5 tips on after-exercise nutrition for cyclists

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Very often people think that it is important to take energy supplements only before and during the ride, but that's not true! 
Actually, the most important time to take nutrition is at the end of your training session!

During exercise, your body is subject to intense efforts and needs a lot of energy; muscle fibres gets damaged, stress-related hormones are released and the immune system weakens. Therefore, after exercise you feel fatigued and need to put yourself back together. 

If you neglect this important phase, that is the recovery phase, you might get sick more easily. A number of studies showed that in the 72 hrs after endurance exercise, the body is more exposed to infections, injuries and muscle soreness, thus the recovery is more difficult. 
On the contrary, a good recovery strategy makes cyclists perform at their best during every ride. 

Here are some useful tips on how and when taking nutrition during the recovery phase. 

1. What should I eat and drink after exercise? 

It is important to have a combination of carbohydrates and high quality, fast absorbed proteins, preferably associated to an electrolyte drink. This way, carbohydrates will replenish muscle glycogen stores, proteins will start repairing muscle tissue, while electrolytes will restore fluids and minerals lost sweating. 

2. How many carbohydrates should I have?

Carbohydrate intake depends on several factors, such as exercise intensity, body condition, pre-exercise nutrition and temperature. However, an average carbohydrate intake should be around 0.8 - 1.2 g/ kg of body weight.

3. How many proteins should I have?

Some studies show that consuming 20-25 g of proteins with a high biological value immediately after exercise support muscular recovery, especially when choosing whey proteins that are rapidly digested.

4. Are recovery supplements useful?

Recovery supplements are very useful especially (but not only) after races. Recupero® and Recupero Extreme®, for example, are two different blends of carbohydrates, BCAA, micronutrients and electrolytes specific for the recovery phase. These products can be used regularly (in case of Recupero®) or exclusively after very intense training sessions or races (in case of Recupero Extreme®).

5. Are sports products really useful, or should I have only "normal" foods?  

Food supplements should never be taken as substitutes for foods, but  they can be a valid option to increase energy intake before, during and right after exercise. Gels, bars and electrolyte energy drinks are very practical for athletes and very effective if designed to be rapidly absorbed.    

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