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  1. #1
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    Food before, during and after a ride.

    What's the rule of thumb for food intake before, during and after a ride? I noticed that sometimes when I ride I can go longer before feeling fatigued or sometimes I don't get sore after a long ride. I figure this is related to what I've eaten before or after the ride.

  2. #2
    psycho cyclo addict
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    I'd say it depends on a lot of factors including age, state of rest/recovery from prior exercise, sleep, hydration level, stress... I generally have good riding days though sometimes I feel like I'm exerting more effort or feel a little lazy for no apparent reason.

    I typically eat 1 egg and 1 egg white with oatmeal before a ride, a Balance protein bar (or maybe a PB&J on wheat bread if it is a long ride) during (if needed) and chicken, fish, red meat / burger or occasionally pizza, with lots of veggies afterward. I averaged 70 miles a week last year and had very few days (of 232 rides) I didn't feel up to snuff.

  3. #3
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    I think one of the most overlooked portions of biking is hydration. You can eat well before, during and after a ride and STILL feel gassed during the ride if you're not hydrated. Make sure that if you're going to be riding (say) tomorrow, that you hydrate 24-48 hours in advance. And drink plenty of fluids during. There is nothing worse than feeling spent on a ride and thinking "man I could really go for a big gulp of water", then you look down only to find you have enough water to where you have to "make it last". Ugh.
    As far as food intake, I'm bad with that. I'm in pretty good shape so I tend to eat pretty crappy food and still be ok. On biking days I usually eat a banana, granola bar and a cup of coffee or a peanut butter sammy. Shorlty before the ride I'll have some Gel, then one during the ride if I start getting low on steam. But I drink a LOT of water. I'm riding (and hiking) tomorrow so I'll drink somewhere close to a gallon+ of water today and a lot during the hike/ride tomorrow.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the good info!

  5. #5
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    if you are older (35-40+), drink a protein shake with whey protein immediately (< 30 minutes) after a ride. It greatly helps with recovery especially if you are riding hard multiple days in a row

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GelatiCruiser View Post
    I think one of the most overlooked portions of biking is hydration. You can eat well before, during and after a ride and STILL feel gassed during the ride if you're not hydrated. Make sure that if you're going to be riding (say) tomorrow, that you hydrate 24-48 hours in advance. And drink plenty of fluids during. There is nothing worse than feeling spent on a ride and thinking "man I could really go for a big gulp of water", then you look down only to find you have enough water to where you have to "make it last". Ugh.
    As far as food intake, I'm bad with that. I'm in pretty good shape so I tend to eat pretty crappy food and still be ok. On biking days I usually eat a banana, granola bar and a cup of coffee or a peanut butter sammy. Shorlty before the ride I'll have some Gel, then one during the ride if I start getting low on steam. But I drink a LOT of water. I'm riding (and hiking) tomorrow so I'll drink somewhere close to a gallon+ of water today and a lot during the hike/ride tomorrow.
    Absolutely agreed!

    My single biggest issue is hydration. I have the hardest time remembering to hydrate and I pay dearly afterwards. So I really work hard on hydrating, I drink water on 30-60 min rides and add electrolytes on longer rides and make sure to drink every 5-10 minutes.

    As for before food, I always down a triple Venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks and either a Starbucks Ham Artisan sandwich or croissant sandwich from La Madelene. This is more than enough to power me through 1-2 hrs...sometimes consuming a Gel pack. After meals are sky's the limits. Today was Chilli Renos, chips queso w/chips. This may have something to do with my slow weigh reduction lol

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50calray View Post
    Absolutely agreed!

    My single biggest issue is hydration. I have the hardest time remembering to hydrate and I pay dearly afterwards. So I really work hard on hydrating, I drink water on 30-60 min rides and add electrolytes on longer rides and make sure to drink every 5-10 minutes.
    I went on a 75 minute ride a couple days ago and drank 68oz out of my 100oz bladder JUST on the ride. I think I may keep my water bottle filled with a little Gatorade while just using my Mule for water. not sure why I didn't think of that...lol

  8. #8
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    one square meal bars, best food for trails , no questions asked

  9. #9
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    Green smoothie 2 hours prior to the ride w/ a cup of coffee. If it's a hard ride I'll have a shot block at the start of the ride. I'll fill my mule with water and 2 scoops of Heed and I'll have Heed recoverite post ride.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  10. #10
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    What about when it comes to carbs and protein? I know when I was growing up I was taught to carb load the night before an activity. I remember reading somewhere more recently that this isn't necessarily the case. I'm I safe to assume that it's better to do balanced protein and carbs ahead of time, carbs and sugars during and protein after the ride for muscle recovery?

  11. #11
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    I agree about the hydration being extremely important. I have to really be conscientious about drinking enough water throughout the day whether I'm riding that day or not.

    Pre-ride, I don't want my body trying to digest a heavy meal. I like oatmeal and fruit as an option or peanut butter on toast, one hard boiled egg and fruit. I will also eat a handful or two of nuts such as almonds and cashews and maybe even a small piece of dark chocolate in the car on the way to the trails.

    I don't eat during the ride unless I'm planning on being out more than two hours. I drink a 50/50 mix of Cytomax and water. To each his own but I don't do the ubiquitous gels and shots b/c I think they're overhyped, overpriced junk.

    Post ride, a banana is probably a great choice before you have your next, regular meal.

  12. #12
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    Hi, Tony,
    I generally try to eat well and finish two hours before a ride so that any solids have time to break down and aren't in my stomach when I get on the bike. On the ride it's just Tailwind mixed in the Osprey pack or bottles and I sip it as I feel thirsty. Regarding hydration, lots of people have posted about its importance. I agree. But, you can overdo it. Balance is key. Sloshing through the switchbacks isn't good. Just drink when thirsty. Even mildly thirsty, don't wait until you're craving thirsty. Our bodies know their hydration needs and we can learn to respond accordingly. It isn't rocket science. It's just paying attention.

    I used to eat on the rides more than I do now. If it's an all day affair, I make my own trail mix and take a banana. I nibble rather than eat all at once if I eat at all. If it's only a couple of hours it's mostly just me sipping Tailwind, honestly. And yes, I work for them, but I did this before that too. Because it works. After a recreational easy ride, I eat as usual. After a hard ride with lots of exertion, I replenish the glycogen stores with carbs and rebuild muscle with protein within the first half hour after the ride is done if I can. There is everything under the sun for post ride nutrition. Chocolate milk is a mainstay for me. Actually, chocolate almond milk because lactose sugars don't agree with me. But, I also have a 4-1 carb/protein mix that I make at home.

    But to the original question, I'd also add that it's good to watch not just what goes in, but also what comes out of the body. Clear pee isn't so good as some may think. It should be more like a light yellow. Hard stools are a sign of poor hydration. Hey, the sooner we understand how the body works, the longer may live a healthy life. I'm all about it at 56 years of age. Thanks for the question. It's a good one.

    Rich
    SoloArts Coaching
    Tailwind Nutrition
    Tailwind Nutrition

  13. #13
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    soloarts- thanks for the in-depth reply. I will take all of the advice here throughout the season. Thank you all!

  14. #14
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    I have found that generally, Mexican food works like rocket fuel for me. Helps me apply more power longer when eaten before a ride, and helps alot with recovery when eaten after.

  15. #15
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    Just found this thread. I will have a hard boiled egg and a piece of whole wheat toast and some raspberries. I will take along a couple nutrigrain bars and some hammer gels.

  16. #16
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    After the ride is the most critical part, you should eat carbs and proteins on a 1 hour max time frame. The carbs replentish the gycogen fuel stores of the muscles and liver and help the proteins build up your muscles and recover / improve. Also, the carbs spike insulin that drops cortisol levels (high from the effort) so that nutrients can be absorbed.

    if you ride early in the morning it's better to have a light snack (with carbs) before the ride. A smoothie is a great option, some fruit, sometimes I make a banana chocolate milkshake and nibble some cereals. Some coffee as well to fire up my half asleep brain... If it's a marathon, I will wake up much earlier (1h-2h) before the start and eat a good breakfast.

    During the ride I found that what works best for me is water on a camelback (about 2 liters, half a galon) and some isotonic sports drink (carbs, magnesium, etc.) in a separate bottle, specially in hot weather or long runs. One thing is to hydrate, another is to fuel, both are very important, but not at the same time in warm weather. In very long runs I would become sick of my warm sports drinks, even if I diluted it alot on the camelback. I also store my water on the fridge the night before and in hot weather I will drop ice cubes in the camel bag before leaving. I found that drinking fresh water is greatly soothing and has an amazing boost effect. It's probably psichological, but it really beats drinking hot / tepid water

    As for solid food, it depends on the duration and type of ride. I only bring solid food on longer rides and it's 2 cereal bars or chocolate.

  17. #17
    Log off and go ride!
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    Ditto on the carbs + protein immediately after the ride. More carbs than protein, about a 4:1 ratio. An hour or so after the carb/protein eat again, this time protein heavy. This refueling routing (carbs first, then protein), has been shown to extend the anabolic period longer than protein first.

    Immediately pre ride can be a carb heavy snack ( I did not say NO protein. Some pro is good, just should be more carb than pro.). a mix of high and low glycemic foods. A rule of thumb is the longer the time between eating and the start of a ride the more low GI food, a shorter time higher GI food. Several people mentioned eggs. One advantage to eggs is they are a complete protein, with ALL the required amino acids at nearly the exact ratio the human body needs.

    Another 'trick' is cool the body before and during the ride. Ice cold drinks. This improves performance. At some international competitions now you can see some of the athletes in cooling vests or ice packs on their bodies before the start of the event.

    An emerging ergogenic technique is taking antacid tablets (or some other alkaline source) to improve endurance. The research to date show mixed results, with the 'no effect' papers conducted at max exertion, and the 'some benefit' research at sub-maximal exertion. This is entirely logical as different intra-muscular biochemical processes occur at max exertion levels. Research will eventually fine tune the findings, how much, when, at which work exertion levels, etc.

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