POWER! That ever sought after entity- legs like tree trunks and fast like Hermes god of speed, the desire of many a cyclist! Ha!! but seriously- when wanting to increase power in your cycling, carbohydrates are KING!
I work with top level athletes and it is imperative that they know the aims of each session so you know how to eat before, during and after that session. How you eat for it will change depending on the training session intensity and goal but when looking at power, high-intensity intervals and high watt sessions you need to be fuelled ready for that session.
Why? Going into a HARD session on low muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate) will impair your performance and reduce the potential gains and adaptions you would get, as remember you want to do your best and work your hardest for this session and not flounder early on.
This begs the question, “So, how should I eat for it?”
Well this is split into three categories; Timing, Type and Total.
Timing – As you can imagine this is massively important because if you’re eating your brown rice 1 hour before the session that precious rice won’t have fully broken down and be ready to use as energy in time for the planned session.
I recommend eating your pre-training carbohydrates 3-4 hours before, giving plenty of time for it to digest and be ready for use.
Sometimes this isn’t possible with busy schedules. If you have a morning session I’m sure you won’t want to wake up for a midnight feast! I would suggest for you to have your carb meal 30-45mins before your morning training though you would have a different type as mentioned below.
Type – Now you know when to have your carbohydrates you need to know what type you should be having!
If you have 3-4 hours before the session, then go for Low Glycaemic Index (GI) foods such as brown rice, wholemeal tortilla, oats, new potatoes, legumes and sweet potatoes.
But if you’re one of the early morning people then you need to go for moderate to high GI foods like, wholemeal bread, muesli, puffed rice, and fruit.
Total – Having sufficient carbohydrates will ultimately decide the effectiveness of the session as ingestion of too small an amount the effect won’t be significant. Whether you are training early or later on and have time for a low GI meal I would suggest consuming 1-1.2g carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight beforehand.
This figure isn’t gospel though. Think about the duration of your session- is it just 20mins of power training or is it longer? Are you doing a run after- for example if you’re training for a triathlon? In either of these cases the amount might need to be adjusted and you certainly don’t want to over consume on calories or their might be another muffin man down Drury Lane!
*depending on the length of the power session having a gel during might be worth it but I would possibly only use this over 25min intense sessions*
Here are four amazing carbohydrate foods that are perfect to have pre-workout and some suggestions as to how to incorporate them into your day with ease! Depending on your carbohydrate demands the amounts may need to vary.
Chilaquiles – Mexican style – Quick and something special
- 2 Tortilla – I used whole-wheat
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion
- Fresh coriander
- 30g crème fraiche
- 1 pot fresh salsa – I bought mine to save time
- 1 chicken breast -pre cooked
CHOP tortilla into small triangles 10ths or 14ths
FRY in a pan with olive oil till crispy
DRY off oil and put back in the pan
ADD all the salsa and cook through
FINELY chop red onion and coriander
TEAR your chicken breast into pieces
SERVE the salsa tortilla mix
TOP with red onion, coriander, chicken and crème fraiche
10min Beef Stir fry – Makes batch cooking a dream
- 150-250g 5% beef mince
- 4/5 cherry tomatoes
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- 3 spring onions
- Fresh coriander
- 250g pre-cooked brown rice or microwaveable brown rice
- Salt & Pepper
- 1tsp Olive oil
- 1tsp butter
ADD olive oil and heat
FRY spring onions till soft
ADD mince and season fry till nearly done
STIR in puree & tomatoes
FRY till golden and tomatoes soften
ADD butter and rice just before end enough to heat through
GARNISH with freshly chopped coriander
SERVE hot or cold
Sun-dried tomato salad – Perfect side to any meal and meal
Send that Iceberg lettuce home!
• New potatoes about 300g
• Pack of green beans
• Feta cheese
• Sun-dried tomatoes
• Olive oil
• Fresh Basil
CUT green beans and new potatoes in half
COOK and then leave to cool
MIX the two together in a bowl
ADD chopped sun-dried tomatoes
CRUMBLE feta cheese in
GARNISH with fresh chopped basil and a glug of olive oil
Breakfast Power Smoothie – That one for the early risers
- 1-2 large frozen banana/s
- 20g Whey protein
- 100g Total 0%
- Almond milk – add to make the consistency you like, I prefer mine thick
BOSH all ingredients except muesli in the blender
BLEND till smooth
POUR into a bowl or drinks container