Everyone’s body and cycling speed is different, but it is safe to say that you will most likely be burning between 100-600 calories per hour of cycling, and your body will lose two to four cups of fluid, depending upon the temperature outside. Because of this, we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty! Check out the training diet below for a general idea of how to refuel your body while you are training. And remember, these are simply guidelines for your diet. No one knows your body better than you, so use your best judgment and talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your diet.
- Eat plenty of carbohydrates to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores that occur with intense training.
- Eat enough protein to repair and build muscles.
- Stay hydrated, see below for tips and tricks!
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system strong.
- Make sure you eat within the first one to two hours after completing a training session. This is when muscles can most readily store glycogen (carbohydrate), and you will feel much, much better later in the day and the following day. If you don’t have any appetite – or are short on time – try drinking a glass of juice or eating an energy bar.
- Keep energy bars with you during your training rides. They are a great source of protein and carbohydrates and provide a good boost of energy when you start to feel sluggish or fatigued.
- Be sure to incorporate all of these healthy eating tips right up until Challenge day!
Basic Nutritional Guidelines for the Best Buddies Challenge
- Carry at least two large water bottles with you. One should be filled with water and one should be filled with a sports drink, for electrolyte replacement.
- Try to go through at least one water bottle per hour, and double that if it is unusually hot outside. If you carry two water bottles, try to finish both by the time you reach the following Rest Stop.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before drinking. If you feel thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated!
- A sample, pre-event meal might consist of orange juice, cereal, a banana, nonfat or low fat milk, and toast with jam. Or pancakes topped with fruit and syrup, nonfat or low fat yogurt and juice! Don’t forget at least 2 cups of water pre-ride!
- Stop at every Rest Stop to fuel up on snacks even if you don’t feel hungry. You need to make sure you’re keeping your tank full throughout the day.
- If you are a cyclist, always carry two bottles on your bike, one with water, one with an electrolyte drink.
- Weigh yourself undressed before and after exercise. It should be the same. It is easy to drop 2-4 pounds of water on a hot or hard ride, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. For every pound of weight you lose following a ride, you should drink one-half liter of water to replace it.
- Watch your urine. It should be almost clear and without smell. If it is changing then you are dehydrating.
- Depending on the temperature, your exertion and your body, you should drink half a large water bottle every 30-45 minutes. That’s three to four glasses for every hour that you workout. A good rule of thumb is to take a few gulps every 10 minutes.