You are hungry. You walk to the kitchen, open the fridge and find only a few beers, condiments, mostly mustard, and some weird leftovers you forgot about sitting next to the baking soda in the back corner. You close the fridge, drink some water thinking you might just be thirsty and in the time you consume 8oz you forget that there was nothing edible in the fridge. You go back, open the door and see the same thing, but maybe just maybe the third time is a charm, like saying, “beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice”, the door will open and an abundance of food will just appear.
These moments are especially bad when you have been in the saddle all day, working up an appetite for something delicious. This is why one of my favorite things in the world is a fully loaded fridge. There is nothing more satisfying and motiving then for every square inch of my chilled box to be stocked.
You can tell a lot about a person by what is in his/her fridge. In terms of an athlete training for race season or training for a bike tour with Lizard Head Cycling Guides, it is important to stock your fridge with the best and most colorful calories.
Just like your fridge has 3 shelves in it, there are 3 stages of eating for peak performance and health.
STAGE/SHELF I: pre.
- consume 200-300 calories per hour prior to exercise. Ex. If you eat 2 hours before, consume 400 calories, etc.
- calories mostly in carbohydrate form as this is the fasted way to replenish glycogen stores lost overnight and if chosen wisely, it will digest well enough that it won’t weigh down the ride.
- utilize the glycemic index and glycemic load of foods to help you choose the best pre ride options that keep from bonking later
- keep it low in fiber
- include some protein as this helps with recovery after as well as delaying the release of sugar into the bloodstream (no bonking)
- hydrate- this not only keeps you from fatiguing, but it also helps preserve protein being used as fuel during exercise
STAGE/SHELF I: during.
GOALS: the amount of time in the saddle and your effort will dictate you energy needs on the road. For the sake of this entry, we will assume you are on tour with us and riding 6-8 hours at a moderate pace.
- fuel choice is fat over carbs: “fat burns in a carbohyrate fire” although carbs are still very important
- if you do a great job on the pre shelf, you will not need to replace all of the carbs burned during the ride because these calories are stored in muscles and liver.
- if you burn calories fast and are fast paced, consume 300-600 calories per hour in 10-30 minute increments and mostly in liquid form. (A minimum carbs of .5 calories per pound of body weight)
- form of calories: 60-70% carbs, 20-30% fats, 10-15% protein
- Slower athletes should be on the lower end of this as the burn rate is lower.
- also take in 6-8 oz water (not sports drink) for every 100 calories consumed to help replenish sodium lost through sweat
- go bananas: eating a banana every 3-5 hours will help quench the body’s potassium craving. Sports drinks contain these electrolytes.
STAGE/SHELF I: post.
GOALS: eating should be the highest priority. THIS IS WHY I LOVE RIDING MY BIKE!!
The higher your goals, the more stocked this shelf becomes.
- replace expended carbohydrate stores
-now is the time to eat the higher glycemic items from the chart along with low glycemic items.
-best eaten in liquid form since solid food can be unappealing after a sufferfest and it is absorbed more quickly.
(sometimes,I like to throw in a couple shots of tequila to get the party started, hahah, jokes are best for recovery too)
-3/4 of a gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight should be consumed.
- rehydrate. At greatest sweat rates a half gallon can be lost per hour
-take in 16oz if liquid for every pound lost during exercise (if you are neurotic and weigh yourself before you ride)
- replace amino acids for protein re-synthesis
-usually through your recovery drink with a 4:1 or 5:1 carb to protein ratio
- replace electrolytes
-sodium is most likely for replenishing. Not as crucial if event is under 4 hours or in cooler weather.
-most electrolytes can be found in natural foods and salt can be added to recovery if not already
- reduce acidity of body fluids
-eating fruits and vegetables can preserve other minerals from being released to balance the body’s pH after the ride.
-doing this will allow calcium and nitrogen to aid in recovery and prevent future performance issues.