Riding a bike for a long period of time is going to be one of the more strenuous workouts a person can put their body through. In order to replenish all of those calories burned and fluids lost, it is essential for people to make sure that they are fueling their body after the fact.
As is the case with anything, certain foods are going to do a better job of helping out cyclists than others. Eating the right amount of food at the right time can make the difference between a person recovering quickly, and someone who has to take a little bit of time to get to where they need to be.
These foods are the best of the best from a recovery standpoint. Maybe a person does not particularly care about every single food that makes this list, but it is still crucial to pay attention and find a few things that can work.
1. The Right Drink
Although not technically a food, everything starts with a good, effective drink that a person can count on after a ride. Not only does it help replenish valuable fluids, but there can be some benefits inside the drink itself for those who do not have a crazy appetite.
It becomes extremely difficult for some to eat after they go on a long ride. Why only focus on eating when some of the nutrients can be obtained by drinking them? This is where specific recovery drinks can come in handy, or even something as indulgent as a milkshake.
The key here is getting a lot of carbohydrates, and a decent amount of protein within the drink. Sure, this can also be obtained from foods, but some people like them in drink form.
At the very least, drinking water after the ride has obvious benefits, but a full recovery drink can prove to be extremely beneficial as well. A combination of both will keep riders feeling confident and fresh for a long time.
2. Recovery Bars
Love them or hate them, recovery bars (Amazon) are here to stay. Companies know that a lot of customers are looking for convenience, and there is no better way to recover for a ride then by quickly grabbing a recovery bar that makes all the sense in the world.
Throw them in a bag, or buy them in bulk to have around the home. Whatever makes sense, solid food will hit the spot for many who might feel like they are finished drinking so many fluids.
They are a great way to kill any indulgent cravings with some tasty flavors as well.
Is there anything the chicken can’t do? This very healthy protein option has been a staple for athletes for a very long time. Some people opt for chicken before the ride, but it also makes a great food option for after the ride.
A typical serving of chicken will give riders 15-18 grams of protein. With amino acids and other hidden benefits, it is one food that should be on anyone’s shortlist.
Salmon brings a lot to the table that chicken provides, but there are some differences beyond taste. People who are looking for more specific nutrients might opt for salmon as a way for their body to recover while also having something that taste as it should.
Whether it is the omega-3 fatty acids or Vitamin D, indulge in some expensive salmon once in a while after a ride. It always finds a way to hit the spot.
Normally considered a breakfast food, eggs are an obvious choice for people who are trying to fuel up before a ride. However, they also make a great post-ride snack or meal if a person wants something simple.
No matter how they like their eggs, this is a great way to get some nutrient-rich calories that are pretty easy to prepare.
Lacking carbs? Eggs go great with toast to have a great balance overall. It is always worth looking into for convenience in many aspects as well.
Nuts (Amazon) are a perfect option for people who might not be entirely hungry, but they understand the importance of getting some food back in the body. They are normally filling enough for an entire meal, but they might be the perfect solution for people who just got off the bike.
Nuts come in a bunch of different varieties, and they are almost all simple carbs that are easy to digest and feel energy boost right away.
They can act as a pick me up for those who are feeling very lethargic shortly after a ride, and they conveniently fit in just about any rider’s bag if they want to.
7. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is in that perfect sweet spot of being healthy enough for a recovery meal, but being indulgent enough that a person does not mind snacking on it.
Whether it is eating peanut butter by itself or putting it on something that is healthy, people can start the recovery process in a fun way.
The one thing to be wary of is using peanut butter as too much of a snack. It is one thing if it is by itself, but it should not be something added to an unhealthy item when recovering from a bike ride.
As tempting as it might be to have peanut butter and chocolate together, that is a little bit too much sugar and empty calories to make much of an impact. You can even buy a Whey Protein Penut Butter from Amazon!
8. Dry Fruit
Fruits (Amazon) are a pretty convenient grab-and-go option for those who do not want to think too much about preparing a meal after the fact.
Even though most people believe that fresh fruit is the healthier option overall, dry fruit works particularly well post-ride because of the convenience and extra carbohydrates.
A mixture of both fresh and dry fruits as part of a daily diet can be beneficial for snacking or full meals.
Why Food Choices Matter After a Ride
The body always needs fuel when doing any physical activity. What is the goal after a ride? This is what to look for, when to eat, and other tips.
Replacing glycogen stores
The idea of a low carbohydrate diet is something that people have used in the past to lose weight. It works for some, but it is definitely not something that a bike rider will be able to experience.
That is because getting the right amount of carbohydrates, which contribute to glycogen stores, is crucial for energy.
Carbohydrates only become a problem when they sit around in a person’s body and become unused. Smart carbohydrates from healthy foods can be the exact type of fuel a person needs to get through any type of long ride.
The best way to bounce back is to have energy ready to go for the next day by eating after a ride.
Protein is a vital part of building up muscle and repairing it after a long ride. A person is putting their body through a lot of stress when they are out there riding for a long amount of time. Overlooking protein is going to set a person back considerably.
The good news is that nearly all the food above has plenty of protein, and it is becoming easier and easier to get exactly what the body needs so that a person feels like they are heading on the right path.
The Best Time to Eat After a Ride
Finding the right time to eat after a ride can seem a little difficult for some people. It seems like there is no perfect time right after, as people do not have the appetite after pounding out so many miles. However, the optimal time to eat is not right after the ride anyway.
Most people find the most effective time to eat somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour after completion. This allows the body to recover a bit from all of the energy it just used, and a person has a little bit more and time is tight as well.
Trying to eat inside that window is going to maximize the effect, and most people will notice enough that they make a conscious effort to do exactly that.
Creating Great Habits
If a person is finding it very difficult to eat food after a long ride, they certainly are not alone. This is a challenge that a lot of people are facing throughout the years, as people create bad habits that might not always work as they should.
The first few times might be a little difficult, as people are trying to learn how to eat the right things and have an appetite that they might not naturally have.
Once a person finds the right formula that works for them, they can start to notice changes and make life a little easier.
Prepping food beforehand so that energy is not wasted creating meals after tiring out is also something worth exploring.
At the end of the day, fueling the body the right way is only going to make cycling easier and easier. Some people feel like they are not able to get past a certain level, and food might be holding them back.
Not only does a person need to eat enough to replenish their body with nutrients, but eating at the right time makes a difference.