One of the ways to ensure you are hydrated properly is to take one of the sports drinks on the market; they contain sodium and other nutrients that are lost primarily through sweating. They help push the fluids into muscle spaces. Drink little and often. If you wait until you are thirsty, its too late – look at ZIPVIT its carb loaded too (review coming shortly)
PRE EVENT FUELLING
The key at breakfast is to ensure you’re maintaining a good blood sugar level and eat foods that will release energy slowly. Porridge is a good low GI food, by maintaining a good blood sugar level it will help to preserve the muscle glycogen. A combination of protein and carbohydrate is important too.
Protein is often overlooked by cyclists who think they need to carbo load, but protein is important for amino acids. I advise one to two pints of milk a day its cheap and a good source of minerals such as calcium. I also recommend a cod liver oil capsule, to ensure the correct amounts of fatty acids are maintained.
DURING THE RACE
Feeding in a long race is very important. Most riders tend to prefer solid food until the latter stages when the racing gets more intensive, when theyll switch to gels. In shorter races run at a higher intensity its best to stick to bars and real food, leave the gels if you are beginning to flounder or the pace is high that you cant start scoffing granola/energy bars
After a race or hard training ride it’s important to get back as much as you can as quickly as you can. A specialist sports recovery supplement can be absorbed quickly but it doesn’t have to be a specialist drink, a normal milkshake would also be suitable. For a cyclist doing heavy training, the days off are when the muscles are recovering and it’s important to eat properly then too.
Eat three main meals a day with small snacks in-between and a bit of supper in the evening if you are doing a lot of training.
If you put on weight you’re overfuelling, but it may not just be the amount or type of food that is causing you to gain weight,It could be that youre eating at the wrong times. If you eat nothing before or during a long ride and then eat loads afterwards you’ll put weight on. There Is a difference between eating because you’re fatigued from exercise as opposed to eating all of your calories after a ride. Eat little and often and ensure you have a good, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Stick to a sensible diet.
Cyclists can get obsessive about bodyweight, but if you lose too much weight you can sacrifice power. Radical weight loss should be avoided unless you have proper guidance.
by Ian Jenner