Optimal Nutrition Series: 2 Days Before You Ride
Scenario: It’s two days before your next riding event. Your diet up to this point hasn’t been ideal for supplying your body with enough energy for the event. You’ve had fast food three days out of five, and you’ve also had your fair share of chips and other high-processed snacks.
You wake up at 8 A.M. two days before the event. That gives you fifty hours until the event starts at 10 A.M. the day after tomorrow.
Nutritional Goals For Your 2 Day Meal Plan
- Ramp up your body’s energy stores. Your body needs a substantial amount of energy reserves for event day – whether it’s a race or a weekend ride. The sooner you begin building these stores, the higher your energy levels and endurance will be.
- Avoid overloading on complex carbohydrates. While complex carbohydrates are an important component of energy creation, they can deplete your energy levels when over-consumed. You need complex carbs two days out, but you want to consume them in moderation.
Guidelines For Achieving These Goals
- Increase healthy fat intake. Fat provides your body with prolonged energy, where carbs provide it with short-term energy. Both are equally important come event day. When you’re two days out, start increasing your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake. That means eating more nuts, seeds, fish, avocado, and nut oils.
- Ingest more complex carbohydrates You just read that carbs are your body’s short-term energy source. Therefore, you need to make sure it’s stocked with them on the day of the event. There are two kinds of carbs: simple and complex. Simple are bad (except right before a race); complex is good. That means upping your intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes.
- Eat every 2-3 hours to keep energy levels up. This is advice you should follow on an everyday basis, but especially the day before and the day of an event. The fats and carbs you take in constantly need to be replenished to keep your energy levels up the start of the event. The only way to do this is to consistently take in more fat and carbs to replace what your body has used. For an event that takes place at 10 A.M., strive to get your first meal in at 6 A.M. and another at 8 A.M., followed by a carb load just before the event.
Sample 2-Day Meal Plan
For two days before an event, your daily calorie intake should be at the following percentages: 60% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 15% protein.
For Days 1 and 2:
Breakfast – (8 A.M.):
- 1 cup of oatmeal w/pecans and berries
Snack – (10 A.M.):
- Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread
Lunch – (noon):
- Chicken breast
- A half-cup of brown rice
- Mixed Vegetables
Snack – (3 P.M.):
- A cup of Greek yogurt
- Fruit of choice
Dinner – (5 P.M.):
- Whole-wheat pasta w/marinara sauce
Snack – (7 P.M.):
- A handful of nuts or seeds
- Ants on a log (celery w/peanut butter and raisins)
* For the day before the event, see the 24-hour meal plan.
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