1. Take in recovery fuel: Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, your muscles begin repairing themselves and making gains from the training you just put them through. You need to fuel this process ASAP by replenishing your carbohydrate stores and feeding your muscles protein to grow stronger. This will facilitate larger gains from the workout, as well as making sure your body is prepared for your next ride. There are lots of mixes and drinks out there that offer the perfect carb-sugar-protein ratio in order to help you recover more efficiently- but good old fashioned chocolate milk does the trick too.
2. Dust off your foam roller: Drag that painful cylinder out of the closet and loosen up those tight quads. Foam rolling helps flush your muscles of lactic acid after a workout, as well as offering an intense massage that loosens the muscles in order to help them fire more efficiently (and comfortably) on the bike. Check out this video on how to do it properly here.
3. Get to bed already: Most of your muscle repairing and recovery goes on while you sleep! Give your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs and get at least 8 hours of shut-eye.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: this is a factor too often overlooked by cyclists. We remember to down a bottle an hour while we’re riding, but what about before we roll out of the driveway? It’s necessary to drink half your weight in ounces of water (if you weigh 120 lbs, drink 60oz of water) daily, in addition to what you drink on the bike to stay hydrated. In the 72 hours leading up to a big event, hydration is crucial! If you wait til the morning of the even to start sipping, it’s too late. Preload your rides and races (especially hot ones!) with plenty of water all day, erryday. If it’s going to be especially hot, throw some electrolytes in there too.
5. Get down, dog: treat your body to some yoga! You don’t need to be bendy or enlightened to reap the benefits of this ancient practice. Just bring a mat and an open mind to a beginner class like one of these. Yoga aids in injury prevention, core strength, body awareness, and self-confidence, all of which are beneficial to cyclists.
6. Eat good, clean-burning fuel: Yeah, put down that Big Mac. You know better than that! Lean protein, healthy fat (like nuts, avocado, and flax seed), unprocessed carbohydrates, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit give you what you need. Splurge every so often for sure, but don’t load up on greasy, processed food before a ride if you can help it.
7. Watch your beer intake: Corona consumption preoccupies your liver with metabolizing the alcohol and slows the recovery process. And although it has a solid amount of carbs to replenish your glycogen stores post-ride, the alcohol is a diuretic, which will leave you more dehydrated than you were before.
8. Take a day off: mentally and physically! Give yourself a break at least once a week and do something else active you enjoy like hiking or playing frisbee. It pays to keep your mind and body fresh off the bike- and when you get back on, you’ll be ready to go!