It’s not rocket science

But there is some science involved. I’m talking ride nutrition and hydration

Disclosure…I am NOT a dietician or a certified nutritionist. These are just general guidelines for gen pop riders. In other words I won’t be getting into the intricate details that go into race training or prepping for race day. That would require much more individualized data for me to break it down.

One particular instance prompted me to send this info out….

  1. I was out on a ride early last week and totally bonked through the whole ride! I tried to get by with a crappy snack beforehand on the way to the trial head. I had a horrible ride and felt like crap. A day later I fueled and hydrated properly and killed a 12+ mile ride. Lesson learned.

I’m going to make this pretty easy to follow. All you have to do is pick the foods that you like that fit into your dietary needs.

Ok, lets talk timing.

Before, during and after. Yup, that simple.

  1. Before your ride = eat 1-2 hours beforehand
  2. During = every 30-60 minutes
  3. After = In the car on the way home or when you get home. Ideally within the hour.

Ok, now the what. What to eat.

Before the ride it should be generous on the carbs with a serving of protein and healthy fats.

For breakfast you can try protein pancakes. Make them ahead of time, bag them up in the fridge or freeze them. Pop ’em in a toaster, top with syrup or peanut butter. Other options include hot or cold oats with a side of Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts mixed in. Hearty breakfast bars. Warm (or cold) quinoa instead of oats is yummy, dressed as you like. Scrambled eggs and 2 pieces of whole wheat toast. If your tummy can’t handle a lot early in the am, try a banana or apple and peanut butter or a bagel and cream cheese. You’ll likely be able to fuel more an hour in to your ride.

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If your ride happens to be an evening after work ride….same idea just different foods. My go to is brown rice, black beans and corn, avocado and dollop of Greek yogurt. Sometimes I’ll add some ground turkey. DELICIOUS! We almost always have that on hand in the fridge as a staple. More options….PB & J, turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat. Cooked tempeh or tofu is a good sub for deli meat on sandwich. Endless possibilities, just make sure you get those slow digesting carbs, some protein and healthy fats in 1-2 hours ahead of time.

During the ride you want quick digesting carbs and you want to get at them about an hour into your ride. This will enhance focus and stamina and re-energize what you have depleted. LOADS of options as far as pre-made gels and gummies go. BIG fan of Honey Stinger brand and I’ve heard Skratch has a good energy gummy option (no kick back on this). I’ve had the Honey Stinger waffles but they usually get broken up in my bag. Just recently tried the Honey Stinger gels! Taste was good and they really brought my focus back on track. You can also go with any store bought gummy candies, jelly beans or gum drops. AND lastly…just some good ole honey.

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If we’re talking an all day ride I’ll bring a Cliff Bar (no kick back) and/or pb & J on whole wheat bread along with some candies or gels.

OK!! Ride is done and you crushed it right? Now what you want to do is recover your body with a good dose of protein. If I’m riding closer to home I’ll hit up the local gas station and grab a pre-made protein drink. You can also keep cold water in an insulated container and your favorite protein powder in a bag, mix it up and down it on the way home. There are of course protein bars but drinks will digest faster and get to their recovering job quicker. Then when I get home I’ll fortify with a full meal. LOTS of veggies, another nice serving of protein and little something something of carbs. Do I sometimes make a right turn into the burger joint or ice cream window? Well yes I DO! I save that for our epic weekend rides.

Lastly, we all know you need to hydrate, and if you’re anything like me that can be a weak point. I’m getting MUCH better at it though.

Again, keeping it very simple. The night before an early ride I drink a couple glasses of water. Just enough to not have me up in the middle of the night. One to two hours before a morning ride I have three- 8 oz cups of water. Why three? No reason, I just shoot for that and try for more. On the drive to the trail head I get my focus fuel in. This can be a pre-workout powder, energy drink, coffee or green tea. During your ride, here’s a good rule of thumb….shoot for a liter per hour. Sounds like a lot, but it’s a good recommended guideline for medium to high intensity exercise. If it’s a hot day, for sure get that liter per hour in and supplement your water with some electrolytes to restore what you have sweat out. Again Skratch is my favorite. Nuun tablets are a solid choice and even a couple pinches of sea salt will do the trick.

Alright, easy peasy right?! Don’t make that same mistake that I did. Keep it simple, make it a habit.

Always feel free to reach out with any specific questions, I’m always here to help!

Ride stronger, longer and happier.

Your coach, Tennyson.

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