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Biking is a tough workout, and when you’re in the depths of a trail, you’ll want to be prepared with proper food and hydration. You should also know how to equip your body for a long ride and how to help with recovery post-ride. In this blog, we’re going to be talking about how to take care of your body before, during, and after a ride.
We always recommend eating before a long ride. You're taking in calories (AKA energy) that your body will need while pushing your muscles. According to this Active article, the type of food you consume before a ride depends on the time of day. For example, for early morning rides, they suggest eating an energy bar, a liquid meal supplement, or a high carbohydrate drink 15-60 minutes before your ride. For an evening ride, they suggest a lot of carbohydrates and little to no protein or fats two hours before riding. A fruit smoothie, banana, bagel, or energy bar would be great options.
It's important to consume carbohydrates before a bike ride. Your body turns carbs into glucose, which is your main source of energy. Consuming a large portion of carbohydrates before a ride will give you more energy and allow you to ride further and harder.
We always carry a few extra snacks with us while we ride in case we didn't quite eat enough before leaving. Here are a few of our favorites:
These snacks are great for giving you more energy to finish your bike ride. You’ll want something that has carbohydrates but isn’t super filling. That will only slow you down. These snacks should just give you a little boost of energy to get you through the ride.
Hydration is also super important for an enjoyable ride. Sometimes water bottles aren’t enough, so we suggest taking an Osprey backpack with you on your ride. These packs store a large reservoir for water so you won't be stuck on the trail dying of thirst. They are also large enough to carry snacks, tools in case of emergency, and extra layers. Come into the shop and check them out!
Now that you got back from your ride, what should you eat? Your post-working meal is just as important as what you eat before riding. Carbohydrates and protein are the best things to eat to help your body recharge and recover. You should eat something containing carbohydrates and protein 30-60 minutes after exercising.
If you don't eat anything or the wrong type of food, you'll feel weak and sore. The amount of carbohydrates and proteins you need to eat after riding depends on the length and intensity of your ride. Melissa Majumdar, M.S., R.D. suggests 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of riding and 1.3-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. You burn so many calories on a bike ride that it’s encouraged to consume more calories than you would normally. The key is to consume foods that will fuel your body instead of foods that might slow it down, such as food with high-fat content.
The goal is to hit your next ride as strong as possible. Proper nutrition and taking care of your body are so important to seeing improvement in strength and endurance during a bike ride. Consume the right foods and liquids before, during, and after your workout to be the best you can be on the trail.