5 Tips for Summer Cycling

As this year’s entrants in the Tour De France can attest, cycling in hot weather is challenging for the body. Here’s how to work with the heat to maximise the effectiveness of a summer cycling workout:

  1. Stay cool

Hydrate fully before setting off for a cycling session to reduce the risk of dehydration in hot weather. Pop bottled beverages in the freezer so they remain cold for as long as possible during training and select electrolyte drinks, which are useful for maintaining an even concentration of sugars and salts in the body.  Ride in the morning or evening to avoid the severe heat of the day but if it can’t be avoided be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to exposed areas. Pay close attention to the forearms, tops of the ears, nose and legs to protect the skin from sunburn.

2. Eat a high carbohydrate diet

Prior to a race it’s important to eat a high carbohydrate meal so the body can store it up and turn it into energy during your ride. Slow release carbs like pasta and bread make the perfect energy reserves but they must be eaten 2 to 3 hours before a race to give the body time to break them down. During the race energy drinks with a high glucose content are better because the body doesn’t need time to convert them into energy.

3. Set an achievable pace

Cycling in the hot weather takes its toll on the body, even if you’ve eaten well. Handle heat stress by taking it slowly and gently increasing your efforts so you can meet your expectations. For an extra shot of energy, caffeine supplements and NitroMax Pro can provide a quick energy boost, reduce fatigue and increase the flow of oxygen through the body.

4. Prepare for all weathers

Always prepare for rain – take a lightweight jacket in case of summer drizzles and showers. Select a hot weather helmet to keep your head cool as well as safe and remain aware that road surfaces may become unstable and soft during very hot weather.

5. Rest to repair

Branch Chain Amino Acids increase protein synthesis, help the body to retain muscle and promote tissue repair, creating the perfect post-exercise supplement. Combine this with a protein shake or snack, eaten within 30 minutes of the end of a cycle ride, to encourage recovery. Then be sure to incorporate some down time into your cycling regime to allow the body to rest and recuperate. Structured rest and regular sleep is vital to maximising the intensity of a workout and reducing illness and fatigue. Fish oils are also useful for boosting the immune system and keeping the body fit and healthy for upcoming races.

Cycling is a fantastic exercise for losing weight, improving co-ordination and boosting muscle strength. Plus, it’s lots more fun when the weather decided to play ball.

Nutrition Tips for New Runners

Running is a fantastic cardio exercise that strengthens the lungs, improves the mood, relives stress and burns calories. Better yet, anyone can start whenever the mood strikes because there’s no equipment required.

Fuelling the body with the right nutrition always makes for a better run so here’s a handy guide for new runners on how to make the most of their jogs, marathon runs and sprints:

Carb up

Load up on carbohydrates the evening before and on the morning of a long run. Potatoes, pasta, oats and rice are absorbed by the body and stored as glycogen and glucose – these reserves spark into action when the going gets tough. Taking creatine, which boosts the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body and kick-starts energy release, is useful for distance runners too.

Wait it out

During training wait two to four hours after eating a big meal before exercising (30 mins is sufficient after a small snack). Avoid high-fibre foods, spicy meals and alcohol too as these can adversely affect the gut but do eat oily fish rich in fatty acids and take Omega 3 supplements or Flaxseed Oil to boost heart health. It’s worth testing out whether a meal plan is working by doing a ‘dress-rehearsal’ run before competing.

Hype up the hydration

Drink water to compensate for sweat loss when undergoing distance training in preparation for a marathon. Sports drinks can be really helpful for replacing water, sugars and electrolytes. However, the amount of fluid the body needs will depend on the runner’s weight, gender, sweat rate and the climate.

Drink to thirst

Many professional runners advise drinking to thirst to avoid overfilling their stomach with fluid. Short runs that are less than an hour long don’t require extra fluids during training.

Promote recovery

A snack combining protein to repair muscles and carbs to refuel the body, eaten within 30 minutes of crossing the finish line, will speed up recovery. Drinks made with whey protein provide a light and quick way to load up on protein after a run.

Stay safe in the sun

Running in the summer can be tough for beginners who aren’t used to hot temperatures. It’s vital to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water prior to a long run and sipping on isotonic drinks during training. Wearing clothing that reduces chafing and applying a lubricant over problem areas is also advised to prevent soreness. Protecting the skin from harmful UV rays by wearing clothing that covers the body and applying a sunscreen with a high SPF is essential to staying safe in the sun.