Though sometimes overlooked, post ride recovery is just as important as training. If you do not allow your body enough time for recovery after a long bike ride, you risk jeopardizing your efforts. It is also likely that you will experience a decline in motivation and progress, burnout, and be at a higher risk of injury and illness. Here are 5 ways to speed up muscle recovery after cycling training.
How to Speed Up Muscle Recovery
After a long bike ride on a hot day, you may notice that the weighing scale shows a drop in your body weight. This is due to a loss in fluid’s caused by sweating. It is important to replenish the fluids lost after cycling as dehydration can slow down recovery and may even cause muscle cramps.
This is why it is recommended to drink enough water to replace the body weight you lost while cycling. You can even drink sports drinks or recovery drinks to replace the minerals and salts lost.
It’s important to replace the energy you expended in a grueling cycling training session. Since most of your energy comes from glycogen, you should consume carbohydrates after a long ride to replenish glycogen stores. It’s a good idea to eat protein-rich food after a tough ride; as this is an essential nutrient that promotes muscle building and repair. A few great recovery foods to consider for post ride recovery include peanut butter, rice, chicken, and potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggs, fish, and Greek yogurt. It is also beneficial to include vegetables and fruits in your recovery meals as they are good sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals and are essential for overall health.
Of course, you can also get these two essential nutrients from recovery bars or energy bars. Remember to always checking the label/packaging to make sure you get the right nutrients that are needed for your recovery.
Cooling down after a long bike ride is another great way on how to speed up muscle repair. After a tough cycling training session, make sure to take a few minutes to spin easy or walk. If you suddenly stop after a hard bike ride, the blood can just pool in your legs. This can make you feel lightheaded and can limit blood flow, which slows down muscle repair and recovery.
Getting enough sleep is another essential aspect of how to increase muscle recovery speed. During deep sleep, muscle-building hormones increase. These hormones help to repair muscles after a tough cycling training session. As such, without enough sleep, you may notice that your muscles stay sore for longer.
It’s recommended to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to achieve this, try to avoid using your phone before bed. Research shows that the blue light the screen emits. limits the body’s production and release of melatonin, a sleep hormone, which in turn will make you feel more alert rather than drowsy.
Another tip to get a great night’s rest is to avoid taking long naps during the day. Generally, it is recommended to avoid napping after 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It is also recommended to avoid caffeine and other stimulants later on in the day.
Using Recovery Tools
After a tough cycling training session, you may experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which can be extremely uncomfortable. A great way on how to speed up DOMS after a tough ride is to use recovery tools. Some examples of recovery tools that promote post ride recovery include foam rollers and active compression calf wraps like SPRYNG. These recovery tools aid in recovery by increasing blood flow, which greatly reduces pain after a long bike ride. You can learn more about SPRYNG here.