Ask a Pro — Diane Stibbard
- Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year
When to eat
Most spinning classes last from 45 minutes to 60 minutes, but some studios offer 75 and 90-minute classes. If you‘re participating in a 45 to 60-minute class you don’t need to refuel during the class. However, if you’re doing a spinning class that’s 75 minutes or longer, you’ll need to eat a small amount of simple, easily digested carbohydrates, containing about 100 calories, to refuel during the class. This can come in the form of a sport gel, half of an energy bar or a banana at the 60 minute mark. This small amount of carbohydrate will allow you to continue to work consistently without feeling fatigued, hungry or light-headed. The glucose provided by these foods goes immediately to the working muscles, allowing your body adequate fuel for the muscle contraction that’s required to turn the pedals.
When to drink
Hydration is different from refueling, and is required in all classes from 45 to 90 minutes long. Hydration with water is needed to replace the fluid that’s lost through sweat during exercise and to help reduce your body’s core temperature. Indoor spinning classes usually create a lot more heat and sweat than riding outdoors, so you may find you’re soaked by the time you finish a workout. This is good, as sweat is the body’s natural cooling mechanism.
To stay hydrated, take two to three sips of water every 10 minutes throughout the class. If you’re participating in a class longer than 60 minutes, drinking a sports drink with electrolytes will help, by replacing the fluid, salts and minerals lost through sweating. Replacing those electrolytes helps you to ride strongly and not cramp up. Some people experience muscle cramping if they lose too much salt during longer, more intense workouts. There are many sports drinks on the market that are targeted for intense exercise, for example: E-Load, Gu O2, and Gatorade. Gatorade can be purchased at a grocery store, the other products at bike/running stores.
My last important tip: pre-hydrate. Before each spinning class, make sure you’re properly hydrated by drinking a large glass of water 30 minutes before the start of the class.
So get spinning. It’s a great way to keep fit, and stay motivated over the winter months.
Diane provides training programs for recreational and competitive cyclists, duathletes and triathletes, including nutritional counseling and personal training. Does your company need a fitness consultant? Get in touch with Diane to discuss fitness seminars for corporations
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Check out Diane’s e-programs: Keeping Fit in the Off-Season and Training For a Two-Day Charity Event For the Time-Starved Cyclist.