Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand all year long.  Your winter diet will depend on your training schedule, but winter cycling creates unique nutrition and hydration requirements.

Nutrition is especially important if you’re heading outside for your workout this time of year. Proper nutrition helps regulate your core temperature, keeps your body warm and provides enough fuel for your muscles to do their job.

Wet and cold weather conditions increase the amount of calories our bodies burn while cycling.

The best foods for cold-weather workouts are complex carbohydrates, ideally consumed two hours before exercising.

I’m talking about those amazing winter comfort foods we’re all craving, warm chili, soups, bread, pasta, baked potatoes and oatmeal — are you hungry yet?

But don’t forget to eat on the road too. It’s so important to continuously replace carbohydrate stores that are being used for exercise and warming you up. If you don’t, you’ll get tired faster and feel chilled. Carry items that won’t get too hard in cold weather. Baked goods like banana bread and chewy oatmeal cookies are a great choice.

After your ride, it’s important to consume a post training recovery snack within 30 minutes.

Eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein – carbohydrates replenish the stores in your muscles and protein assists in the recovery of muscle damage. And if you are adding any off road training to your exercise regime, remember that you should always fuel up a little more after a strength training session.

And finally, the biggest nutritional mistake people make is not drinking enough fluids when you’re exercising outside. Cold blunts the thirst mechanism, and so you’ll feel less thirsty even if you’re sweating more.  You also lose a lot of liquids just through breathing. So stay hydrated!  Warm beverages may be more tempting to drink in the cold, so use an insulated water bottle or thermos that fits in your bike cage.

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