Get Your Nutrition Game in Order

By Amanda Loudin

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You’ve got your Netflix all queued up, the fan directed at your trainer, and the time set aside for getting in your sweat session. But have you given any thought to nutrition and hydration?

Because you’re probably traveling only as far as your basement or garage to put in miles on the bike trainer, you might be overlooking one of the most essential elements of your time investment. That’s an opportunity missed.

The trainer is an ideal time to practice how you’ll eat and drink when out on the roads or in a race. You don’t have to worry about bonking and not making it back home. The same can be said about stomach upset or needing a bathroom. You’re in the comfort of your own home with everything you need should things go south, so use this time to experiment with a nutrition plan.

Here’s how to go about it:

Determine the calories you’ll need

Let’s say you’re practicing for a long event and have a three- or four-hour trainer ride planned. Use a nutrition calculator to figure out how many calories you would probably expend on the road and how many calories you’d then need to supplement. Think about how you might want to ingest those calories—through drinks, food, or gels and the like.

Set it all up

Even though it would be easy to just put your nutrition on a nearby table or stand of some sort, use your trainer time as a full-on dry run. That means putting full bottles into your cages, stuffing your supplements into your planned race-day jersey or belt, and taking it all in while moving your legs. If you have no plans to step off the bike on race day to eat and drink, don’t step off the trainer, either.

Think about your timing

When and how much you’ll be eating and drinking is very much an individual experience, so put some thought into what might or might not work for you. Some cyclists like to eat every 30 minutes or so, while others might get stomach upset from so close a window. Have a plan going into your ride and then give it a go. If it doesn’t work, you’ll know to try something different next time.

Write it all down

Once you’ve finished your ride, log what you took, when, and how it made you feel. Use this for making tweaks as you go along in your indoor season and by race day, you should be good to go.

 

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