As we tumble further into the golden leaved days of autumn faster than light can fade from the grey days of drizzle, thoughts turn inevitably to indoor training. Whilst walks through woods and fireside pints might be the positive side of the change of season, cycling seems to become more chore than cheer as november falls into December. We can be thankful, at least, for the rise in choice in the indoor training market as we swap roads for rugs. The church of indoor training
The Church Of Indoor Training.
In the last couple of years we’ve seen a huge increase in the focus on indoor cycling, something that has made the winter months much more bearable for cyclists. No longer do we have to don the most hideous of luminous lycra, take a small country’s share of electricity to power bike lights and endure the most unsociable of weather to keep our fitness on track.
Whilst the weather and shorter days are a factor in indoor training, the scene has become much richer recently with cyclists taking to their bedrooms to race or explore virtual worlds all year round. Smart trainers and indoor bikes can offer a focussed training plan thats difficult to replicate on the road. For the time poor, a one hour session before or after work can really pack a punch. But are we all fuelling correctly for these sessions?
FUELLING FOR THE TURBO TRAINER
Perhaps because an indoor trainer feels like a cheat or a short cut, we can often be guilty of not treating sessions the same way we do outdoors. A typical crit race will last an hour and racers will carry a bidon on their bikes, take a gel before the start and spend the days before and after looking after their diet. The average indoor training session is a similar length and often a similar intensity — do you fuel the same way for each?
We need to start treating indoor cycling sessions the same way we treat outdoor sessions to get the most out of them. Fuelling and hydrating for indoors is essential for your optimum performance, not just on the day of the session but going forward. Let’s go back to basics and talk a little about nutrition as a whole to explain what we mean.
NUTRITION — THE BASICS: CARBOHYDRATES
The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy. When carbs are digested they are broken down into glucose to provide readily available energy for the body to use quickly and effectively. By not having adequate carbohydrate for exercise, you may feel tired and lacking in energy and not be able to perform at your best. This is why it’s essential to fuel well for both training and competition.
Competitive sports people and athletes will require more carbohydrates than an average gym user to match the intensity of their activity level. As an estimation you could need up to 8g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per day if you exercise for 1 to 2 hours a day.
NUTRITION — THE BASICS: PROTEIN
The job protein does for your body is focussed on growth, repair and maintenance of cells and tissues, such as muscle. As well as including protein as part of a healthy, balanced diet, the incorporation of some protein after exercise is important for building new muscle tissues and repairing the damaged ones. Post-workout or post-ride nutrition is often ignored, but its just as important to consider how to feed your muscles after a session as before and during.
NUTRITION — THE BASICS: HYDRATION
Sufficient fluid intake is essential for exercise and optimum recovery. Exercising causes the body to get warmer, so the body tries to cool down by sweating. This causes the loss of water and salts through the skin.
The amount an individual sweats varies from person to person and depends on a variety of factors such as workout intensity / duration, environmental temperature and simple genetics. Generally speaking, the more you sweat, the more you need to drink. Training indoors is often a lot warmer than outdoors, you don’t have the natural cooling effect of moving through the air or the weather. This causes you to sweat more and need more to drink, but how many of us use more water bottles for a turbo session than a weekend ride?
Sweating profusely is not harmful but dehydration can cause tiredness and hinder performance by reducing strength and aerobic capacity, as well as having a negative effect on any further exercise sessions. It’s essential to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
YOUR HANDY NUTRITION CHECKLIST
To keep things simple, here’s our three step guide to how to make the most of your indoor training with good nutrition —
Proactively fuel throughout the day if you know you are turbo training in the evening/after work.
Ensure you have a healthy carb fix at lunch to get you through work and straight onto the bike once home.
Be prepared – if time is precious or you’re heading to the turbo after a day in the office, get your pain cave organised the night before or in the morning, so everything is in place and you’re not spending 15 minutes searching for your bib shorts or cycling shoes when all you want to do is get on the bike!
RAWVELO’S FIVE INDOOR TRAINING HACKS
Here’s our top five tips for how to make the most of your indoor training.
Have a bonk bar by the turbo in case of emergencies – just because you’re indoors it doesn’t mean you’re not immune to bonking, especially if you’re pushing those watts.
Keep Your Cool
Have a fan by your side, it can be hot work – especially if the rest of the household has the heating on full blast to keep warm.
Pushing a high cadence indoors is a sweaty business so keep a towel to hand rather than dripping all over the carpet, you have no air movement to dissipate your sweat so keep drinking fluids to address the balance.
Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you’re indoors you can’t have afterburn – in other words don’t be shy to use the chamois cream when you’re indoor training!
If you’re sweating due to the Sahara climate created by the central heating keep one or two bottles to hand so you’re not having to stop mid-session to fill up your water bottle.
THE FIRST ORGANIC SOLUTION TO HYDRATION
Hydration is often ignored or misunderstood, which has inspired us to spend two years researching and developing the first organic solution to hydration. Working with athletes from Drops Pro Cycling and Bianchi Dama, we have focussed on creating the perfect balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes using only clean, natural ingredients.
Our new Organic Hydration Drink Mix uses coconut water powder to give a full electrolyte profile, including potassium, magnesium and other trace minerals to provide optimal hydration to replace essential electrolytes and fluid lost during exercise through sweat.
We were set on producing an organic hydration drink as opposed to an energy drink, our philosophy has always been “liquid for hydration, food for fuel”. Energy drinks are often too high in carbs which isn’t right for optimal hydration and in the worst cases actually can even dehydrate you. Zero calorie electrolyte tabs, which use artificial sweeteners and have no carbohydrate content, also do not offer optimal hydration.
As a result the Rawvelo Organic Hydration Drink Mix is free from artificial sweeteners, flavourings or colourings, and is available in three natural flavours - Raspberry, Lemon and Neutral. The product contains on average 400mg of sodium, 22g carbohydrate, and 90 calories per serving, ensuring an optimal balance of ingredients for quick and effective absorption.
TESTED BY ATHLETES
We worked with Georgie Panchaud from the Bianchi Dama Women’s Team and Jasmijn Muller to develop the mix for optimum performance. Testing took place under pressure in the heat of the desert in the BikingMan Oman where Jasmijn won the event, and Georgie came in third. The results spoke for themselves and the athlete feedback was invaluable.
Our Rawvelo athletes are already using the Organic Hydration Mix and we are keen for our everyday athletes to benefit from this clean and natural solution to hydration. As well as larger 400g pouches, the mix will be available in handy 25g resealable and reusable packs to make it as convenient as possible for people to hydrate on the move and top up during long days out on the bike.