With many having time off at the moment, we are finding more time to get out on the bike. With the extra kilometers many of being racked up fueling our bodies becomes the next battle.
The benefit of eating well on the bike helps us come home and be able to do more than stop the couch and the TV running away. More importantly eating on the bike and not arriving home starving can help increase the chance of weight loss, as you are not starving and grabbing the left overs that many of us still have in the fridge.
If you fuel well each day you will find that your fitness lifts and you have the ability to head out each day.
By picking the right fuel our bodies are able to adapt quicker to the change in intensity and the increase in stress.
If we look at two riders from www.ffiracing.com whom many of us know; Mick and Owen.
On a long ride both of them will take home made Banana bread. This allows them to know what is in their food and also allows for some modification depending on energy requirements. During winter it was made with Milo added.
Now Owen loves his energy bars be it an Endura energy bar or a Power Bar and depending on the length of the ride he will normally consume one of these. He will then combine at least one gel within his fueling mix, be it a GU, SiS or Endura gel. Then he may mix into it a muesli bar.
Mick will eat Banana bread combined with muesli bars or energy bars and then use gels such as GU for his main fuel needs.
The beauty of a gel is it is absorbed into the body as soon as it hits the mouth. All gels (GU, Endura Gel and SiS) all provide immediate impact carbs combined with slow release carbs designed for quick absorption. Many gels combine caffeine to the mix to help pick you up and then sustain energy levels.
A energy gel is an easy way to keep glycogen levels up and are suitable for whole events or when you hit the wall (Endura Nutrition 4 Athletes)
When consuming a gel ensure you take on some fluid as this will keep the gel isotonic and allow for better absorption.
Energy bars give you a fuel that has been formulated for endurance sport, compared to a muesli bar the combination of energy, protein, fats and vitamins are better suited to endurance events and can be used a recovery snack.
How do I know if I have eaten and drunk enough?
According to the AIS a simple way to work out if you have consumed enough fluid is to “estimate their own fluid requirements by weighing themselves before and after exercise sessions. Each kilogram (kg) of weight lost is equivalent to approximately one litre (L) of fluid. Adding on the weight of any fluid or food consumed during the exercise session will provide an estimate of total fluid loss for the session. For example, an athlete who finishes an exercise session 1 kg lighter and has consumed 1 litre of fluid during the session has a total fluid loss of 2 litres. (https://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/hydration2/fluid_-_who_needs_it)
It is impossible to give a definitive guide to how much fluid and food to consume as each person has a different genetic make up, combined with the different training intensities each undertakes can affect the rate of fluid lose.
A good guide is to drink around the litre of water per hour of activity. This is a good rule of thumb on to which to base your fluid consumption. If it is hotter and/or you are doing really hard training or racing then you may well want to up this quantity and in the cooler weather you can sometimes get away with less. This is why you see Owen and Mick riding with two full big (700/750ml) bidons all the time rather then one or two small bidons (500ml) which will only really last you 30min each.
Each rider handles their fluid needs differently. Take Mick, he will replenish his electrolyte stores by consuming salt on his food after a ride, or by using a store bought rehydration/energy drink.
Owen on the other hand rarely leaves the house without Endura rehydration in one bottle. He will then have some salted water if it has been a really hot day and he has sweated a lot.
As you can see each rider needs to experiment with what works for themselves, and then be willing to adapt to the change in fitness levels, weather and feelings of fatigue.
The above information is provide only as a guide and an example of what our two case study riders have experienced. Always read the label and if in doubt check with a Pharmacist or Doctor.
The above information has links provided were information was taken from a source, most of it is from trial and error through our two case study riders. I hope this helps riders find a way to stay on the bike and recover after. Remember to eat a balanced diet.
The above mentioned brands do not support www.ffiracing.com the two riders choose them as they like the products and find they work for them. If a food company wishes to feed www.ffiracing.com then please contact us.
AIS site https://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/hydration2/fluid_-_who_needs_it
"Endura Nutrition 4 Athletes" brochure publication available free at Darryl Grant Cycle