Effective ways to recover after a ride
Have you just successfully completed gruelling bike race? One that's required you to put your body through the ringer with day-in-day out training for months on end? First of all, congratulations! Now, you're probably sitting within one of these two groups.
I don't want to look at another bicycle again and sit on the couch for three days.
I'm ready to get straight into the next round of training.
Before you do either of these things, think! Have you adequately recovered from the race? After all, you've pushed your mind and body harder than ever before, it's only natural that now it would require a little TLC to keep it from completely burning out. Riders need to recuperate after strenuous activity to prevent further injury by refuelling their muscles, replenishing glycogen stores and filling up on nutrients that are all lost through sweat and development. Without sufficient time to repair, your body is likely to be unresponsive to further exercise and you will no longer be able to progress to the next level. Here are some tips to ensure you effectively recover from your last bike event.
Nourish with Supplements
Reloading your body with the necessary nutrients within thirty minutes is crucial to jumpstarting your recovery; your muscles accept glycogen swiftly during this period. Sip down a recovery formula like BSc Fuel Series to maximise recovery levels; other alternatives you could include are low fat chocolate milk. This contains everything you need from protein to carbohydrates and even enough sodium to replenish your electrolytes.
Energise with the Right Foods
It's tempting to treat yourself to a big dirty burger from McDonalds after your ride, but we all know it isn't good for you on a normal day, it's going to be worse for you on race day. Consuming meals rich in protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants and fat will prompt the muscle tissue to begin repairing. Chow down on foods like vegetable soup, chicken, cereal, fruit smoothie, eggs, banana, whole wheat pasta or bagels.
Stop Your Muscles from Tightening with Light Exercise
You've tricked your body into thinking that rigorous training every day is the norm; once you stop, your body isn't entirely sure what's happening and it begins to stress out ' not to mention how hard it will be to start training again for your next race. Getting back on the bike a day later for a low intensity ride will boost blood circulation and remove the lactic acid from your muscles to accelerate the recovery process.
Stretch It Out
Holding a static pose and stretching your limbs isn't just for geriatrics and yogis. Not only does it improve your range of motion for future rides, but it encourages blood flow to the muscles and helps avoid any spasms and cramps that may appear after exertion. You must remember that you should only stretch muscles that are already warmed up to prevent tears and damaged tissue. Therefore the perfect time for a stretch is while you're sipping on your recovery drink after your race. Pay extra attention to the gluteus, hamstrings, neck, shoulders, calves and quads. Stretch until you feel warmth in that area NOT burning.
Take a Nap
Everybody under the sun, including your own mother, can collectively agree that the key to repairing your body from mental and physical demands is a good night's sleep. When the sandman comes to your house and you finally shut your eyes, your body goes to work, releasing hormones and testosterone to repair muscles aiding weight loss and giving a boost to your immune system. Aim for seven or eight hours a night and head to bed at the same time for a more consistent sleep. If you feel as though you've over-done it in your race, don't fret, you can try quick fixes to assist the recovery process like Contrast Therapy (ice baths followed by a hot bath), applying muscle heat creams (Deep Heat), and swallowing a few painkillers if pain starts to persist.