Traditionally after the well-earned break of the off season, endurance athletes start to emerge again to begin of their winter training block. Alongside winter training base miles many athletes head for the gym to work on their strength and core. This often acts as a welcome relief from battling against the winter weather day in and day out. Opinions on strength training vary when it comes to in the gym or on the bike work but the premise is the same- enhance power to weight.
• Improve your ability to hold a position on the bike allowing the prime movers (such as glutes, quads, hip flexors and hamstrings) to be as mechanically efficient as possible.
• Increase gross efficiency by being able to apply more force to the pedals (less rocking & rolling on the bike and develop more efficient force transfer).
• Off-road riders need some greater upper body strength to help in pumping the terrain & dealing with compressions, ‘trail vibrations’ & gyroscopic forces.
• Also look at injury prevention – rebalancing musculature, strengthening areas that are weak & aren’t really worked during riding.
But like all training you need to make sure your nutritional intake is optimal to allow for training adaptions. Here are our top 5 tips for nutrition to aid strength work.
If you are wanting to build muscle mass your body needs to be in a positive energy state. This means you need to eat approx. 300 kcal more than your usually daily requirements. This then needs to continue until you reach your desired body composition. Remember you muscles need energy to grow too!
Research has shown that for optimal muscle recovery and growth, protein should be consumed 15 minutes before the start of exercise and within 15 minutes of finishing. This is to prevent our body from being in negative protein balance and therefore breaking down muscle during and after the strength training. Protein provides the building blocks called amino acids which allow our muscles to grow and repair, hence why it is so heavily associated with strength training. Our Protein Bars or Super Protein Drink are a great way to get in the necessary 20-25g of protein.
To then continue this recovery process spread your protein intake out evenly throughout the day. Little and often is best. Consuming any more than 20-25g of protein at one time is a waste as our bodies cannot actually process it. You can use our Protein Calculator to help map out your specific protein requirements and work out what 20g looks like in food terms.
However don’t neglect your carbohydrates! You will be surprised at actually how much strength training can deplete your glycogen stores, especially when carrying out lots of reps. Treat a strength session similar to an endurance session and make sure you are properly fuelled beforehand and replenish your muscle’s carbohydrate stores afterwards. This is particularly important if you are mixing your strength training with your endurance training. Our OTE recovery drink contain both protein & carbohydrates and are perfect for before and after a strength session.
Don’t underestimate the importance of being fully hydrated for strength sessions either. Water is one of the single most important nutrients and is essential for muscles contraction along with electrolytes. When in the gym, always have a bottle to hand. Try to replenish electrolytes you lose through sweating by putting one of our Hydro Tabs in your bottle, this is particularly important if it is a very sweaty session! Remember, as little as 2% loss of body weight due to dehydration can affect performance, so for athletes staying on top of fluid consumption should become part of your daily routine.
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