Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exercise and Eating

What should you do to avoid it?
The “knock” is caused by a lack of glucose in the blood stream which causes a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. It can occur when you have been training for many hours, if it’s going to happen; this is when the body tries to utilize the stores of energy that is stored in the muscles and the liver.
Your blood sugar levels can be kept at the correct level by simply eating carbohydrate at frequent intervals during your ride. This helps the body to release the glycogen and fat from its natural stores and this keeps the muscles working at optimum performance. We highly recommend an a1c test if you’ve got a “knock” and don’t know why, because a blood test will show you where you are all the time ;)
What Should I Eat?
Certain food stuffs have better results than others at maintaining the blood sugar levels. Food with more complex sugars that take slightly longer to break down into energy are more efficient for this than foods that contain large amounts of glucose that only supply short bursts of energy, which causes a high then a low and causes the body to want more.
Fruit is very popular with many sportsmen, it contains a natural form of sugar called fructose, and it is gentler on the blood sugar level system than glucose. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, figs and raisins supply a steady flow of energy. Fruit is also a cheap form of energy snack that comes in its own wrapping.
There are many energy-bars, crunchy-bars and muesli-bars on the market, all have been made with energy in mind, the correct amount of sugars and minerals are all included and more importantly they are tasty and you can buy them with different fruits or chocolate or a yogurt topping.
Some that are available can be quite dry, but more these days are wet and much easier to consume on the move which chocking or having a dry mouth. Most bars contain a fruit or an extract of some kind, cereals, honey or sugar cane.
The manufacturers are all trying to use less and less preservatives and additives as those E numbers are not what you want in your system.
Crunchy bars are a great way of getting the energy that you need to keep your legs turning on a ride. But this isn’t the whole story, you also need to drink and what you drink is very important.
Liquid, It’s Very Important
Its been shown that on short rides of less than two to three hours food is of limited use for your performance and that carbohydrate drinks are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The problem with this is that not everyone is suited to a liquid only diet on rides, a mixture of drink, fruit or an energy bar is the best plan for many riders.
Water is second only to oxygen in importance to the body. Water is being lost from the body all the time and must be replaced at a rate that will keep you hydrated. The minerals sodium chloride and potassium control the level of water and fluid loss from and within the body.
The correct balance of these three minerals is very important in the way the body controls sweating and electrolytic balance. The use of electrolytic drinks replaces the lost water and the important minerals which keep your hydration system in balance.
Fluid Replacement
All sports people will tell you they were sweating gallons in their trainingthat day. Sweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature, the body sweats to keep the temperature down so that the body performs perfectly, and it’s like a thermostat for humans.
As you train you loose weight, this is not always a good thing as it is fluid loss and included in that fluid is important minerals, vitamins and electrolytes that are all essential for a high performance.

Depending on your activity, the weather and your body type you will loose anything from 2 to 5 liters per hour. Tests have shown that a 1 liter loss of fluids to a 70 kilogram person can cause a drop of up to 20 percent.
Drinking water is not the best answer, it will help, but will dilute what minerals are left in your system and this is where the special drinks come in to play.
There are many on the market and they all do much the same, you need to do your home work and try some different ones, there are
  • electrolyte
  • carbohydrate drinks
  • and recovery drinks for after the ride,
…so you need to find the one that suits you and the flavor that you like.
So when you go for a ride take a crunchy-bar or some fruit and a bottle of drink, water is OK, but its better to have an Isotonic drink of some sort, even on short rides you need to keep yourenergy levels up and keep everything ticking over perfectly, enjoy your cycling, but look after yourself as it makes your cycling easier, well less hard!

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