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  1. #1
    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Recovery food *before* the ride?

    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.

  2. #2
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    You shouldn't need any carbs for a 1 hr ride if your muscles are well fueled. However, it has been shown that eating, drinking or mouth rising with carbs during a ride will improve performance. The protein you're eating before is unlikely to be beneficial.

    For short rides you really don't need to be too concerned with 'recovery' foods as you should be able to replenish your glycogen stores with normal meals. Worrying about recovery is more important when you are doing back to back days of 2000+ Calorie rides.

  3. #3
    Senior Member camelopardalis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Worrying about recovery is more important when you are doing back to back days of 2000+ Calorie rides.
    You don't have to worry about recovery food on rides with less intensity?

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    Quote Originally Posted by camelopardalis View Post
    You don't have to worry about recovery food on rides with less intensity?
    I was talking more about volume than intensity. If you're doing a higher volume of exercise what you eat immediately after a ride becomes more important as your body will resynthesize glycogen faster for up to 30-60 minutes after you stop exercising. If you're doing shorter efforts you have more time to replenish so the timing of when you eat isn't so important.

    Eating rice and chicken for dinner after a ride will fully restore your glycogen stores but may take a little longer than a 'recovery' drink taken after the ride. There's nothing magic about 'recovery' food/drink. It's just carbs and some protein the form of which isn't critical.

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    But the OP's original point is correct. The best thing to consume before a hard ride is also a recovery drink, which is still a good thing to consume after a ride, too. In fact, that's exactly what I've done for many years. Anything more substantial, and I feel like barfing. I find that exactly what I eat before a ride to be more important than exactly what I eat after. OTOH, that's for intense rides. For short rides of 2 hours or less, nutrition is not particularly important unless you're doing them every day and riding hard, in which case the above does apply. However it's also important not to eat more than you ride off.

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    To safe tremendous grocery bill, soy milk maker is very potential service. It makes the milk more delicious and high quality. It is useful for every kitchen.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by juicer0 View Post
    To safe tremendous grocery bill, soy milk maker is very potential service. It makes the milk more delicious and high quality. It is useful for every kitchen.


    Actually soy protein is digested differently than Whey or Casein protein. For a recovery drink you want to consume whey protein because it is digested the fastest and will hit the muscles quicker. If your looking to drink something before your ride then drink something with casein (like chocolate milk, or high quality protein powder). Casein is digested much slower and can feed your muscles for up to 8 hours.

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