Cycling 101: Building Your Body for the MS 150

By Travis Johnson

Riding in the MS 150 is exciting and fun – all for a great cause.  The experience of the ride and the time you get to spend with your friends is a great experience. Prior to enjoying the MS 150, cyclists should prepare their body through fitness and nutrition.  There are many gains to be achieved through nutrition, training and recovery.

If you are serious about your cycling, then you need to be serious about making sure that your body is in shape.  First, work on your nutrition. Here are some suggestions to help you work towards having the best body for your big upcoming ride:

1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Water is very crucial to aid in your body burning fat, absorbing nutrients from food and ridding your body from toxins.

2. Protein is very important. Make sure to keep your protein levels high enough so that you build muscle, as well as recover properly after a long ride.

3. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are packed with sugar and salt, and they provide energy spikes rather than a gradual release of energy.

4.  Consume the right amount of calories. Make sure you get enough calories in to have the energy levels for long rides. Don’t over indulge because of your activity level cycling in preparation for the MS 150.

5. Take in the right carbs and the right amount of carbs. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy for long rides. Try to stick to carbs that are lower on the glycemic index – slow moving carbs that stay in your system longer – which will keep you from having a peak and trough of energy that can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.

6. Fuel your body during your ride and after. If you are going out for a long ride, make sure and carb up, which will help with better performance and allow you to have more strength throughout your ride. During your ride, you can have small carb loading snacks to keep your energy levels up. After your ride, a high carb meal with a good amount of protein is extremely beneficial to help with recovery of muscles and energy levels.

Be mindful of your nutrition during your preparation for cycling rides as this will help you be both a faster and healthier cyclist. This will allow you to prepare, perform and recover better!

Strength training is also beneficial to cyclists as it will help improve speed and power, as well as prevent injury. Certain exercises can be done to help maintain muscle and assist with performance.

There are many benefits to cycling. It’s easy on the joints. It’s a great aerobic workout and an amazing muscle builder. It’s fun to prepare for a major cycling event. And as long as you add strength training and proper nutrition to your prep work, you will perform better during long rides with a lesser chance of injury.  Happy cycling!