Good Eats

There’s a Carb for Everyone

Here’s something we all have in common: To perform our best and feel good, we need to fuel with carbohydrates for our workouts. All of us have different dietary needs and preferences but rest assured, there’s a carb for everyone!

Our instructor team works mighty hard up on that bike and pays extra close attention to properly fueling before and after rides. There’s wide variety in what we like/need to eat, but we all follow the same basic principles for success… because they work.

Here they are, courtesy of Dr. Chris Mohr, Sports Nutritionist & Exercise Physiologist:
1. Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles.
2. Protein is there to help build and repair.
3. Timing is critical so plan ahead! Get a combination of the two in your body 1-3 hours pre- workout and within 20 minutes post-workout. And remember, target a 3:1 ratio of carb:protein.

Our instructors are sharing favorite pre- and post-workout food combinations for fueling our bodies and hopefully will inspire some new ideas for you!

We’re here to crush beats and energize, right? So fueling (and enough sleep!) is a big part of my exercise routine. My carb intake is mainly centered around my workouts and my morning and mid-day meals. My body doesn’t feel good eating a lot of carbs in the evening. Pre workout I typically have coffee, half a banana with a teaspoon PB or almond butter, a Lara bar (evening classes about an hour before), or a hardboiled egg. For post-workout, timing is important, especially on those double days. I need to eat within 30-45 min after workout to fight off the crash. My go-to’s are scrambled eggs, bacon and whole wheat toast. Also granola, fruit and Greek yogurt (Cabot vanilla bean is my fav!). Don’t forget to hydrate. Following this fueling plan keeps me energized!

Full disclosure: I’m not always a great “fitness” eater. Eating before and after a workout isn’t what my stomach or appetite always want. But I’ve learned (especially when I was pregnant) how important it is, so I do my very best. The trick for me was to find things that are relatively easy to digest…and things that appeal to my sweet tooth don’t hurt either :) A banana or Kashi Go Lean cereal are two of my pre-workout go-to’s. And my 5:30am riders know that I am rarely without coffee early in the morning! Post-workout, the best and most painless way for me to refuel is to drink my protein and carbs…a smoothie with almond milk, chocolate, banana, and peanut butter is a great treat. And you’ve heard it before, but CHOCOLATE MILK is a savior! Then once I’m home, an hour or two later, I’m ready for the solids….usually it’s multi-grain toast with peanut butter or an omelet with avocado, green veggies, and cheese. No eating or workout plans stick unless you find things you like, so the key is finding what works for you!

Hey riders! I’m excited to share with you some of my favorite go-to meals while I’m on the go! First I’ll mention I’m celiac and allergic to many things: gluten, dairy, and corn. While many people often respond to my allergy list with, “then what do you eat!? spinach?”, I love the challenge and have found many delicious meals and substitutes that are “Cassie Approved”. My all-time favorite to-go meal is protein pancakes (banana, oats, protein powder, and eggs). They’re so easy to make and I cook a bunch in advance and grab some to take with me while on the go. If time permits, nothing beats a good egg, bacon, and sweet potato home fries breakfast or a yogurt with granola, honey, and some fruit after a good sweaty ride. I ALWAYS keep snacks with me in the car in case I forget to bring my post workout meal with me or I don’t have time to go home. My favorite on-the-go snacks include: Cliff, Lara, and Kind bars, cut up carrots and celery, apples, almonds, and turkey/beef jerky. General rule of thumb, make sure you replenish your muscles you just exhausted after a workout, and most importantly EAT ENOUGH throughout the day and drink PLENTY of water (1/2 body weight in oz. AT LEAST!… YES that’s a lot of water but your body seriously needs it!). Now go and enjoy those carbs!

Hey Riders, if you fuel your body with the RIGHT foods – your energy will be through the roof as you climb, sprint and crush those beats in class! While currently studying to be a nutrition coach, I’ve learned that every BODY is different and unique and what you put in it is a direct connection to how you FEEL. And don’t you want to FEEL like the rock star you are?? Before I teach, I will either slice up an apple with some almond or cashew butter or make a smoothie. I’m loving the combination of bananas, blueberries, almond milk, plain Greek yogurt and ice thrown together in a blender. I also love plain Greek yogurt with chopped nuts (handful), a drizzle of honey and cinnamon. One more great fueling option before a ride is Ezekiel toast with almond butter, sliced bananas & cinnamon. If you are a salty person instead of sweet, spread avocado & diced tomatoes on the toast with some bacon. YUM! After my class, I’ll have a Larabar (Lemon is my fav!) and a small iced coffee with almond milk. Within 60-90 minutes, I’m enjoying my favorite post-workout meal: diced sweet potatoes, chicken sausage, peppers, onion all chopped and sautéed in coconut oil. DELICIOUS! I also like mini egg frittatas (muffin size which can be made in advance for on-the-go). I have them with sliced avocado, a side of berries and turkey bacon.

Fueling has turned into its own sport in my house! My kids know when I’m teaching based on what we’re having for dinner. For me the key to success is mainly the timing of when to eat. Also eating enough carbs. Before the rooster classes I have coffee and a banana or Kind bar. Before our mid-morning classes my go-to’s include eggs, avocado, French toast, fruit, or protein pancakes. Also lots of water before class. After class chocolate milk saves the day! Immediate refueling has a huge impact on how I feel the rest of the day. About 90 min after class I have a meal and try to stay true to a 3:1 carb/protein ratio and also eat foods that will really fill me up. My favorites are quiche, pasta with pesto and chicken, turkey or tuna sandwich with avocado, or a good ‘ol PB&J. Lately I’ve been in love with quinoa (cooked with chicken stock), roasted Brussel sprouts, and any protein on top. My biggest advice to riders is to eat or drink a carb-protein combo right after class. I know you’re not immediately hungry but mind over matter on this one– just do it to gain energy and avoid that low energy/ famished feeling later.

I love that my experiences as an instructor at Cycle Town have helped me to see eating in a new light. I think so much more deliberately about how to provide energy to my body before a ride and about how to replenish my body after a ride. Before a ride, I drink lots of water and eat either a Kind bar – - the almond coconut one is addictive – - or a Lara bar. I even make Lara bars at home with Medjool dates, nuts, dried fruit, and coconut oil. After a rooster ride, I have either plain Greek yogurt with cereal or granola, peanut butter and honey on Ezekiel bread, or a bacon and cheese breakfast sandwich on an English muffin. After my weekend double or my evening class, sometimes I go right for a chocolate milk. Then I like to eat chicken with rice and veggies or quesadillas with salsa and avocado.

While carbohydrates are often viewed the enemy of many Type 1 diabetics, if you are an athlete (and all of you who ride at Cycle Town fall into this group!) you must consume some sort of carb to fuel your fitness. I find that I can keep my blood sugar in check by choosing an energy source closest to its birthplace: dirt, plant, tree or chicken. Bananas and peanut butter (not of the Skippy-ilk but the kind whose ingredients are solely “peanuts”) are a fab pre-workout meal. And coffee. (sometimes expresso –watch out!). Post-ride I always, always, always run for eggs, veggies and cheese…scrambled in a wheat tortilla, layered in a quiche, or eaten straight from the fry pan with a spatula. Yup; done that. If you view your body as the well-crafted machine it is, and what you pour down it has the intention of keeping it running at optimal level, there are only smart choices.

larabar3   bananas 


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Don’t Skip The Carbs

We are often asked what’s best to eat before and after riding. So we’re going to share some research and expertise of a renowned sports nutritionist and exercise physiologist. In a separate post we’ll share our instructor’s go-to foods for successful fueling.  #RideStrongFeelGood

What should I eat before and after workouts?

Nutrition expert and exercise physiologist Dr. Chris Mohr lays it out. He says, first, don’t skip the carbs. Let’s say that again, don’t skip the carbs! Carbohydrates are fuel for your muscles. The harder your muscles are working, the more carbs you need to keep them going and going. A question is when to eat them.

Pre Workout Nutrition
Generally it’s best to eat 1-3 hours pre workout, depending on how your body tolerates food before exercise. Here are some examples, notice that each include both carbohydrate and protein.

• Peanut butter and banana or PBJ sandwich (light on the PB)
• Greek yogurt with berries
• Oatmeal with lowfat milk and fruit
• Apple and peanut or almond butter
• Handful of nuts and raisins (2 parts raisins, 1 part nuts)

Carbs are the fuel. Protein is what rebuilds and repairs your broken down muscles.

Post Workout Nutrition
Dr. Mohr provides a great analogy. Imagine your muscles like a sponge. When well fueled, they’re like a wet sponge. However, during training you’re using the stored energy in your muscles, comparable to wringing out a wet sponge. Just like a dry sponge can absorb a ton of water… your muscles are like that dry sponge post workout and can better absorb more nutrients. It’s time to REFUEL. And do it quick, like 20 minutes post workout.

As soon as you can post workout, you want to get carbs and protein into your body. You should refuel quickly even if you don’t feel immediately hungry. This will give your muscles the ability to replenish the glycogen they just lost during exercise and help your tired muscles rebuild and repair. Generally after riding a class, the carb:protein ratio you should be targeting is about 3:1.

Some examples include:
• Low fat chocolate milk (a Cycle Town favorite!  Stay tuned, we’re going to start offering it!)
• Greek yogurt
• Turkey on a whole grain wrap with veggies

The key with these foods is that they offer mainly carbs and some protein. In the case of chocolate milk, it also helps to hydrate.

Dr. Mohr’s take home points:
1. Your body needs carbs to fuel your working muscles.
2. Protein is there to help build and repair.
3. Timing is critical so plan ahead! Get a combination of the two in your body 1-3 hours pre workout and within 20 minutes post workout.

If you fuel right, you’ll feel better and perform better on the bike and after class. Your body will be able to work harder and longer, building lean muscle and increasing your calorie burn during your ride.

Our Cycle Town instructor team takes fueling very seriously because we like to rock out and work hard on the bike! We have learned (sometimes the hard way!) the importance of proper fueling and how dramatically it affects how we feel and perform. There’s a carb for everyone! In a follow-up post we will share each instructor’s favorite carb and protein combinations.

Many thanks to Dr. Chris Mohr and his expertise on Eating Before and After Your Workout.

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Nutrition For Maximizing Your Ride

Guest blogger Kelly Smallcomb, registered dietitian and Cycle Town enthusiast, shares nutrition tips with us for maximizing ride performance. Kelly has been a godsend to Cycle Town, advising our instructors on the best foods to eat and the timing of meals to ensure we have high performance on the bike and maintain peak fitness– especially when we do those double workouts! We asked Kelly to share her expertise with you riders. In our next blog post we will share each instructor’s favorite pre- and post-ride meals!


Did you know that what you eat and drink before, during and after your ride will make a big difference in your performance in the saddle? Fuel your body right and you will ride harder and get stronger, burn more fat and calories and become leaner, and feel more energized after your ride.

Let me break it down for you…

Before your Ride

While many of you may be riding while fueled only by coffee (especially those 5:30 AM roosters), research tells us this isn’t the best approach. It’s true that athletes can burn more fat when they exercise on an empty stomach, however, burning fat doesn’t mean you will become leaner and it will likely negatively affect your performance on the bike.

For a 50 min Ride, a pre exercise small meal or snack should consist primarily carbohydrates for a quicker release of energy. Ideally, it should be consumed about 1-2 hours before your ride.

Example – For the 8:30am class, fuel at 6:30/7:00am with 6 oz yogurt + banana, 1 cup cooked oatmeal, or a granola bar + latte.

Taking the 5:30am class and no time to eat? Try eating your “breakfast” before bed (ie. 1 cup cold cereal with milk, slice of toast with peanut butter, or a cup of oatmeal). Eating something small even 5 to 15 minutes before your ride will help.

What you drink before you ride is just as important. Most of us will need about 10- 15 ounces of fluid over the 4 hours leading up to our ride to stay hydrated. Does coffee count? Yes, and no. Up to 8 oz of caffeinated beverage can count, but anything beyond should be replaced with water. Caffeine is a well known performance enhancer, so no need to nix it before your ride if it’s part of your normal routine.

During your ride:

Drink water when you’re thirsty and throughout your ride, especially if you didn’t achieve your 10 to 15 ounces before your ride. The goal of drinking during class is to help you cool off and prevent dehydration later in the day. Cycle Town is a cool, dry studio though riders are known to sweat a ton, so unless directed by your physician, a big water bottle of plain water is what you need.

After your ride:

If you’re a recreational exerciser who works out 2-4 times per week, you will have plenty of time to replenish your body through your normal diet between workouts. Have a quick snack within an hour of your ride so you don’t let yourself get famished before your next regular meal. For example, a piece of fruit or a granola bar.  And keep drinking water!  A minimum of 40 ounces total is recommended before, during and after class.

If you are a daily rider, a competitive athlete or someone who works out hard with barely 24 hours between workouts, listen up! Post ride nutrition is very important for you and will make a big impact on how you perform in your next workout. Most importantly, timing is everything. If you have errands after class, pack a snack because you have 30-45 minute window after your ride/workout to replenish. You should consume a snack consisting of carbohydrate and protein—ideally at a 2/3 carb and 1/3 protein ratio. Cycle Town favorites include 8 to 10 oz chocolate milk, 6 to 8 oz Greek yogurt + banana, egg on English muffin, 2-3 slices of turkey rolled up in a tortilla, omelet with sweet potato, and quiche. A portable post-workout snack option is a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread or try a Superfood energy bar from Lido.

Remember every body is different and so are its needs – find what works for you and makes you feel and ride your best.

-Kelly Smallcomb, Registered Dietitian

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