Recovery is a vital part of training. Without adequate recovery you won’t improve your fitness at the rate you’d expect and you can feel sluggish the next time you go out on the bike.

>>> All the latest nutrition information, recipe ideas and recovery tips 

Once a training ride finishes, the first 30 minutes is the key period in which you can make the biggest impact on your recovery.

This half-hour period is known as the ‘glycogen window’ and is the time when your body is best suited to processing food and initiating the recovery process.

In this exclusive Cycling Weekly video we run you through how you can best benefit your recovery and really make those long training miles count.

To start the process you need to consume around 20g of protein. This can come from real foods, especially if you’ve prepared them in advance of the ride, or from bars, shakes and even a large glass of milk.

Rehydration is also essential, so sip little and often for the hours following your ride to rebalance your fluid levels. Once you’ve refuelled and rehydrated, get that sweaty kit off and head for the shower.

  • Karl Melrose

    Unless you’ve depleted your liver glycogen during training and then you’re in for a number of hours of feeling absolutely awful while your body tries to metabolise your fat stores and you cant think straight because your brain only runs on glucose – and you’re much more likely to make crappy food choices and binge eat.OR, you can take advantage of the fact that your insulin response is retarded for the 60 to 90 minutes after reasonably intense exercise and eat food that you were planning to eat anyway and have it go straight back into replenishing your liver and muscle glycogen – ie. restoring what you used during exercise. You could also wait to eat for a couple of hours and until your insulin response has returned to normal – then once you eat and your blood sugar spikes it will trigger an insulin response that starts converting blood sugar into fat instead of leaving it in your blood stream to refuel your liver and muscles. Basically if you don’t refuel after relatively intense exercise you just sit around feeling like crap for a few hours (after your body stops releasing the endorphins and other good stuff that happens when you’re exercising because your cave man brain still thinks you’re chasing food and there’s a meal at the end of it) and then eat when your body is more likely to store it as fat.

  • jbal

    there no need to replenish glycogen right away UNLESS you are a pro athlete and need to race next day. As a matter of fact waiting couple of hours after training or training on an empty stomach will burn more fat

  • marc carter

    Never got this advice. You wait for at least an hour after before you eat anything. Your body still burns body fat at the same rate for an hour after you have finished any excerise that lasts over 23 minutes The moment you eat, you stop that process.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    What a load of rubbish my cat could write a more informed article.

  • GeorgeB

    Maybe she has a really really big bath?

  • Dan Whitten

    The point is that the obsession with continually taking on fluids during exercise is unnecessary and even dangerous. I don’t see the point in having an argument about this.

  • Roger

    But not from just “sipping” water.

  • Dan

    Why the goggles though?

  • Frobble

    Hi J1 – could you point me to some of the peer-reviewed studies you’ve mentioned please? Names of papers will suffice if links aren’t readily to hand.

    Many thanks – Neil.

  • Dan Whitten

    Obviously you need to avoid serious dehydration in the heat but the idea that you need to take on fluids obsessively has led to marathon runners dying of hyponatraemia, or water intoxication.

  • Roger

    What else are you going to do if you are riding long and hard in hot weather? Drinking regularly is not a “theory” but necessity. Or are you suggesting drinking 5 litres all at once?

  • Dan Whitten

    The theory that it is essential to keep hydrated by continually sipping water during exercise has also been disproved. I don’t know who makes these things up.

  • J1

    The ‘Golden Hour’ theory has been disproved on a number of occasions, your body is actually in a more receptive state for up to 24 hours after exercise. I feel sorry for the people I see literally sprinting to get their recovery drink down them because it’s “useless” if you leave it too long.
    Let’s not bother with peer-reviewed studies though and keep churning out misinformation to the masses. The bodybuilding community is the king at it.