More cyclists than ever are currently training indoors. Not due to bad weather, it’s the virus that leads many countries to ban leisure and training rides.

Still, a good start into the training day is a good breakfast but a good start that’s also changing out of your pyjamas. This helps to switch from night to day and get mentally ready for the day.

Fueling your training day

What breakfast best fuels your morning depends on what’s on the program. The more intense or the longer you train, the more you rely on carbohydrates. A high-fat or high-protein breakfast won’t make you beat new records or do a high quality interval session.

While some are doing longer workouts on the bike, others perform shorter workouts of 60 minutes. Sports nutrition products are widely available but when you train for 60 minutes and had a proper breakfast, there’s no need to take on huge amounts of carbohydrates while you’re on the bike. The longer you ride, the more important is the ingestion of exogenous carbohydrates. When you pass the 60 minute mark and get up to two hours, you’ll need some extra carbohydrates (30 g/h). However, this doesn’t mean you start after 60 min. Carbohydrate ingestion should be regular, so start in the first hour. For rides up to three hours a carbohydrate ingestion of 45-60 g/h is recommended. And if your rides are longer than 150 min, you’ll need between 60-90 g carbs per hour.

  • Gel (25-40 g)
  • Sports drink (30 g per 500 ml)
  • Bar (25-40 g)
  • Chews (carb content varies; 100 g approx. 75 g carbs)
  • Note: many electrolyte solutions contain little to no carbs (2 g/500 ml) – need to add extra
  • Banana (15-23 g carbs)
  • Fruit bar
  • Dates (5-6 approx. 30 g)
  • Tea with 2 tbsp honey (30 g)
  • Diluted fruit juice

Hydration

Not everyone has a fan at home. We usually open the window if we can. During indoor training our sweat rate is definitely higher than with outdoor riding. Proper hydration is important for best training quality. It helps to keep our core temperature down. A good hydration status reduces the RPE, too.

Firstly, make sure you start your training well hydrated.

Secondly, stay hydrated during your ride. If you’re a heavy and salty sweater, make sure you replace fluids AND electrolytes lost with seat.

Thirdly, rehydration is part of recovery. Use the time after your training to bring your fluid status back to normal. Diluted fruit juices, syrup, tea, water help with that.

Recovery

It’s important to fuel your ride but it’s as important to support your body’s recovery processes. Carbohydrates, protein and fluids are important, especially after intense and long workouts. Make sure you start in the first 30 minutes. There are many solutions for recovery foods:

  • Chocolate milk (500 ml)
  • Butter milk, sweetened (500 ml)
  • Greek yogurt with honey & banana, water
  • Smoothie
  • Sandwich with ham or cottage cheese
  • Protein bar, water
  • Recovery shake
  • Lunch

Further reading:

Burke et al (2011) Carbohydrate for training and competition. doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.585473

Jeukendrup (2014) A Step Towards Personalized Sports Nutrition: Carbohydrate Intake During Exercise. 10.1007/s40279-014-0148-z