By: Zach Fout, USAC Level 2 Cycling Coach, Cycology Coaching Solutions, LLC

Have you ever met a person and then 10 seconds later, you can’t remember their name? Well, today’s topic is: Recovery. Even though I’m going to write a few hundred words just briefly touching base on this very important topic, several of you reading this article will forget all about it in 15 minutes.

There’s many different ways that you can recover, but this blog will be about recovery nutrition and sleep.

So, let’s talk about the first one, recovery nutrition. When you first get done with your workout (within the first 20 mins), and you’re feeling good, it’s easy to shower off and get back to your daily grind. But, you need to stop for a few minutes and take in your recovery drink (easiest if you prepare your drink ahead of time). This can be your favorite smoothie, or store bought recovery drink. Make sure it’s in the simplest form (glucose) (make sure you check with your nutritionist before beginning any special diet) so that you get maximum absorption. Your body is depleted from the workout that you just completed and is looking for a fuel source to aid in the repair of muscle fibers. You want to begin filling your glycogen levels as quickly as possible. Depending on your body weight you should try and get in anywhere from 100+ carbs in your drink. This isn’t the time to add a bunch of protein or complex carbs. An hour after you’ve completed your workout, this is when you’re going to begin adding your higher glycemic carbs, and lean proteins. Generally, you want to incorporate a 4:1 (carbs/protein) ratio. If you’re unable to incorporate your meal after 60 min, then make sure to take in another round of your smoothie or recovery drink. Your body will get what it needs, and if you don’t supply it from an external source, then it will take it from the inside. This is bad!

On the second topic, sleep is also another huge component of recovery that often gets ignored or left out. If you’re not incorporating 7-9 hours of sleep each night into your training, then you’re leaving adaptation on the table. Think of it as someone was giving you $100 every day, and each day they added $5 more to it. But if you’re not getting your sleep, then you only get to take $85-$90 of it, seems like a waste to me. Making sure that it happens is as easy as planning your workouts. When you or your coach write out your training plans, make sure to plan accordingly for your sleep. Schedule a time each night that is realistic for you to fall asleep, and make sure that you’re in bed (not getting ready for bed) at that time each night. We spend thousands of dollars on our bikes, nutrition, coaches, races, and so on……but SLEEP is FREE! Don’t leave it on the table, it’s the least expensive form of recovery and healthiest that you can provide your body. Give your body a chance to reset itself and make the adaptations from the stresses that you put on it from the prior days, weeks, months, and years.

Before you get out for your next training ride, ask yourself, “Have I planned out my recovery and sleep for when I get done with my workout today, or am I just wasting my time training?”

If you have any other further questions, please feel free to contact me.


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