The official riding season is down and out for a few months now and what might be stressful for some; Winter training is a blessing in disguise for others. You'll have hopefully read our Winter Training blog and are well versed in how to train safely and how to dress accordingly. The next - and arguable most important topic is food; how to eat, what to eat and when to eat. When the harsh winter hits and the world around you starts to crumble with school closures, sick kids and blocked roads, your diet is likely to take some bashing too (and that's not including all the 'festive spirit' consumptions)!
Training whilst undertaking a poor diet isn't smart - it's just asking for trouble. You've got to make sure you're getting the vital food groups and vitamins to avoid tiredness and lack of release in endorphins - remember; when you exercise your body releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! We've established that time is of the essence around this time of year, so as applied to most things in the cycling world - plan ahead. Don't depend solely on protein as your main fuel source - carbs and fats are your friend, only when these are hard to come by do you depend on a shake. Fat will slow the digestive process and aid recovery; keeping you fuller for longer.
Here's a few bits to add to your next shopping list: Egg noodles, oats, eggs, lean cuts of meat/fish, Full-fat Probiotic yoghurt (mmm), bananas (your best friend), coconut/almond/cows milk, seeds and nuts mix (not too many, mind!),
lentils/beans/pulses provide good quality proteins, fresh, brightly coloured seasonal vegetables (Butternut squash soup or curry to warm up with after a winter ride) and brown rice/pasta.
Now, the when to eat bit. You should probably avoid the usual McDonalds or local pub stop.... But who am I to ruin a good ride! Honestly though, it's not a conductive way to achieve great health... The general rule is carb load before your ride - big lunch if you're at work, or hearty dinner at home - wait an hour or so before hitting the road and hey -presto you're good to go! Remember your recovery fuel and gels - they'll balance out your electrolytes - we've got plenty of back pocket munchies you can make and take with you on our Pinterest page. Seriously - they're to die for! I'd go riding more, just for an excuse to keep eating.
Eat and drink up until you are home from a ride.
The body can only utilise a small amount of protein every two hours therefore, keep protein intake small and evenly spaced throughout all daily meals/snacks.
It’s cheaper, less time consuming and healthier to arrive home from a ride and have a glass of milk (ideally semi-skimmed or full-fat) and a banana/flapjack to aid recovery until your next mealtime than buying a protein shake.
Staying well hydrated with water, only use sports products alongside water during training and minimal caffeine intake when not competing.
You might also be interested in some seasonal and not so healthy recipies!