Hydration & Fuel Tips for Pre, During & Post Ride
When it comes to riding your bike, proper hydration and fuel, both on and off the bike, can significantly improve your fitness and your recovery.
If you’ve gotten into cycling as a means of exercise, wanting to improve your health and fitness, then paying attention to what goes into your water bottle and the fuel you consume while riding can either help you achieve your goals or hinder them.
When I got into cycling, it was a form of exercise for me. Therefore I had the mentality of wanting to burn calories. I avoided putting anything into my water bottle or consuming any fuel during my rides for fear of added calories, and I found myself only ever riding with a bottle of water.
The more I got into riding my bike, the more I found myself wanting to ride longer distances. However, I quickly found myself struggling to improve.
I was once told,
“If you want to perform well and not struggle while on the bike, you need to fuel your body properly.”
After that, I looked into the connection between proper hydration, ride fuel, fitness and performance.
The increase in heat and sweat creates a demand on the body, and if you’re hydrating incorrectly, your goals may be hindered, and your performance can be halted. The increase in demand on your muscles and organs to perform well during a ride can suffer if they are not being refuelled at the correct times.
Using an electrolyte drink and eating properly to fuel your ride can help elevate your level of fitness & performance on the bike and aid in recovery between rides.
If you want to improve your health & fitness on and off the bike, here are my top recommendations:
When it’s hot out, it’s ideal to ensure you are hydrating daily to prevent dehydration during your rides
Ensure you are aiming for approx. 2L (64 oz) of water daily (more if you work outdoors or sweat a lot)
During your ride:
Use dried fruit or other types of simple sugar sources when riding for 1.5 hours or longer
Aim to “refuel” every 40-45 minutes during longer rides
If you’re riding for 1 hour or less, no need to bring snacks for fuel, just a water bottle, or an electrolyte drink, like Nuun, if it’s hot
Depending on how long and how hard of an effort your ride was, you may want to replenish your muscles with a protein shake or BCAA’s
Remember, I don’t know your individual needs; this is just a suggestion
Otherwise, aim for a healthy meal post-ride that has a protein, a healthy fat & plenty of veggies for proper muscle recovery
If you want to ensure you are maximizing your activity, you need to fuel your activity.
Do your best to remind yourself that snacks and electrolyte drinks are helping you succeed, not hindering.
You need to fuel your activity. Always hydrate, and never forget to snack.
Your body (and mind) will thank you.
Natalie is a mom of 2 beautiful children, a loving wife, a business owner, a cyclist, a foodie and a lover of life. She is also a Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner (RNCP) and Registered Orthomolecular Health Practitioner (ROHP), along with a RMT registered with CMTO.
If you’d like to work with Natalie to build a customized approach to address your unique needs, schedule your complimentary Nutritional Needs Assessment by clicking here.
You can also check out her other services by clicking here.