The number one rule of sportive nutrition is to not experiment with eating and drinking anything new during the week before a sportive.
The sportive nutrition tips below apply equally to normal training weeks and training rides so if you haven’t tested nutrition and hydration yet, test new food and drink combinations now and get into the right routine.
Sportive Nutrition Tips: The Week Before
- Exercise before breakfast: If you are trying to loose weight then exercising before breakfast will raise your metabolism; your body will burn fat better throughout the day
- Regular meals: eating a good healthy breakfast followed by regular small meals helps keep blood sugar levels steady and weight off
- Big healthy breakfast: Eat as much healthy food as you can at breakfast it should be your biggest meal of the day; look for cereals with as few additives as possible, free range eggs on granary toast kick start your day with carbs and protein
- Walk it off: Studies have shown that the body will access fat straight from the bloodstream if you take a short walk after a meal
- Snack on nuts: Nuts are full of natural and healthy fats and make a great snack
- Nutrient rich food: Eat raw fruit and vegetables and drink juices and smoothies, spinach and beetroot both help increase the body’s oxygen uptake and can be juiced
- Slow release carbs: Choose brown rice, wholemeal bread and brown pasta to get in complex carbohydrates that will release energy slowly over the day
- Fish: Add oily fish to your diet twice a week as a great natural source of essential fats
- Eat your greens: Make sure your plate has a good balance of food types and colours and pile on the leafy greens
- Chicken: A lean source of protein to help muscle repair and growth as well as vitamin B
- Melt in the mouth: If you are having to chew something then your digestive tract will also have to work harder to break it down and get the nutrients into your body so choose casseroles and stews that melt in your mouth and contain root vegetables
- Eat slowly: Whenever possible always sit at the table for your main meals, talk, appreciate the food and eat slowly to help your digestive system to process the food properly
- Green tea: Helps burn fat, has a calming effect and can help to reduce cravings
- Keep well hydrated: At least 1.5 litres of water daily
If you want to eat like a Pro then check out these Cycling Nutrition Tips from Team Sky.
Sportive Hydration: Signs of Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Being irritable or cranky
- Seeming bored or disinterested
- Excessive fatigue
- Slowing down
￼Sportive Nutrition Tips: Race Morning
- Hydration: Start hydrating when you wake up by having a sports bottle by your bed, carry it with you all morning and sip water little and often
- Big breakfast: Stick to your favoured combination that has worked well before training rides, you can wake up earlier to eat and then snooze or stretch afterwards to ease yourself into the day and give the body time to digest and absorb the nutrients and carbs
Sportive Nutrition Tips: On The Ride
- Be self sufficient: Have your favoured combination of gels and bars in your back pocket, don’t rely on the feed stations alone
- Food alarm: You can remind yourself to eat and drink with a repeating alarm every 30 minutes on some sports watches or use distance markers as a reminder to get some fuel in
- Eat well before climbs: Note the major climbs on your route plan (see our Sportive Checklist) to make sure you eat before a climb to get your energy levels up
- Use descents to refuel: When it is safe to take on fuel during the descent use the easier riding to recharge the batteries before the pace and effort picks up on the flats
- When you feel good eat: Don’t wait until you are tired or hungry!
Sportive Nutrition Tips: After The Ride
- Carbs and protein: Help the body to repair by getting in an electrolyte sports drink and a banana straight after finishing (even if it’s the last thing you want to take on!)
- Recovery meal: Eat a well balanced meal with easily digested starchy carbs and sources of lean protein. Planning your recovery meal in advance can give you something to look forward to in the last few miles.
- Treat yourself: If you want to have a more ‘naughty’ treat to look forward to then burger and chips is not that bad if it’s gourmet stuff; hand cut chips with the skins on will give you carbs and salt and a proper hand made burger will be easy to digest, a chicken burger with green salad would be a great option.
- Celebrate: Guiness or red wine are healthier choices, but whatever drink you celebrate with make sure you hydrate well, alcohol is a diuretic (it dehydrates you) so chase every alcoholic drink with the equivalent sized glass of water. Interspersing any post race drinks with fruit juice or electrolyte drinks is also an easy post race re-hydration option available in most pubs these days
- Snack attack: Just before bed a healthy snack of wholegrain toast will help the body recover while you sleep
Remember to follow these Cycling Recovery Tips so that you can maintain your form and get set for your next challenge!
Cycling Nutrition Books
Here’s our recommended further reading if you want to learn more about what to eat and when to eat to get lean and powerful on the bike!
Feed Zone Cookbook deserves a place in any endurance athletes kitchen, check out these quick nutrition tips and buy your copy.
Book Review: Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald is essential riding for cyclists who want to reduce fat and increase lean muscle.
Sportive Holidays with Brevet
The buzz after you finish a challenging sportive that has pushed you to your limits is an incredible feeling. It will leave you wanting more – so why not plan your next challenge now?
Sportive Training Plan
Are you in training for a sportive? Use our free 12 week Sportive Training Plan to get you in the best possible shape for your sportive challenge. Simply fill the form below and we’ll send you your free training plan: