The Best Bicycling and Endurance Sports Smoothies
Cycling is an excellent form of exercise. It is a steady form of cardio which builds endurance and is also gentle on the joints. For cyclists, everyday is leg day. Like all endurance athletes, a cyclist can suffer from the ‘bonk’. This is another term for hypoglycemia. It feels like running into a wall where you cannot do anything else.
Anyone who has cycled longer distances knows what the bonk feels like. It’s a sudden drop in energy levels. Your legs start to feel heavy and your breathing becomes labored and all you really want to do is lay down with a tub of ice cream. The bonk is something that cyclists and other endurance athletes face. The technical term is hypoglycemia and it stems from an exhaustion of your bodies glycogen storage. Basically you run out of blood sugar. The fix is to get some carbohydrates in you, and quick.
The best way to prevent hypoglycemia is through a good pre-workout meal. A pre-bicycle ride smoothie with a low glycemic index (GI) will ensure that your blood has a healthy blood sugar level throughout the ride. You do not want a high GI smoothie pre-ride as that will leave you with a spike of sugar which will not last as long. A low GI smoothie will provide a stable and steady level of blood sugar.
The great thing about smoothies is you can easily take them with you while on your bicycle ride. I often make a double serving of my pre-ride smoothie and take one of the servings on the road with me. I can then chug it along the way, anytime I feel that I might need a bit more energy. This is a lot healthier and better tasting than those nasty sugary energy gels I see others eating. Those gels are packed with processed sugars, while my smoothies contain vitamins and minerals and fiber from real whole-foods.
Another form of bonking is due to dehydration. Do not starting hydrating yourself during your bicycle ride. By then it is too late. Do so before your get on the bike. Drinking a pre-ride smoothie will protectively begin to replace the water your body exerts during your workout.
Drinking a cold post-ride smoothie is always an amazing treat after a grueling bike ride. Endurance sports really do suck the energy out of you and you need to recover as quickly as possible. Anytime you finish a long bicycle ride, run, or swim you need to get your energy levels back to a higher level or your body can repair the damaged muscle tissue. This is where a high carb smoothie will do amazing things. Carbs and broken down more rapidly and more easily by our bodies. If you need to quickly replenish your body’s energy, carbohydrates are the way to go. It is a fact that the most common post-ride meal for professional cyclists is a giant plate of pasta. Pasta is pure carbohydrates.
A post-ride smoothie is a perfect thank-you to your body for performing well. Not only do you get a quick infusion of energy, you also get the vitamins, antioxidants and fiber that whole fruit smoothies provide.
Here are some of the best bicycling smoothies.
Quick Breakfast Smoothie – This is a simple smoothie recipe. Blueberries, Yogurt, Honey and some ice. That’s all it takes. If you are rushing to get out the door for your bike ride, triathlon or just a busy day, this smoothie is a great way to get some morning energy. It also provides a good amount of protein, ensuring that your muscles have plenty of sustenance.
Healthy Cherry Coconut Smoothie – One of the most important aspects of a pre-ride smoothie is that the recipe must not be too filling. It’s like swimming, you just do not want to do it on a full stomach. This is another simple recipe; cherries, a banana and some coconut water. It’s only 228 calories and has much needed electrolytes which help control your body’s hydration. It’s like a sports drink, but healthy.
Peach Blueberry Yogurt Pre-workout Smoothie – This recipe has no fat, 25 grams of protein and 52 grams of carbs. Peaches and blueberries are both some of the lowest GI fruits. This is a good smoothie because it will provide energy for the ride, and if there are hills along the way it will provide protein for your muscles. Make leg day count.
A Berry Berry Good Smoothie – Berries are very healthy. They have a low GI level but have a ton of vitamins and antioxidants. When you practice endurance sports your body gets beat up pretty bad. It leaves you in a state where your body is more vulnerable to getting sick. Making sure you get a good amount of vitamins will help you stay healthy.
Low Sugar Green Smoothie – Speaking of healthy, what smoothie list would be complete without at least one green smoothie? This smoothie is low in sugar ensuring that the energy your body obtains is evenly divided over time. Pretty much every ingredient in this smoothie is a ‘superfood’ and will help take you the distance.
Post Workout Watermelon Smoothie – This is a light (222 calories) smoothie made from watermelon, Greek yogurt and a touch of mint. It works well because watermelon is a high GI fruit, which will quickly rush a bunch of energy into your body and the yogurt provides the protein needed for your muscles to rebuild.
Banana Date Vegan High Calorie Smoothie – Here’s another simple recipe. Only three ingredients: bananas, dates and coconut water. This is a monster of a smoothie though, it has over 1000 calories, though you can halve the portions if you desire. Dates and bananas are two of the top smoothie ingredients. This smoothie is sweet as can be, and will provide you with all the sugar you need to get over however tired you may feel after a long ride.
Sweet Banana Strawberry Smoothie – Those who are into cycling to lose weight may be interested in this recipe. It’s a carbohydrate based smoothie which will replenish your post-workout blood sugar levels but only contains 172 calories. The ingredients include agave nectar, coconut water, a banana and some strawberries. This is also a good smoothie to take on the road with you as it is light enough that you can drink it and get right back on your bicycle without having to wait to digest.
Paradise Smoothie – Sometimes all you want to do after a long bike ride is lounge around on your couch (or hammock). If so, this is the perfect post-workout smoothie recipe. It’s a taste of the tropics, powerful enough to replenish your body. It’s especially good on a hot day because adding ice to this smoothie recipe makes it even better. You deserve to relax and recuperate after a long ride.