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Recovery Foods for After Cycling

author image Craig Smith
Craig Smith covers weight loss and exercise programming for various online publications. He has been a personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise since 2001. Smith also holds a diploma in exercise physiology and kinesiology from the National Personal Training Institute.
Recovery Foods for After Cycling
Proper recovery after cycling requires consuming certain nutrients. Photo Credit: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

Cycling places a high demand on your body. After those long or intense rides, your body requires re-fueling. Before you aimlessly grab something to eat, it is imperative you understand how certain foods work the best for proper recovery.

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Cycling drains glycogen stores in your muscles. Glycogen fuels the body for your cycling workouts. Immediately after cycling, you must ingest nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein to stimulate glycogen synthesis and muscular repair. The “IDEA Health & Fitness Association” recommends that you consume carbs immediately after your workout to replenish glycogen levels in your muscles.

Proper Ratio

For proper recovery from the demand cycling places on your body an optimal 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein works best and initiates an optimal recovery after exercise, according to a report from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, published at the Bowling Green State University website.

Chocolate Milk

Your refrigerator may contain one of the highest quality recovery foods available. According to an October 2012 article published in "Medicine in Sports Science," research proves that chocolate milk contains an optimal 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. Another recovery benefit includes the simple carbohydrates, or simple sugars found in chocolate milk.

Simple sugars like sucrose, fructose and table sugar provide fast energy and insulin for the body. Although simple sugars have a poor reputation, these types of carbs provide a method for fast and immediate carbohydrate loading after cycling. Thus, a glass of chocolate milk offers a convenient and perhaps cheaper alternative to a sports recovery drink.

White Rice and Chicken Breast

A plate of white rice and baked or grilled chicken offers the blend of nutrients to enable cycling recovery. White rice falls under the simple carbohydrates category which provides glycogen at faster rates compared to complex carbs. After your cycling workout, your body requires a faster delivery of carbohydrates for recovery. Grilled or baked chicken breast provides lean protein to assist in muscular repair to prepare you for that next ride.

Whey Protein Fruit Smoothie

A fruit smoothie blended with whey protein powder offers another option for recovery from your rides. A smoothie consisting of a banana, a few mango slices, fat free yogurt, a tablespoon of honey and a serving of your favorite whey protein powder packs a perfect protein and carbohydrate blend. Whey protein digests and provides nutrients faster than any other protein method.

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