Eat to ride, or ride to eat? Personally, we prefer ‘both.’
While inGamba provides everything you need to stay satiated and hydrated, it’s up to you to actually ensure that you’re eating and drinking enough throughout the day.
Unlike single day rides, where a bit of depletion is fine since you’ll have plenty of time to recover afterwards, bike tours require a bit more emphasis on eating and drinking enough. Every night, your body will be working overtime to repair muscle tissue from that day’s efforts, and it can’t focus on that work if you’re underfueled.
Here are a few simple ways to ensure that you make the most of your tour by fueling properly throughout.
Start with a solid breakfast
It’s a cliche for a reason: Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, especially if a lot of the day will be spent on the bike. Prioritize carbohydrates and protein—eggs and oatmeal are a cyclist classic for a reason—to top off your muscle glycogen stores and optimize your body’s ability to quickly repair muscle tissue. You’ll likely eat a lot of carbohydrates on the bike too, but protein can be tougher to sneak in during a ride. Not a morning person? It’s fine to sleep in a little late and move through breakfast quickly, but make sure you have something in your stomach before you hop on the bike. It’s hard to come back from being depleted!
Always be snacking and sipping
Stopped at the top of a climb or at a stop sign? Use this as a chance to take a few bigger sips from your water bottle or have a bite of an Enervit bar, chew or gel. If the days on the bike are bigger than you’re used to during a normal week of riding, make sure that you continue to snack and hydrate even after you’re off the bike.
The 90-minute window of time post-ride is important for optimizing a fast recovery, so try to eat a carbohydrate and protein-heavy snack in that time. That could be as simple as a dark chocolate protein bar from Enervit, or more indulgent, like a tray of cheese and crackers or a yogurt parfait.
Balance sport-specific snacks with real food
When you’re putting in long hours on the bike, you’ll want to rely on more than one type of food. A big breakfast, a delicious lunch stop and a quick stop at a cafe for a croissant are perfect ways to fuel your ride, but you may need more than that to get through the day. That’s where sport-specific food and drink options can help, and that’s why we have Enervit on hand during every ride.
If you’re a heavy sweater on the bike (you can tell by checking if your sweat dries white on your jersey), you may need extra electrolytes—which you can easily obtain with a scoop of Isotonic Drink Mix from Enervit in your bottle, or one of their various gels. Because they contain electrolytes and simple carbohydrates, the nutrition gets to the muscles that need it quickly.
Set up reminders on your cycling computer
Many cycling computers now offer the ability to set reminders to eat or drink. This can be a big help during bike tours, since with so many new sights to take in and so many new friends to chat with, it’s easy to go hours without taking a drink simply because you’re distracted. But if your computer beeps a warning every 15 minutes, you’re much more likely to pull your bottle out and take that drink.
Don’t forget to drink water at dinner
While we obviously love our great wine options on every tour, it’s also important to keep drinking water throughout the day, especially when drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages. Your body will be craving water after a long day on the bike, and unfortunately, alcohol dehydrates you. Aim to at least balance your water-to-wine ratio—your legs will thank you on the bike tomorrow.
Have that extra glass of water with electrolytes at night
If you struggle to drink enough on the bike, it’s tempting to chug liter after liter of water when you finish your ride. But plain water can actually end up diluting the electrolytes in your system and slow down your ability to rehydrate.
Drink plain water, but ensure that you’re getting enough electrolytes as well, either in your drink or via a salty snack. A pinch of sea salt or an electrolyte tablet in a glass of water before bed is a great way to ensure you’re fully hydrated for the next morning—especially if you indulged in a couple glasses of wine at dinner! (Bonus: It can also alleviate the effects of a hangover.)
And remember: Enjoy the indulgences, you’re on vacation!
That second croissant? Enjoy it, to the last buttery crumb. The decadent dessert? Savor every single bite. The sweet-salty sip of sports drink when you’re at the top of a brutal climb and feeling a little exhausted? Relish that feeling of relief as you drink. The extra splash of that fantastic burgundy post-ride? Sip it slowly and focus on the depth of flavors.
Yes, food is fuel, and it’s going to power you through the trip. But it’s also here to enjoy, so make an effort to be mindful of every bite. Remember: This isn’t a time to think about dropping a couple of pounds. This is a chance to truly enjoy every single bite and sip.
”Our energy reserves are almost unlimited as far as the fat stored in our body is concerned. But this fat can only be turned into energy in the presence of sugar. So, we mustn’t deplete our body’s reserves of sugar, which, unlike fat reserves, are limited.Elena Casiraghi, PhDadjunct professor at the University of Pavia