GCN’s Guide To Cycling Nutrition | GCN’s Cycling Tips

GCN’s Guide To Cycling Nutrition | GCN’s Cycling Tips

November 10, 2019 61 By William Morgan


– We all know that getting your nutrition
and fueling spot on is
essential if you want
to perform at your best on your bike.
But, it becomes even more important
if you are doing a multi-stage event,
such as those organised
by the Haute Route.
One of which you all very well know
is being done by our very own
John Beaven very soon indeed.
– That’s right, John,
you pay attention mate
because Lloydy is gonna
set you a test after this,
and he said it’s not even
gonna be multiple choice.
And the reason that not only
John needs to pay attention,
but anyone doing a multi-stage event,
is ’cause it’s not about
fueling for one day,
it’s about fueling for
the day after as well,
and the day after that,
and it’s about optimising your recovery
so that you can start each
day as fresh as possible.
– Fueling, of course,
involves both food and drink
and we’re gonna start with the
latter, i.e. your hydration.
Now, you might just about get away
with not having the
perfect hydration strategy
on a single day event.
But if you get it wrong in the middle
of a multi-stage event,
you’re gonna find it very hard
to get yourself back on
track for the remaining days.
– [Simon] Your hydration
strategy will depend
on the weather, so the
hotter and more humid it is,
the more fluids you’re going
to lose whilst you’re riding.
So, our friends over at Science In Sport
recommend drinking between
500 millilitres and one litre
each hour of riding depending
on the temperatures.
Now getting this dialled
will help significantly
and that you’re getting
the best out of yourself,
’cause dehydration can lead
to a big drop in performance.
Mainly, cause it can make
you feel pretty unwell.
– However good your hydration strategy is,
whilst you’re riding,
it’s still very important
that you concentrate on your rehydration
after you’ve been riding.
Now different people have
got different sweat rates,
but the good news is, that
it’s quite easy to calculate
them, even for Si.
That is because a litre of
water weighs a kilogramme.
So, all you need to do is weigh yourself
pre-ride and post-ride wearing
exactly the same things
and you’ll know that, for example,
if you’ve lost two kilogrammes,
that would all be fluids,
and therefore that is two litres of water.
– Yeah now hopefully you
won’t lose quite that much
with your hydration strategy.
But if you do, then
actually rehydrating after
isn’t quite as simple as just
consuming two litres of water.
Our bodies are great but
they’re not quite that
efficient, so for every
let’s say 750 millilitres
of water you lose, you’re
probably gonna have to drink
either an extra half a
bottle or indeed a whole one
just to make up.
The rest of course you’ll be familiar
with you just wee out.
So the other thing you
can do, is also add in
electrolyte tablets to the
water that will help you
retain it much, much quicker.
However you choose to rehydrate,
you do have to do it gradually.
Ideally, you’ll be starting
the next day weighing
exactly the same that you
weighed the previous day.
Rehydrate, nice one.
– Now let’s get onto food,
i.e calorie consumption.
This again is very important
to get right in your event,
because any mistakes that
you make are very much going
to be highlighted in a bad way
when you’re doing a multi stage event.
– That’s right.
So, glycogen is going to be
our primary source of fuel.
Even over long,
consecutive, and hard days.
So, carbohydrate consumption should
be our primary consideration.
It’s going to keep us going
when we’re on the bike,
and it’s also gonna
help us recover off it,
’cause we’re gonna be
replenishing those all-important
glycogen stores in our muscles.
Most of the rules which apply
to nutrition in a one day event,
also apply to a multistage event.
And that starts at
breakfast, which you want
to consume about two to three hours
before your event starts,
and what you want to consist of,
mainly slow-release carbohydrates.
Then during your event,
and immediately after,
you want to be consuming
calories which consist
of a very fast-release carbohydrate.
– That’s right.
So during the event, we’re gonna be aiming
to take onboard about 60 to 90 grammes
of carbohydrates per hour.
Now, how you take those carbs
on board is kind of up to you.
You could have energy bars, you could have
my world famous GCN
Uber Bar, you could have
more easily digestible carbs as well.
So like, an energy gel,
or indeed an energy drink.
Which of course isn’t food
at all, it’s a liquid.
The way you’ll know what works
for you, is by trying different things out
and experimenting in training.
– Now just as with your hydration,
the likelihood is that you might just
about get away on a one day event
with not having the optimal
calorie consumption.
However, do the same thing at the start
and the middle of a multistage event,
and you’re very much
going to know about it.
And to reiterate, a multistage event
is not the time, nor the place,
to be trying to lose weight.
You want to start your
recovery process as quickly
as you possibly can after
you have finished your ride.
And nutritionally, you’re gonna get most
of what you need from a well designed,
good quality recovery drink like this one.
From carbohydrates, to
electrolytes, to protein,
which is a subject we will
get on to fairly shortly.
Now, you will find that
most professional racers
do tend to consume a recovery drink
immediately after their races,
and we would recommend that
you do exactly the same thing.
Soon after your recovery
drink, a small meal
of boiled rice, potatoes, or pasta
will aid the recovery and
replenishment process,
followed by a healthy and
balanced evening meal.
Now, you can overeat, even
during a multistage event.
So, if you’ve a particularly big appetite,
that might be something
you need to keep in mind.
But, it’s always far best to
overeat than to under eat.
– Okay, time for some controversy.
Let’s talk about protein.
Now, any mention of protein
on GCN ignites some fairly
passionate debate down
in the comment section.
And while we’re absolutely,
fundamentally in agreement
that carbohydrates should
be your primary concern
in refuelling from exercise,
there is an awful lot
of very robust, peer-reviewed,
scientific evidence
that suggests that protein
is really, really important
for recovery.
– That’s right.
Now, in longer rides, let’s
say of six hours or so,
which might be something
that you contend with
in a multistage event, some
experts say that you should
consume a little bit of protein
every three hours or so,
because your body will begin
to break down its own muscle.
However, other experts
completely disagree on this,
and certainly this is an area
which needs some more research.
– Yeah but post-ride, there
is almost no disagreement.
Consuming the right amount
of protein is essential
for recovering correctly.
And that is to say, agreed upon by
almost all respected nutritionists
and exercise physiologists out there.
So, the idea of consuming
the right amount of protein
is that it promotes
anabolism, so the building up,
and it minimises catabolism,
which is the breaking down.
So two, rather awkward terms there.
Essentially what it
means, is that your body
is always building up and
breaking down muscle fibre.
And so, providing your body
with the right building blocks
make new muscle fibre is only gonna help.
– This is particularly
relevant immediately post-ride.
So that recovery drink
we talked about earlier,
which is predominately carbohydrate based,
but with some good quality protein
also amongst the
ingredients, is really going
to help you recover.
The quicker you can recover,
the better you’re going
to feel the following day.
Particularly useful in a multistage event.
– [Simon] If you’re not
into your recovery drinks,
you could always add some
lean chicken or some beans
to your rice, or some
peanut butter to your bagel,
just to give you a couple examples.
– Fueling then, is not rocket science,
even for a multistage event.
Just try to get into the
habit of constantly thinking
about what you are supposed to be doing.
Often, the problems occur
when your mind drifts
and you forget to do what
you know you should do.
– Yeah, I think we’ve
both been guilty of that.
Right, so to recap then, you need to drink
between half a litre and
a litre of fluid per hour,
More if it’s hot, less if it’s cold.
You’ll know how much, because
to be fair, you’ll get thirsty
and that’s a great indicator.
And, you also need to
consume between sixty
and ninety grammes of
carbohydrate per hour on the bike.
And then, pay particular attention
to your post-ride recovery
drink, and then also meal.
And also remember to replenish
those glycogen stores
for the evening, so you’ve
got as much fuel as possible
for the next day.
– Follow all of that advice,
and you won’t go too far wrong.
We’re not gonna say that you’re going
to float around the event
without any pain in your legs,
but you’re certainly
going to feel a lot better
than you would do if you got things wrong.
– That’s right.
I guess all we need to say
now is good luck and enjoy.
And also, one last thing, make
sure you subscribe to GCN.
– Yeah, and two more relevant
videos to you right now,
firstly, we got some
more in-depth knowledge
on how to recover
quicker from your riding,
there’s a video for that
on my side down here.
– Yeah, or just down here.
Hopefully it’s not too late, it’s how
to train for multi-day
stage races and sportives.