With one 100-degree day already in the books, the heat of summer is starting to push its way back into our lives. Sure, we all know that we need to stay hydrated during our rides, especially as the air and roads warm up. But what about post-ride?
Recovery beverages are as essential as the fluids consumed while you're out pushing pedals. It's important to replace the water, proteins, sugars and salts burned during your ride so that your muscles can bounce back.
Of course, not every ride is a 120-mile leg-burner, so how one chooses to recovery can vary. Here are five post-ride drinks that will help beat the burn.
Milk - Forget the fancy protein powders and scientifically developed nutrient-rich recovery drinks. A tall glass of milk has all everything those big-label, big-dollar brews offer at a fraction of the price. Low-fat milk has protein and calcium in the perfect amounts, and if you go the chocolate route you get back that sugar and salt you sweat out as well. And you would be surprised how good milk goes down after a long, hard effort.
Coconut Water - Yes, this may be the hot drink for the yoga crowd, but as muscles continue their glycogen burn once the workout has ended, cramping or muscle tightness can set in. This stuff will keep that minimalized because of the massive potassium and electrolyte punch this stuff delivers. Do keep in mind that there is no protein, sodium, carbs or fat though, so have a good protein bar to chow on while you sip (or gulp).
Mexican Coke - Ah, that classic, syrupy bottle of goodness. There is a very good reason most pro cyclists in Europe can be seen clenching a can post ride. It's loaded with salt, pure cane sugars and water. The carbonation is sometimes tough, but when you get a hold of a good and cold glass bottle, not much tastes better.
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Bloody Biker - OK, now we're into the drinks that help numb the pain ... but with some benefit. This perfect after-mountain bike ride concoction is a standard Bloody Mary punched up with some olive juice and habanero. But the sodium, carbs, protein and lycopene from the tomato juice all aid in recovery. Some good carbs and calories in the vodka, too.
Any beer from Belgium - If you lift one of these, you have won.