As spring approaches, I hope many of you are able to get outside rather than being stuck on a trainer or treadmill for your Spring training. As this happens training loads often increase, and therefore, so does your nutrition intake. Some people make the mistake of thinking that calories are calories and if you burn a lot of them, then you can eat whatever you want. That is quite the opposite. As we put our bodies under more and more stress, we need to compensate that with more and more antioxidants. This doesn’t mean you can’t have that large cookie at the end of the ride, but make sure to continue nutrient timing your meals well, choose nutrient dense foods most of the time, and stay hydrated. We will talk more about each goal in detail.
For nutrient timing, set the stage for your next workout by choosing foods that will sustain your energy longer, typically a combination of carbs, protein and fat are best. The ratio of each of these macronutrients may vary person to person, some people do better on more protein and fat and other need the higher amount of carbohydrate. Here are some examples…
- wrap with deli turkey, greens, tomato, avocado
- rice cakes with almond or cashew butter and/or apple butter
- leftover soup or leftovers in general
- pre-Smoothie: protein powder, 1 cup unsweetened milk alternative, banana, berries, greens, ground chia seed or nut butter
- toast, nut butter, banana, egg
- oatmeal, berries, nuts, protein powder, coconut milk
- *If you’re heading out the door right away, choose the smoothie or something like a bar instead for easier digestion.
It’s important to get enough electrolytes and hydration (even more important than enough calories). You only really need something for workouts longer then 60-90 minutes. In really hot weather the need for electrolytes goes up but initially starting with a good sports drink will provide proper osmolarity for better hydration.
- Sports drink 1-2 servings in 1 water bottle
- *This is LOW end, some people need 200 calories per hour on LONG rides and some need 350 calories per hour…additionally when eating proper meals, sometimes all you need is proper hydration, water is key, then if you’re going longer add the sports drink, adding more on top of that is up to you, your distance, and your body. Here are examples of LONG ride options.
- Sports drink plus gel or chews
- Sports drink plus bar and chews
- Sports drink all the way (multiple bottles)
POST Workout Nutrition:
*If you are doing a hard and long workout, ideally you will have a good amount of easy to digest carbohydrate with some protein, MCT oil is a good oil to add that won’t slow down absorption like other fats post workout. For regular workouts, eating your next meal should be sufficient.
- 20g protein powder, 1 cup milk alternative, 1 banana, 1 cup berries, 1 tbsp honey or 3 dates, ice/water as desired, greens (bring blended already in thermal mug, put in cooler too on hot days)
- sandwich and banana
- 15g protein, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup yogurt, ½ cup berries, 1 cup water
As mentioned in the first paragraph, including nutrient dense foods is even more important as training increases. If time is an issue, keep frozen veggies on hand, throw greens into smoothies, eat salads on a regular basis, make soups with lots of vegetables. Choose fruits over processed carbohydrates. By doing these things your body will recover that much faster, leaving you that much faster!