Whether you’re training, racing, or just out there having fun, it’s always important to fuel correctly. Before you even turn a pedal you should have already started taking care of your food and hydration requirements, and at the end of a challenging ride, you should always take a few minutes to make sure your body gets what it needs.
It’s essential to rehydrate, refill your energy stores (glycogen reserves) and repair muscle stress if you want to minimise pain and ensure that you’re prepared for the next session as quickly as possible. The couch can look tempting but making time in your post-ride routine for a few simple steps will make a huge difference to your performance on the bike and how you feel off it.
Remember: recovery trains you. Taking care of the recovery phase is a vital part of improving. You worked hard during the session so be sure to safeguard those gains when you get home.
Of course, you should be laying the groundwork for recovery before your ride even begins. Before you set off, have a clear idea of what you need to do. Get into the habit of hydrating and fueling in an organized and systematic way.
Prepare a nutrition strategy in advance by organizing your food in your pockets. You want to make sure it’s all easy to get to, and it can help to have it positioned in the order you plan to eat it. Partially opening bars is also a good move if you find it tough to do without stopping, or if you’re riding with winter gloves.
The key to hydration is small sips on a regular basis. If you wait until you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. Think about how much fluids you want to drink over the course of a ride. Then, remind yourself to take a drink at regular intervals. Put another way: Don’t wait an hour and gulp down a bottle. We also like taking Enervit Isotonic Gel just before setting off for some extra help.
Pre-sport products are also a good option to keep energy levels up. You won’t spike and then burn out, because they’re carbohydrate-based and have a low glycaemic index. They’re also easy to digest, releasing energy gradually, allowing you to start off strong without feeling weighed down.
GELS: KNOW WHEN TO USE THEM
Natural snacks like fruit, nuts or granola bars are great and our team always make sure there are plenty of fresh, homemade options available at the start of every ride, but gels are an important part of fueling for a big ride and there’s no question that they improve performance. They supply energy quickly, and crucially for us cyclists, they’re compact and easy to consume on the go.
Two great options are Enervit’s Liquid Gel and Isotonic Gel. The Liquid Gel is made with maltodextrin and fructose and is ideal for the final stages of a long ride. It provides up to 90g of carbohydrates per hour, and can also be dissolved in a bottle of water if you prefer not to fumble with the cap mid-ride.
The Isotonic Gel is the least concentrated gel in Enervit’s line. Made with just maltodextrin, it’s ideal for anyone with gastrointestinal sensitivity. It is not very thick and has a delicate flavor, and unlike many gels it doesn’t need to be drunk with sips of water. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach but you still want some extra firepower, this is the gel to reach for.
The key to getting the most from your gels is just knowing when to use them. Like hydrating, you should take them before you feel the need for them, so schedule it out in the same way as your drinking plan. Is there a big climb at the end of the day? Make sure you’ve consumed that gel in your pocket well before you’re on the steep bit and running out of gas.
ONE–SHOT SOLUTION AFTER EACH RIDE
If you’ve ridden with you, you’ll be familiar with recovery drinks. No, we don’t mean a refreshing beer in the sun, we’re talking about the bottles that our soigneurs hand out right after the ride.
That’s the R2 recovery drink from our friends at Enervit, and if you take it within 30 minutes of exercise it will do kickstart the body’s revitalisation with a whole host of good things such as carbohydrates, branched-chain amino acids, mineral salts, and antioxidant vitamins.
No professional soigneur at home? No problem, you just pour a sachet or a scoop into a water bottle, shake it up, and drink. You’ll soon feel the benefit, and you’ll already have taken the first step towards your next session.
Enervit is now available in the US. They’ve teamed up with The Feed to bring you the same competitive advantage that Enervit has been providing to European competitors since the 1970s. You can find it all here, with a wider range of products to come soon!
Also, be sure to check out Enervit’s Dr. Elena Casiraghi post for us on why protein is so important for cyclists.