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Julia’s nutrition tips #1: What to eat before you ride

Do you want to be able to ride your bike every day?  To be able to enjoy each ride without feeling tired, to recover and be ready to ride again quickly?

Julia Revitt, nutritionist by trade, mountain biker by affliction, is here to help as she starts her regular Bike Magic slot with a six-part series of quick tips on what to eat and drink in order to ride better, more often.

You are what you eat, and without a good diet you are potentially sabotaging your own enjoyment of riding! Go on, take some tips from Julia.
Photo © Julia Revitt


Words and photo: Julia Revitt

Why eat well?

With a good diet you will have the enough fuel in your body to be able to ride hard. You will feel more energetic, which will make rides more enjoyable and you will be able to train harder and for longer.

When you’re riding or training, you’re going to get hungry. You may fancy eating a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps but is this really what your body needs? You may even find that you snack so much after riding that it causes weight gain despite the training. Giving your body what it needs takes away the urge to snack and therefore helps with any weight loss goals you have. Conversely, if you are struggling to gain weight, improving your diet can also help.

Through good diet, you will recover quickly and therefore you will be able to ride hard again on your next session. You can see that this is a win – win cycle. When you are able to ride harder, your athletic ability improves so that on the big day, when it really matters, you’ll be able to shine.

This is the first article in a six part series that explains how to get the best out of your riding using good nutrition and hydration by giving you some suggestions of what to eat and drink before, during and after your ride.

In this post we learn what to eat before you ride to make sure you go out fully fuelled and be able to enjoy it to the full.

What to eat before you ride

You need to start your rides with your muscles and liver fully fuelled with glucose. To do this, eat a low glycaemic index carbohydrate with some protein two hours before you train. The carbohydrate will increase the glucose levels in your blood and protein will help to stabilise it. You should aim to eat as much as you can without feeling uncomfortable during your training sessions.

Try any of the suggestions below:

  • 30g porridge + 200g semi skimmed milk + 20 raisins + dessertspoon of chopped hazelnuts
  • 30g muesli (see my recipe) + milk to taste
  • 2 slices of wholegrain bread + thinly spread butter + 105g can of tinned salmon + sliced cucumber.
  • Medium sized baked potato + knob of butter + 105g tuna + green side salad.
  • 300g chicken soup (preferably home made) + wholegrain roll

These quantities are just a starting point. You should try them and if you feel hungry at the start of your ride – eat more next time.  If you’re too full when riding reduce the quantities but try to stick to eating two hours before you head out.

Stay tuned for what to drink before riding

To read our introducing feature with Julia, click here.

Click over to Julia’s blog, Find Your Balance, to read more like this.


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