Back to the basics

We’ve become so interested in the finer details of what to eat; we often fling the basics of healthy eating out the window. So this winter Rochez O’Grady will help you eat smarter by mastering these essential eating habits. Keeping it simple can get you over the finish line.

We need to start to recognise our bad habits in order to change them. Many cyclists don’t think about food, and this is often why poor eating habits are formed. Once we see what our bad habits are we can change them. Doing this will optimise your energy levels on every ride and motivate you to continue a routine.

 6 nutritional musts:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast:

This immediately sets the tone of the day. If we miss breakfast our energy levels will slump, and we are unable to replenish our stores, which have dipped during our sleep. Re-supplying our body with energy will replenish liver glycogen stores which will stabilise your blood sugar as you ride, preventing you from having a sugar crash.

How to kick the habit?

If you are short on time, try something easy by adding hot water to a sachet of original instant oats. Otherwise blend a quick smoothie with fruit and yoghurt. Try having a lighter dinner; this will increase your appetite when you wake up. If you are still struggling, eat small even if it is something  like a piece of fruit, a small yoghurt or a handful of nuts. Practice makes perfect.


  1. Don’t try new things at the last minute

During a race, trying out new foods or drinks is really bad timing as it can be disastrous. It is far better to try out new things during training.

How to kick the habit?

Try out new foods on shorter rides, designate one day a week to a new food day. You can find out ideal fuel combinations by mixing things up when the time is right.


  1. Avoid bonking

Cyclists often get caught out on a long distance ride without enough fuel. Make sure that you are prepared. Even if there is enough fuel, it can easily happen that actual refuelling doesn’t take place.

How to kick the habit?

Fill your bottle with a sports drink, and set your alarm to remind you to take a sip every 15 minutes. Then remember to refuel every hour – you can aim for 30 to 60g carbohydrates per hour. Work it out if one bar has 30g carbs then go for one bar per hour and taking a couple of sips on your Energade.

  1. Don’t shut the recovery window

The first 30 to 60 minutes after your ride, is the best time to eat, your body creates a slip line for those nutrients for muscle repair and glycogen replacement. During this window is when your body will benefit the most. This is particularly important if you’re stacking up big rides back to back.

How to kick the habit?

Aim to prepare your recovery foods beforehand, so they are ready to eat. Invest in a cooler bag if your races are far from home.


  1. Stop boozing after rides

It is very difficult to replace the losses that have taken place while on the bike. This is why you need to keep on hydrating once the ride stops, so alcohol is out! This will reduce any risk of dehydration, future muscle cramps or injury, which compromises recovery.

How to kick the habit?

Keep a water bottle with you and refill it make sure you finish it within an hour after the ride.

  1. Don’t ignore the weather

If you are not spending as much time on your bike in winter, this means that it is easier to put on weight.

How to prevent it?

Make sure you eat slowly so you can recognise when you are full – this means listening to your body. Do you really need that second helping?

There is nothing more important than nutrition to keep your body fit and healthy. Try practicing these basic principles can make a huge difference in your life on and off the bike.

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