What should you eat the day/night before a ride?

Subscriber Ben Andrews writes in:

“Hi Matt,

Thanks for the continued great tips! I’m interested to know what
your opinion is on nutrition the day/night before a ride?

Thanks,

Ben”

Good question!

So you shouldn’t worry too much about nutrition the day before a ride…so much as you should be focused on your nutrition as a whole.

Here’s what I mean :

In general terms, you should be riding and depleting ​​​​​​​your energy stores (glycogen in the muscles) and breaking down your muscles etc. from the hard ride…

And then you should be recovering fully afterwards and replenishing ​​​​​​​your glycogen stores in your muscles.

When you ride, you use the glycogen in your muscles as energy.​ Afterwards you need to refuel them.

This is done through eating carbs and your body breaking them down directly into glycogen and also through your body breaking down proteins and ​​​​​​fats and converting them into glycogen (through a process called gluconeogenesis)

So…here’s my point of this article:

After a ride, the next few meals should be really focused on ​​​​​​​recovering your body and muscles and replenishing your glycogen stores. If you do this properly then you shouldn’t need to eat anything special the day before a ride because your glycogen stores should be full in your muscle already.

Does that make sense?

If your glycogen stores are full already, then having a big carb meal the night before a ride won’t add anything as your muscles are already at full capacity. They don’t need and can’t take any more glycogen.

​​​​​​​So – here’s what you should be doing on a daily basis :

Eat 3-4 meals a day consisting of 2/5 protein, 2/5 veg and 1/5 carbs.

​​​​​​​Immediately after a ride have a protein shake (plus some simple sugars like dextrose if you are lean)

30-90 minutes after your ride have a typical meal as mentioned above but make the meal as a whole slightly bigger then normal. So maybe have 2 sweet potatoes instead of 1 and 2 chicken breasts instead of 1.

Through your rides eat a mix of fast, medium and slow release ​​​​​​​carbs – roughly 40g carbs per hour is fine for most to keep your glycogen levels stocked as you ride.

Do this everyday and every ride and you should find that you are fully recovered and your glycogen stores are fully stocked so you ​​​​​​​are ready to ride anytime.

Hopefully that makes sense?

​​​​​​​The idea of what to eat the day before is kind of a nil-point. You should be thinking about your food as a whole – “What should I eat all week?”

Not just – “What should I eat the day before a ride?”

If your nutrition is on point as a whole then you shouldn’t need to ​​​​​​​do anything special the day before a ride…just carry on eating as you normally would.

If you enjoyed this email/article today I’d be keen to hear your thoughts as it’s a bit different than my normal emails and digging into the nitty​ gritty of nutrition.

Matt Mooney

p.s. The more in tune you get with your body and the more focused you get on your nutrition and the affect it has on you, you will probably find that you can tell when your glycogen levels are full and when you are low.

​​​​​​The only way I can describe it is that feeling of ‘Yes, my body feels ready to do a big hill climb right now and I feel I’m satisfying my hunger well’ vs ‘No, my body feels a little empty and I feel constantly hungry’

Optimal nutrition is as much about learning YOUR body as much as it

is learning from people qualified. Experiment and find what works best for you.

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