We’ve all had those rides where we just feel absolutely fucked afterwards. I’m talking about getting home and falling asleep in full cycling kit, helmet and shoes included.
So how do you recover from such an onerous ride? Even better how do you recover as fast as possible so you can do it again tomorrow?
Here are my top 10 tips for rapid recovery from arduous training and racing:
1. consume enough carbs during your ride
This is the most important point because if you bonk then you will really struggle the next day because your body is forced to catabolize your muscles more than it would had there been enough glycogen present. How many carbs should you be having? 100 grams of carbs per hour makes you bonk proof. You can easily get this by filling your bottle with sugar and adding water. Be sure to drink enough water so that your body can utilize the carbohydrates effectively. You need at least a 4:1 ratio of water to carbohydrates so if you have 500 grams of carbs during a ride you will be needing at least 2 liters of water.
2. have a smoothie within 20 minutes after the ride
The good old banana smoothie will do wonders for your recovery because it packs a caloric punch and contains all the nutrients you need in the correct ratios. Don’t worry, nature has already figured this shit out. Some dude in a lab coat creating powders for slick snake oil marketers will never replicate our natural fuel but they will sell it to you at 10 times the price. Having a 500 to 1500 calorie banana smoothie withing a 20 minute window post ride is perfect because your nutrient uptake and absorption rate is double what it would be normally.
3. Minimize your life stress load
Not all of us are pro cyclists that have most of the mundane shit taken care of. Be thrifty so you can buy more time. Be minimalist so you have less to worry about. Don’t have kids but if you do don’t have more. Be with a partner who doesn’t do drama. Work less or work at what illuminates your soul. Get a vasectomy, be with someone who has one or make that ultimatum. Say no if you don’t want to do something. The list can go on and on but when our life stress is low we will always be able to perform better at anything we want to perform in, it doesn’t just have to be cycling.
4. piss clear or live in fear
If you don’t piss clear you will live in fear of getting dropped tomorrow. If you aren’t interrupting your partner during sex for a natural break then you aren’t drinking enough. Seriously though just drink when you are thirsty and make sure that your urine is clear and torrential when you take a slash. A good rule of thumb is pissing clear 8 to 12 times a day.
5. get to bed by 9 p.m.
This one is huge because the quality of your sleep will be superb if you are going to sleep 3 to 4 hours before midnight. The reason for this is that REM sleep is dominant earlier on in the night than later on. When you get that rapid eye movement sleep then it is deep and restorative, which is exactly what you need. If people complain that you are an old sod or boring then you are doing it right but you should also surround yourself with people who get it so improve that peer group.
6. eat ample Carbs for the day
A high carb, low fat, low protein vegan diet has been proven without a doubt to be the best for human performance and recovery. Keep fat and protein under 10% of total calories while eating 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight. If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 25 then just make sure to get in enough carbs for a BMI of 25. You can calculate that by simply taking 25 and multiplying it by your height (in meters) squared then multiplying that figure by 10. You may find that your appetite exceeds this number and that is fine too. Eat more if you feel you want to. If you are well tuned with your hunger then simply eat till satiety.
7. keep your sex life pumping
A quality sex session is another way to reduce stress as it will boost your testosterone levels and reduce your cortisol levels. Regular sex helps you to relax and being in a more relaxed state overall will help you to sleep better and therefore recover better. When you are more relaxed you also perform better on the bike. Ride your bike during the day and ride your woman at night so you can sleep tight.
8. quit the coffee
In the cycling world it is considered blasphemy to even think about quitting coffee but trust that you will be doing abounding favors for your body by having coconut sugar water instead. Coffee has clearly been shown to cause insomnia, depression, anxiety, increase stress hormone levels, reduce iron absorption and many other maladies. My best performances and power numbers ever on the bike have been without habitual coffee consumption so you can take my word for it..
9. be lazier than a pro gamer
Pro gamers are some of the laziest people known to the human of being but you can apply that laziness to improve your recovery. Why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie down? Why lie down with your smart phone when you can nap? Obviously most people don’t have the luxury to be lazy but just do what you can. Each little bit throughout the day adds up.
10. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously
When you aren’t taking yourself so damn seriously you are having fun. When you are having fun you are happy. When you are happy everything works better in your life including your ability to recover and perform the next day. You are a confident, charismatic Venusian artist that turns frowns upside down. If you don’t know what a Venusian artist is then Google that shit. Don’t worry you don’t need to be a Venusian artist but be sure to enjoy some charming banter, crack jokes and self-amuse.
Some of these are a little unconventional but I have found that they absolutely make a difference. Don’t take my word for it though, try it the next time that you need to recover from a Herculean ride or perform in a stage race. Train insane and recover so you don’t stay the same.