By Brian Maslach
It’s the time of year when many of us resort to indoor training to avoid frigid temperatures. Since indoor workouts are typically shorter, and often more intense, it makes sense to do everything possible to get the most from these abbreviated sessions. Whether you are Zwifti'ng, strength training, or doing some other workout inside, dialing in your before, during, and after (BDA) workout nutrition will help you get the most out of your training time.
Since many of us perform indoor workouts first thing in the morning, peri-workout nutrition becomes even more important. I'm not a morning person, so it's critical that I prepare everything I need to start training the day prior to give my half-asleep brain fewer excuses to skip working out. This means prepping food, laying out clothing, and having my bike or other gear ready to go the day prior.
If I'll be having a meal before training, I'll prep overnight oats or a smoothie the night prior. I like smoothies before intense morning workouts since they are light on my stomach and digest quickly. I usually make my smoothie the night prior and put it in an insulated thermos bottle in the freezer overnight so I can begin drinking it as I make coffee. I also do this when I need to leave the house early for work or travel. You can find some of my favorite smoothie recipes here and here. Recovery Protein and Beta Red are now staples in all my smoothie recipes.
Beta Red in particular improves workout quality to help get the most from training. It contains nitrate-rich beet juice powder to increase oxygen delivery to working muscles. Oxygen is a major limiting factor for physical activity, so increasing its availability can unlock a new level of performance. Just as importantly, Beta Red’s performance amino acid blend of Beta Alanine, Citruline Malate, and Betaine supports muscular performance and recovery to let you push further and recover faster between efforts.
If my workout is more recovery or endurance-based (not as intense), I'll be more likely to go with overnight oats since digestion isn't as stressed as it would be during higher-intensity workouts. You can find my favorite overnight oats recipe here.
Occasionally I'll perform recovery sessions in a fasted state, so I'll just drink coffee before I start, and I'll save the smoothie or oats until afterward. Check this article for my experience with intermittent fasting.
Once I've finished my smoothie or oats, and coffee, I get into a cycling kit or whatever else I'll be wearing for the training session. Having it already laying on my dresser keeps me from being delayed by another early morning decision.
If the workout is 60 minutes or less, I'll usually only consume water until afterward. If I'll be training closer to 90 minutes, I'll eat one 100-calorie Enduro Bites piece every 20 to 30 minutes to keep my blood sugar stable.
I rarely consume gels any more as I feel better during and after training while eating solid food in the form of Enduro Bites as they do a better job of stabilizing blood sugar. I've been carrying the same gel in my cycling pack for over a year in case I forget to eat and need something to rapidly boost my blood sugar, but thankfully I haven't needed it. My tooth enamel is also happy it's stayed in the pack as consuming high-acid, refined-sugar products such as energy gels and chews during exercise tends to be one of the worst things one can do to their teeth. See this article for more on this.
Once training is finished, I'll grab my Recovery Protein mix, shower and begin adulting. Lately I've been treating myself to a second cup of coffee with my second breakfast. I started doing this while I was testing various coffees and preparation methods, but now I do it just because I really like the beans we've collaborated on with Hold Fast Coffee.
How does this compare to your indoor training nutrition routine? Please let me know what you've found to work best for you. I'm always open to experimenting with new-to-me ideas to perform and recovery more effectively.