This is our last post in the natural recovery series, designed so that you can go hard when you train and have a fast recovery, less pain and better overall health as you build towards top cycling performance and overall fitness.
These natural post-workout stress busters are provided so that you can get the most from your performance, while also cutting fat and building muscle. A healthy body is a lean, clean and flexible one!
Our final post is centred around maximum muscle gain to help you stay light on the bike, but with power where it counts.
When you feel muscle soreness it’s because you have torn the muscles fibres from working so hard. The tears are tiny, but there are many of them. When you overwork your muscles, the tears become more serious and the pain intensifies. Your body must then work hard to repair each of the tears. When the muscles are patched up, they become thicker and stronger. In order to get big muscles, its important that you don’t overdo it, you need to make sure you build layer upon layer so that your body can keep up with your workouts. Large tears take a long time to heal and you may lose flexibility in them if the repair work is clumsy.
It’s essential that you eat the right foods, foods that will give your body as many repair and building tools as possible.
1. Natural glycogen
When your muscles are hydrated blood and oxygen flow to them increases, so does repair efficiency and the energy they need to get building.
Select foods that naturally offer a deep hydration and provide your muscles with an energy boost through a burst of natural glycogen.
Fruits and vegetables have the added bonus of containing antioxidants that can help flush toxins, speed up recovery and reduce muscle inflammation. Go for watermelon, kiwi, pineapple and potatoes.
2. Great protein
Protein is the key to building and maintaining muscle tone.
If you are vegan or vegetarian make sure you get an adequate protein punch through lentils and legumes so that your body will have the energy to grow and maintain muscle. If your diet is protein poor your body may find the quickest way to get energy is to break your muscles down and recycle the energy.
Where to start with your protein intake:
Protein is all about speeding up tissue repair. Eggs are not only high in protein, they also come packed with leucine which is a key factor in building muscles. Milk is the only food that contains more leucine than eggs.
Tip: Really looking to lose weight? Go for an egg white omelette for protein without the fat or reduce your yolk intake by having 1 egg yolk and extra whites to give some flavour.
A post-ride chocolate shake gives you a protein and energy boost while filling you up before your next meal. Avoid artificial chocolate sauces and flavours and do some good for your body by making your shake with raw cocoa or melted natural dark chocolate, (don’t forget the cinnamon!). If you find you feel bloated with dairy products switch to 2% low-fat milk.
Chicken and Turkey
Looking for a great snack? Chicken and turkey slices or breast pieces are a great filler between meals. Have it with cucumber, capsicum or roast zucchini to feel satisfied and full. Chicken and turkey meat makes great meals as well. Roast, grill or broil for a healthy high impact meal with no fat and great benefits.
As always, and with every one of theses posts, proper hydration through consuming water is essential. No matter what your fitness level or what your overall health and fitness goals are, water is going to be your best mate before, during and after your workout.
Nothing will cause your body more stress, pain and fatigue than being dehydrated. Drink plenty of water (or herbal teas i.e green or rooibos tea). These liquids will help carry the fluid and chemicals your body doesn’t need out of your bloodstream and keep you hydrated.
Soft drinks, alcohol and sugar-loaded drinks are not hydration tools, they are lollies that will cause more stress and dehydrate your system even more.
Drink water before, during and after your ride to help regulate your body temperature, heart function and muscle workout. Good hydration also means more blood plasma, which means more energy.
Want to know if you’re drinking enough water? Keep an eye on the colour of your urine. Light to pale yellow is good, golden to dark yellow means you need to increase your fluid intake.
Stay safe and enjoy the ride!
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