You wouldn't drive a car on empty, so why would you workout with an empty stomach?
#1 Never Workout On Empty
Eating before your workout takes a bit of planning but it’s necessary to avoid feeling sluggish and tired.
A carb-rich meal 1-3 hours before cycling is ideal, this way your body can process the food to give you energy. If you prefer a morning ride it can be hard to budget that time. Ride under an hour? Grab a quick snack to tide you over until you can eat a full meal after!
Our favorite quick snack ideas:
- Snack bars
- Peanut butter sandwich
- Trail mix
When you have more time, we love these meals:
- Whole wheat oatmeal with berries
- Pre-workout smoothie with berries, coconut water, and yogurt
- Yogurt with berries and granola
#2 Replenish Your Body By Hydrating
It’s important to hydrate your body before, during and after a workout! For bike rides under an hour, water is good enough to stay hydrated.
Follow these water guidelines to stay hydrated:
- Before exercise: 2-3 cups of water
- During exercise: ½ to 1 cup every 20 minutes
- After exercise: 3-5 cups of water
If your ride will be longer than an hour, it’s essential to replenish the electrolytes used by your body. Many sports drinks have extra sugars, so try these DIY electrolyte drink recipes! Our favourite is the Strawberry Lime Electrolyte Drink:
2 cups unsweetened coconut water
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup water
⅛ tsp Himalayan pink salt
4 medium strawberries
1 tsp raw honey
Blend together + strain for a refreshing drink that replenishes lost electrolytes!
Looking for an added protein boost? Try chocolate milk! It has the ideal carbs to protein ratio for muscle recovery, making it great option to rehydrate your body after a ride.
#3 Pack on the Protein to Aid Recovery
Eating within 15-45 minutes after your exercise replenishes your body with energy. Focus on protein-packed meals to help repair and build muscle, and carbs to aid in recovery.
Our favourite workout recovery meals:
- Turkey wrap
- Avocado and egg on whole wheat toast
- Egg omelette with veggies
- Salmon and sweet potato
If you’re in a rush after cycling, don’t skip out and leave your stomach empty! This can slow down recovery time and depletes your energy even faster.
Try these quick snacks if you can’t grab a full meal:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Trail mix
- Hummus, cheese and apples
#4 Foods to Avoid to Maximize Your Ride
Filling your stomach with rich, greasy foods can make you feel bloated and gassy! Make sure to focus on complex carbs instead of simple carbs like candy, cakes and sugary sweets.
You don’t need to avoid fats completely, but make sure you have the best ones to aid recovery. Aim for avocados or nuts that have healthy fats instead of processed ones!
#5 Remember You Know Your Body the Best!
Everybody is different! Some people can’t handle a load of protein before their workout, and others need more hydration. Pay attention to what works and feels good for you, and give your body what it needs!
What to Eat Before and After a Workout. (2021, August 2). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-foods-for-workout
Nutrition rules that will fuel your workout. (2021, February 23). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/nutrition-rules-that-will-fuel-your-workout/art-20390073
Dessinger, H. (2020, July 31). 4 Easy Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipes. Mommypotamus. https://mommypotamus.com/diy-electrolyte-sports-drink/
Semeco, M. A. S. (2021, April 12). Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eat-after-workout