Diet and Nutrition for riders

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Motorcycling is more physically challenging than driving a car and can lead to fatigue easily. To avoid becoming tired on long motorcycle rides, you need to get adequate rest, plan and prepare, and consume the right food and drink.

Before you head out on the highway looking for adventure, consider a few steps that you can take and plans you can make to avoid having one of your adventures involve falling asleep or becoming complacent while riding. Just because you’re on your bike, riding down a road with lil traffic, doesn’t mean you can let your guard down and relax, right?

Before the Ride – i.e. the day before

Want to avoid dipping energy levels during the ride? Eat a high-carb diet for several days before your ride! A high carbohydrate diet should be packed with complex carbohydrate foods like Brown rice, Whole wheat chapathis, Bhakris, Whole wheat pasta, Boiled Potatoes (Better still, Boiled Sweet Potatoes) and of course, Whole grain bread. Fruits like Apple and Pear, Boiled Kabuli chana or roasted Bengal gram (The black roasted chana aka Mahabhaleshwar chana) also help building Carbohydrate reserves for a long ride

Remember! Your body wants Carbohydrates for energy. So, you want to build up a good supply of carbs (stored as glycogen) in your muscles and liver.

Water is important too! Drinking 8-10 glasses is healthy but adding another 4-5 glasses each day, starting one week before the ride, will keep you hydrated and prevent hunger pangs too. Plain, slightly chilled water gets absorbed fastest. Adding Glucose powder will not help you much…so avoid. Coconut water, may be one-a day, for 7 days before the ride, ensures your nerves remain cool.

On the day of the ride

You can have a couple of whole grain toasts and a glass of 100% orange juice or a medium-sized apple with a handful of raisins, before you step out of the house, early in the morning. Then, a couple of hours later, re-fuel with a wholesome breakfast like Upma, Poha, Idli-Sambhar, Misaal-Pav etc. This should keep you full for the next couple of hours. Don’t forget to drink water!

A minimum of 10-15 grams of carb along with some proteins should be consumed for each hour (The blood glucose dips every 1.5-2 hours and that is what leads to low energy levels and sluggishness) spent on the bike. You can get this from a cereal bar (containing 2-3 g of proteins) or from 2-3 seedless dates + 4-5 badams or from approx 1 ½ tbsp of raisins + 4-5 unsalted pistas/cashews

Having Electral while riding can be beneficial over water alone by not only helping maintain blood glucose levels but may also help to reduce stress on the immune system. One would require approx half litre of water for every hour of ride.

Energy drinks are great…they help you ward off sleep, right? Well, that’s cos they contain caffeine. Caffeine is known to give your nerves the ‘kick’ they need to stay alert but then, this spike in alertness will definitely be followed by a drop (so sudden) that one will feel really tired and fatigued. So, use energy drinks judiciously!

If you ever stop during a ride or race and there’s a water source, whether or not you’re feeling thirsty or need a water refill, drink out of one or both of your bottles and then top them off.

Ideal lunch during the ride

Good options include Chapathi/Rice/Bhakri with Nonveg curry (Preferable egg/chicken or lean cuts of mutton rather than fish) along with a salad and a glass of buttermilk. Vegetarians can opt for a sprouted pulse curry/ thick dal/paneer-based veg curry in place of the non-veg options.

Though non-vegetarian foods are a preferred source of proteins during a long ride, milk and milk products are very useful too. Casein (Milk protein) is a slow digesting protein that keeps you full longer while assisting muscle repair. Whey, on the other hand, is a fast digesting protein, which is why milk is a great choice during or after the ride. Milk is also rich in Leucine, a branched-chain amino acid. It helps prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue after long rides and encourages the growth of new muscle and lessen muscle soreness.

Experts say that you’ll have “tired times” during every 12-hour cycle, most often between 3:00 and 5:00 (a.m. and p.m.). You may want to plan to arrive by that point or stop for a power nap.

Once the ride is over…

First…Rehydrate! Then, a wholesome meal including all food groups is recommended. We are often so focused on protein, fluid, and carbohydrates,  that fruits and veggies go by the wayside. Not only are fruits and vegetables great sources of carbohydrates and immune building antioxidants, they taste great too. And have been proven to help repair tissues and promote overall stamina.

Please remember Bisons… A coffee or cola can briefly boost your alertness, but isn’t a substitute for adequate rest before and after the ride. Even though everybody loves their cuppa and have been known to have a beer or two in the evenings while winding down from a day of riding, waking up in the morning with alcohol fatigue is not good riding practices for the rider nor the group. When riding in groups, one must consider the safety of all riders.

Ride safe and Ride hard!!

Written by Pallavi aka DietPal. A Registered Dietitian with a rich experience of 7 years, in Corporate Wellness Programs, One to One diet counseling and content writing. She has also written many articles in the area of Diet, Nutrition and Wellness in various websites and blogs. She is the managing partner at Prime Health Consultants