By Marion ROUXEL, Dietician nutritionist
The holidays are over and it's time to get back on the bike to start training again. You may have good resolutions, but still have trouble getting ready for the new season, so here are a few pieces of advice to get the year off to a good start and to deal with the annoying ups and downs of winter.
1 - Adopt good eating habits
After the overindulgences of Christmas and the New Year, we have to get back into eating a balanced diet. So, eat lighter meals with more vegetables. For lunch and dinner eat carbohydrates and vegetables with your meat or fish. The dessert should comprise a dairy product or a piece of fruit (raw, as a compote, or an apple cooked in the oven etc.). Cook more without using fat and avoid dishes with sauces. Have three meals a day and don't nibble on your Christmas chocolates between meals!
2 - Remember to hydrate regularly
When it's cold, we often forget to hydrate because we feel neither the need nor desire to drink. But it's perfectly possible to become dehydrated and cyclists also need energy intake. Hydration is therefore not just for long jaunts in intense heat While exercising, it is advisable to drink 1 to 2 mouthfuls of energy drink every 5 to 10 minutes for optimum absorption and to avoid discomfort caused by an accumulation of liquid in the stomach.
3 - Don't forget to warm up
It's cold... It's therefore essential to warm up your muscle system. But you have to do it slowly and gradually, especially when it's cold. If you do your warm-up exercises properly, you reduce the risk of injury (overstretching, muscle strains etc.). So pedal slowly to start with and then speed up as you go along.
4 - he days are short, so go out twice at weekends
Night falls very early at this time of year, so many of you only go out cycling at weekends. It doesn't matter! Training properly twice a week can be effective. Start by going out for just 2 short cycling sessions (1 1/2 to 2 hours) then lengthen your sessions by half an hour each week, and you will quickly reach 6 - 7 hours of cycling in a weekend. Go for around a 2 to 3 hour ride on Saturday and a longer ride on Sunday. To make the most of your training session, it's quality over quantity: your sessions should include both speed and strength exercises. Later in the year, when your physical condition permits, you can also do "'threshold" sessions.
For shorter rides, choosing ANTIOXIDANT HYDRIXIR as your sports drink and consuming ANTIOXIDANT GEL every hour will be enough. When you're out training for longer stints, eating the FRUITY BAR as a supplement will be very helpful in providing energy and something soft to eat.
5 - Find a back-up activity
The bad weather at the start of the year often puts cyclists off getting back on their bicycle. Ice, snow, cold... There are so many reasons for not setting foot outside to avoid the risk of catching cold or falling down accidentally. When it's not possible to forecast bad weather and you have not planned your training sessions according to the opportunities you had, there are 2 options to maintain your physical condition:
- An additional sporting activity: if you can't cycle, you can keep fit by going for a little jog or a swim (for stamina), or even go to the gym.
- Exercise bike: although it's ideal for making up for a cancelled session outside, an exercise bike does not replace a proper long training session. It is nonetheless a way of working on your pedal cadence effectively and doing specific exercises (speed, strength, explosive force etc.).
Whatever the sporting activity you do, a SPORDEJ meal taken up to ½ hour before the training session will enable you to approach your session in tip-top form.
6 - Set objectives for the new season
You don't have to plan your competition schedule down to the last day, but you should have one or two main objectives that will set the pace for the season. Setting objectives gives relevance to your training sessions and keeps your motivation going. What's more, training just when you feel like it is not an effective way of keeping up the pace throughout the season.