By Stephen Gussin
Personal Trainer and Owner of Cyclefitness.co.uk
Successful recovery from a hard session is the most important thing you will do once you get off the bike. Cycling is hard, there’s no doubt that using just your body to move yourself up a steep hill or sprint up to 45 mph like the pros is hard work, but more importantly it’s physiologically hard on your body.
The correct fuel is in your car so you need to put the correct hydration and nutrients into your body, before, during and after exercise. Here are a few points of what you need to do and what products will help in your recovery…
The Impact Of Cycling
Whilst cycling is low impact and undoubtedly has many benefits to the human body it does also have a physical impact. Joints, tendons, muscles and the circulatory system are all effected.
Cycling is also a limited range of motion exercise, this means that certain muscles and tendons are shortened during exercise. This compromises you physically so you should aim to do other types of exercise like strength work in the gym and regular stretching.
Dangers Of Over Training
Over training is a common error and normally something the athlete is not aware of until it’s too late. The body needs a certain amount of time to recover, if it doesn’t do this adequately fatigue sets in and is often not noticed as the individual just thinks they are tired from exercise or work schedules.
Be aware of these two tell tale signs which could be indicators of over training:
✓ Poor sleep patterns
These signs may seem obvious, however, it’s important to take them into consideration and not just brush them off with blame on a late night or stress in the office. One of the best pieces of advice to take away is to listen to your body and not force yourself to overtrain. Accepting that you’re tired and incorporating more rest into your routine will allow for effective recovery, which will in turn reward you with more energy to excel and improve, in addition to preventing any injuries.
Cycling Recovery Tips
The importance of recovery cannot be underestimated, it is vital to take in adequate nutrition and hydration within 30 minutes of finishing your session.
✓ Good hydration is always important, try to make sure you drink plenty of water and preferably mineral replacement drinks.
✓ Consume a good source of protein to repair muscle tissue and aid recovery – carbohydrates are vital to replenish depleted energy stores so that you don’t feel fatigued.
Cycling Recovery Foods
It is important to make sure that what you eat after exercise is good quality and not “junk food.”
✓ A good quality protein like chicken or beef is ideal.
✓ Alternatively, make a quick omelette as eggs are a perfect source of protein and contain all the essential amino acids.
✓ Good carbohydrate sources are wholemeal bread, brown pasta or rice, these are complex carbohydrates so will replenish and provide energy for a prolonged period of time.
As a rule stick to dairy for a good protein source and non-starchy complex carbohydrates.
Supplements are a great way to help with your recovery and contain ingredients that are scientifically formulated for optimal recovery. Whilst you may be able to get the majority of your nutritional requirements from food it isn’t always practical or possible, especially straight after a race or if you are away.
Preparing a full meal on your return from a hard ride is the last thing you want to do. Supplementation is ideal for athletes keen to get the best from their recovery routine. A good recovery shake like Myprotein’s Recovery XS is an ideal way to get protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and electrolytes lost through exercise. Recovery XS is specifically formulated to optimise recovery after hard exercise.
Alternatively try Myprotein’s Energy RE:CHARGE this has a higher protein content to help with muscle repair, carbohydrates and the essential electrolytes.
Take Home Message: Recovery Is Not About Just Resting
Recovery is about rest but more importantly about the nutrition you take in during your rest period. If you follow the basic rules of nutrition with added supplementation you can be sure of optimal recovery, enabling you to train harder and improve your fitness and PB’s.
If you don’t recover properly you are susceptible to over training and your fitness will deteriorate and your PB’s will suffer. Take a look at the products on our website that have been specifically formulated to help you recover, just type “recovery” into the search bar!
Enjoy your riding!