So as I've learned lurking these fine forums, having a simple-sugar + protein snack after a strenuous ride (or any exercise) = happy muscles. But in my own riding, I have been noticing that I seem to be doing better if I swap the order instead.
Two recent examples: I met friends at a diner and had a slice of apple pie a la mode + ice cream, then half hour later biked back home. Or this morning, I had a bowl of chocolaty cereal with banana, and again went on a ride soon after. In both cases, unsurprisingly, I had MAD energy, and could push myself hard. Hitting those hills was a breeze. Heck, even having a simple apple riiight before I set out gives me much more energy!
Compared to a normal schedule of heaving a big meal a few hours before a ride, and my performance is definitely worse. It's not terrible, but it lacks that extra "oomph" I get from simple-carb-loading right before the ride. And in half the cases, I am still full enough after the ride that I don't feel like eating a recovery snack.
So would having the high-sugar-good-protein snack right before the ride be just as good as if I had it right after? Or maybe I should have both, one before and one right after (tho then I just feel like it's an excuse to eat unhealthy). Any thoughts / experiences / research on that?
Also, for the record, I am not talking about 4hr long endurance rides, but rather, a 30min-1hr intense ride (biking at maximum capacity or climbing hills) - it may not be long but it gets my heart rate and breathing way up, noticeably stresses my leg muscles, and leaves my tshirt drenched in sweat.