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Nutrition for Indoor Cycling Sessions

Training indoors isn’t just the sweaty pain cave it once was. With the developments in smart trainers and virtual worlds, this has now become an important tool in any cyclists training week. Enabling you to train efficiently and programme specific workouts to develop all aspects of cycling fitness. Indeed, tailoring your nutrition to these specific sessions can facilitate short-term performance during the session and promote training adaptations post-session. With the main goals of sport nutrition at this time being:

  • To fuel for the work required in training
  • To promote recovery and adaptations following training
  • To facilitate optimal power-to-weight ratio

Here we look at a number of indoor training sessions and suggest how sport nutrition can be used alongside these.

Hill Repeats

Structure of the session:

20-minute warm-up > 5 minutes at 40% FTP, 5 minutes at 92% FTP (repeat 5 times) > cool-down

Feeling more like a strength session than a bike session, hill repeats focus on cycling specific leg strength. Keeping the upper body still, let the legs and glutes do all the work; lower cadence during the efforts (60-70 RPM) then higher cadence during the recovery (90+ RPM).

As the main performance goals are strength and power, pre-ride nutrition will provide carbohydrate to fuel the session, caffeine can also be used here to lower the perception of effort, meaning you can push harder during the 5-minute intervals. Post-ride will be a high-quality protein feeding to support muscle repair and adaptation.

Pre-Ride

 

In-Ride

  • Turbo+ in bidon to replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat, with the goal of preventing >3% body weight loss due to sweat loss.

 

Post-Ride

  • Whey Protein shake (mix it before the session and leave it in the fridge!).
  • Carbohydrate based meal with protein and vegetables ~2 hours later.
  • Replace 150% of fluid lost in the 4-hours after the session.

 

Sweet Spot

Structure of the session:

10-minute warm-up > 5 minutes at 96% FTP, 5 minutes at 88% FTP (repeat 4 times) > cool-down

Training at sweet-sport is a time-efficient method to improve functional threshold power, as you can spend quite a bit of time in the sweet-spot of your power curve without building up excess training stress. Programme this session multiple times in your training week and watch that FTP rise.

As the main performance goal of this session is to develop FTP and you will spend the bulk of the session at high percentages of your FTP, pre-ride fuelling will focus on carbohydrate. Post-ride recovery should combine carbohydrate to replenish muscle glycogen stores and protein to rebuild muscle.

Pre-Ride

 

In-Ride

  • Turbo+ in bidon to replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat, with the goal of preventing >3% body weight loss due to sweat loss.

 

Post-Ride

  • REGO Rapid Recovery within 30 minutes of finishing.
  • Carbohydrate based meal with protein and vegetables ~2 hours later.
  • Replace 150% of fluid lost in the 4-hours after the session.

 

Long Endurance Ride

Structure of the session:

10-minute warm-up from 40-85% FTP > ~2-3 hours at 2-3 W/kg > cool-down

Cycling is an endurance sport and as such, building a strong aerobic foundation is fundamental in improving cycling performance. Building your base means you can enjoy those weekend group rides and sportives without getting dropped!

As the main performance goal of this session is aerobic endurance and at its core this is a long ride, fuelling through the session will be key. This also acts as great opportunity to practice taking in nutrition on the bike, meaning that you’ll be fully prepared come sportive day.

Pre-Ride

  • Carbohydrate based meal 2-3 hours before, this should be 2-3 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram bodyweight i.e. a 70 kg cyclist would have 140 – 210 g carbs.
  • 5-7 ml of fluid per kilogram bodyweight in the 3 hours before, i.e. 350-490 ml for a 70 kg cyclist.

 

In-Ride

  • Fuel with 60-90 g of carbohydrate per hour on the bike. This can come from a range of options: GO Isotonic Energy Gels, GO Energy Bars, bananas, rice-cakes.
  • Hydrate with Turbo to replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat / meet hydration and fuelling demands; with the goal of preventing >3% body weight loss due to sweat loss.

 

Post-Ride

  • REGO Rapid Recovery within 30 minutes of finishing.
  • Carbohydrate based meal with protein and vegetables ~2 hours later.
  • Replace 150% of fluid lost in the 4-hours after the session.

 

60 Minute Recovery Spin

 

Structure of the session:

60 minutes submaximal riding in heart rate zone 1 (active recovery), usually ~50% of FTP.

As the main performance goal of this session is blood flow and active recovery, this is a good time to restrict carbohydrate intake to promote fat oxidation and endurance adaptations. This session is best if programmed first thing in the morning before breakfast, following the overnight fasting period of sleeping. Caffeine can be used pre-ride to support performance while still maintaining the desired training adaptations.

Pre-Ride

  • 1. Turbo+ Pre-Session Gel 30 minutes pre-ride.

 

In-Ride

  • Turbo in the bidon to replace fluids and electrolytes lost via sweat, with the goal of preventing >3% body weight loss due to sweat loss.

 

Post-Ride

  • Breakfast as normal; including carbohydrate and protein.
  • Replace 150% of fluid lost in the 4-hours after the session.

Science in Sport
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Science in Sport