bed to maximize your recovery. The dinner is a good opportunity to load up on veggies. All of that fibre would slow digestion too much to eat in the morning or on the bike. So, dinner is when you can have a big salad with lots of leafy greens and colourful veggies. But don’t forget protein and carbs also. When it comes to liquids, limit caffeine beverages. Those could disrupt your sleep. Also, save your beer for the final day to celebrate. Alcohol is not good for hydration, protein synthesis, and good sleep. Stick to water or fresh juices if you want to maximize carbohydrate intake.

Prioritize sleep

The last and probably most important part of recovery is good sleep. You repair muscle and fill up your energy reserves during sleep so make sure to put a priority on sleeping well. Intense cycling day multiple days in a row is very demanding and requires you to sleep even more than usual. Try to hit 9 hours of quality sleep to be safe. Check out our series of articles on sleep quality if you’re not sure how to improve it.

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