When our body is physically exhausted, it an be hard to make our brain make good decisions. After a long ride, all you want to do is sit and eat. With being so tired, making a good nutritional decision can seem as complicated as making a souffle. It doesn’t have to be that hard. I will give you some easy-to-do tips so that after you make a good exercise decision, you can make a good nutritional decision.
You Don’t Need The Same Recovery Food After Every Ride
If you just finished an hour-long recovery spin, you really don’t need an entire meal. If it is meal time, then yeah, eat a meal, or if you are starving, have a snack, but you don’t need a mid-afternoon post-ride meal. We need to be realistic about the amount of food we need. If you have a power meter, you can calculate how many calories you should consume for recovery purposes.
You Shouldn’t Get Home With an Empty Stomach
Make sure that you are getting food and water while you ride.You should not get home feeling starving if you are eating enough during your ride. You shouldn’t expect to be able to consume as much as you burn, but you should eat enough to avoid a bonk after your ride.
The same thing can be said for staying hydrated. It is not an easy, or quick thing to recover from dehydration, and we often mistake thirst for hunger, and chugging water after your ride is not the same as drinking it throughout.
It is very important to regularly eat and drink throughout your ride so that you don’t do damage to your muscles.
Protein Should Be First
Unless you have another workout later in the day, your recovery window may be bigger than you would expect. If you have another workout planned, you should start your recovery process as soon as you can so that you are prepared for your next ride.
You should be shooting for about 20 grams of protein for your post-workout recovery. Whi;e protein powder is an option, it would be much better if you thought along the lines of whole foods. Meats, lentils, and eggs are all good options if you have time for a meal.
Carbs Are Up Next
A hard ride depletes your carbohydrate store, so you will need to restock your depleted glycogen counts. By eating foods like rice, fruit, veggies, and whole grains, you are adding healthy carbs to your diet, and speeding up your recovery process. Don’t use the word “carbs” and an excuse to eat cake or pie, though! You can sure treat yourself to a sweet pastry later, but don’t let it sneak into your recovery meal!
Drink, Drink, Drink!
You should be sure to get plenty of water during your ride. Dehydration is not something to be taken lightly! Even if you have had lots of water, you should spend a couple of post-ride hours sipping water to make sure your body is hydrated.
Don’t Drink Beer!
It can be super tempting to pull a cold beer out of the fridge right after a long, hot ride. Don’t do it, though! It would not ruin your hydration, but it is better to give your body time to recover before consuming alcohol. If you decide to have a can of booze, it would not be damaging, but be sure to chase it with some water to keep your hydration up.