Eat right post-ride
Clocking up the miles makes you hungry, but don’t go for any old junk if you want to get the most out of the next ride…
Eat up out there
The first step to successful recovery is not to go too deep on depleted resources in the first place, so make sure you eat and drink enough to fuel your session. On a long ride this could mean packing your pockets with food, or even stopping for something more filling. And while you may not need to eat at all for short rides or turbo intervals, you should still make sure you stay hydrated.
Hold your fire
When you first walk through the door, don’t make straight for the biscuit tin. Instead, grab yourself a recovery drink (chocolate milk is a great option if you don’t have a specific recovery product to hand) and sip at that while doing a few post-ride stretches. The drink will provide your body with the carbs and protein it needs to help the muscles recover and adapt, and will also help to stem your appetite during the immediate post-ride period.
Having resisted temptation initially, allow yourself a snack once you’ve finished you drink and competed your stretching routine – within half an hour of finishing your ride is ideal. Look for something that contains 1g of protein for every 4g of carbohydrate. A tuna or egg sandwich would work, but go easy on the mayo and make it using pitta bread for maximum benefit.
Head off for a shower after your snack and then return to the kitchen within a couple of hours of your ride to get yourself a proper meal. You should be looking to get sources of protein and complex carbs onto your plate, so look at mixing chicken, fish or tofu with rice or pasta. Get some vegetables on your plate as well, to get an injection of vitamins and antioxidants – a Thai green curry with rice is a perfect option.
Going for drinks
Throughout this period you should be looking to replace fluids lost during exercise. If you get into the habit of weighing yourself before and after you ride, you can get a clear idea of how much fluid you are losing on your rides, but as a general rule it makes sense to ensure you have an extra glass or two of water after a ride.
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