Recovery for Cyclists
rest, relax, repair, restore, replenish, rebuild, & ride
An essential component of a cyclist's routine is Recovery. But what does it really mean?
Simply put, ‘Recovery’ is the body’s return to a normal state of strength and health. It encompasses all the activities and nutrition that help you recuperate and heal between your training sessions. Recovery is an important part of training, if not the most important.
But what is the best recovery plan for you?
For a workout to seem easier the next time, strained muscles must be repaired, adapted, and strengthened. When strategically added to your training routine, Recovery can help you achieve your fitness goals faster. Workouts lead to fatigue and depletion of nutrients in your body while rest & recovery allow your body to repair itself and restore energy. The result of a structured training cycle is an increase in ability, which is what we're aiming for.
Most people think Recovery is something you do after workouts i.e., replenishing electrolytes, filling up on protein shakes, re-hydrating etc. However, there’s lots more to it…
So here’s how you give your body the best chance to recover:
YES - Recovery starts before you exercise, not after!
1. Get Plenty of Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is essential for helping muscles recover and rebuild after exercise. Aim to get seven or eight hours of quality sleep per night, as this will help ensure that your body has enough time to replenish itself before the next ride.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet full of nutritious foods can help provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Ensuring you give your body what it needs on a daily basis to stay fit, healthy, and repair itself is integral. Make sure you include a balanced diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
VitxCycle is the perfect addition to your diet to help you improve muscle recovery.
3. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after rides helps to maintain hydration levels, which can aid in muscle recovery and prevent cramping or fatigue while riding. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints; it helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you're dehydrated, your body can't perform at its highest level. If your body loses even 10 % of its water volume, you can expect to feel mentally weak, and possibly even a little ill! You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms, too.
4. Keep fueled on your ride: What you use to fuel your exercise is a personal choice and takes time to understand what your body needs when riding. There are so many options out there - bars/ gels/ electrolytes/ fruit/ homemade flapjacks - that the only way to see what works best for you is to try different options! Whatever option you land on, the important thing is to avoid bonking (a big no no, that! - Bonking is when you hit the wall and lose the energy to continue to exercise!).
5. Relax: Take the time to cool down after a ride, spin those legs out and then let your body relax. Stretching after each ride is important to help muscles recover and prevent injury. Regular massage therapy can aid in improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and helping the body heal from intense physical activity. Foam rolling after riding helps break up knots in the muscles which can improve blood flow, reduce pain, and speed up recovery process by loosening tight fascia tissue around the muscle fibers. Elevate your feet after rides and try mobility work (stretching, pilates, yoga) if you have any stiffness in your muscles as it will help with blood circulation. You could even use quality compression clothing to help stimulate blood flow.
6. Replenish: Hydrate well and ensure you are replenishing those lost nutrients. VitxCycle helps you by ensuring you get a balanced intake of the vitamins and minerals needed to support your training. Click here to see the full list of our ingredients. Quality protein is an important element of a balanced diet. With an endurance sport like cycling, it is important to consume sufficient carbohydrates as well - carbohydrates fuel while proteins repair. A good rule of thumb is to consume a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein post-rides.
It sounds obvious, but the number of calories you should consume each day is determined by your level of activity. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn and therefore the more you will require. Generally speaking, most people need 1,500-2,000 calories per day. For a more specific guideline, The Mac MET BMR Method’s calorie calculation can be used. Click here to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and your daily calorie intake requirements. You can use the data from your bike computer/fitness tracker to observe the additional calorie burn from your training activities and therefore adjust your intake accordingly to support your training.
Assuming you're not trying to lose weight you simply replace the calories burnt, ensuring you're fueling according to activity level and supporting your training.
Have a (Recovery) plan
6.Train smarter, not harder: On the days after an intense training session, make sure you include a non-strenuous exercise or activity - be it a short recovery ride on a flat course or swimming/ yoga/ walking. Active recovery techniques like these are known to aid muscle recovery.
Follow a training plan, mix up your sessions (cardio/strength and conditioning, bike, running, swimming) to keep things interesting and so you don’t overwork one set of muscles. Remember you don’t need to train every day… Include rest days (days where you do not exercise) in any plan along with de-load weeks as that’s when the magic happens! Listen To Your Body!
Consulting a coach before starting a new type of training, is a great idea, so that it is tailored to meet your needs. Check out some of our recommended training plans crafted in partnership with experts.
Finally a word of caution, watch out for any odd pains and fatigue when you are regularly exercising. This is especially true for individuals who are over 40. Studies comparing recovery rates between younger and middle-aged/older individuals discovered that the decline in recovery rates begins at the age of 40. This is likely due to older muscles’ susceptibility to skeletal-muscle damage caused by exercise and a slower repair response.
However, this may be the age when you feel like going all-in with your cycling! According to STRAVA, cyclists in their 40s and 50s are the most active and fastest in the UK!
Suffice to say, there is no age limit on when you can start a sport or develop a training plan.
VitxCycle: Developed for cyclists
VitxCycle was developed specially for your needs! Whether you’re looking for a health boost, just starting to train or looking to take your training to the next level – we are here for you, wherever your bike takes you.
As part of VitxCycle’s complex, our RECOVERY softgel offers the following health benefits
Aids joint & bone health while reducing inflammation
Read more about the health benefits here.
Don't just take our word for it...
Our subscribers have seen many benefits from adding VitxCycle to their daily routine; saying goodbye to sore muscles, arthritic pain and improved recovery time between training sessions!
You can read more subscriber testimonials here about how VitxCycle has helped them stay on top of their game. Or hear what Bryan Steel - World and Olympic Medalist thinks about his VitxCycle journey.
VitxCycle is helping an ever-growing number of individuals to recover and train more effectively.
Subscribe today to add the VitxCycle benefits to your training plan!