By Gianna Rosati
In order to get the most out of your rides, you should start each one feeling fresh and rested. Achieving this feeling can be difficult, especially after a tough ride the day before. Here are six ways speed up your recovery process, so you can perform optimally during each and every ride!
1. Slow down your legs. Once your ride ends, keep your legs moving at a low for 2-3 minutes as your cool down and catch your breath. the resistance on your bike, letting your legs spin slowly for 2-3 minutes. This will allow your heart rate to come down and your legs to regain some initial strength, jumpstarting the recovery process.
2. Static stretch. You may think your work is done after your ride ends, but not so fast! After you have spun on low resistance, get off your bike and stretch. Stretching after a difficult ride can aid in injury prevention, help relieve stress, and improve circulation, which is essential for a speedy recovery. Keeping a mat by your bike can be a helpful reminder to stretch! Check out our Stretch Page for additional resources.
3. Keep drinking water. Hydration before and during a workout are both very important, however, staying well hydrated after a ride is arguably even more important (and is commonly overlooked). During your ride you will likely lose a significant amount of sweat, which contains water and sodium. It is important to replenish both stores. Drinking a sports drink with electrolytes or adding electrolyte tablets to your water are two ways to satisfy both needs at once!
Along with the initial post-ride hydration, it is vital to continue to drink water throughout the day. Bringing a reusable water bottle with you to work or to run errands can serve as a good reminder to hydrate.
Read about some of our go-to products we enjoy before, during and after workouts here: Our Favorite Ways to Stay Hydrated
4. Refuel. Along with rehydrating, it is important to refuel post-ride. In order to grow and become stronger, your muscles need to be fed. To adequately feed them, we recommend eating a well-balanced meal within 2 hours of your ride. Meals will vary depending on the time of your workout. Here are some of our favorites:
Breakfast- In the mood for a sweet post-ride breakfast? Enjoy a bowl of oats loaded with berries, a banana, and a nut butter of your choosing. More of a savory-breakfast person? Whip up some scrambled eggs with bell pepper, spinach, mushrooms, and turkey breakfast sausage. Extra- long ride? Add a piece of toast on the side.
Lunch- Looking for a lunch staple that can work for meat eaters and vegetarians alike? Sandwiches are easy and can be manipulated to satisfy any dietary restrictions. A well-balanced sandwich contains a protein and a fat (i.e. turkey and avocado OR eggplant, feta, and hummus).
Dinner- Three words: loaded sweet potato. Instead of the bread, let the sweet potato be the vessel for your balanced meal. Stuff your potato with a lean protein, veggies, and fats. An example could be a Mexican-style stuffed sweet potato, filled with ground turkey, beans, pico de gallo, and an assortment of grilled squashes.
5. Active recovery. Staying active throughout the day can help loosen your muscles and prevent the buildup of lactic acid. Ways to stay active include walking to work, taking a walk during the lunch hour, taking the stairs in your building, walking to dinner, etc.
6. Get sleep. Getting enough sleep is a crucial component of the recovery process. Our bodies need complete down-time to rest and recharge. We recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night, however, hitting this range on a night after a workout is particularly important.
Next time you have a hard ride, try following these recovery steps. Let us know how they helped you in the comment section below!
Check out our favorite ways to hydrate here.