In the spring, an outdoor ride with the girls usually begins with a conversation similar to the title of TLC’s popular show “What Not to Wear”. Do I need a vest or jacket? Are you wearing shorts or long tights? Should I wear a headband? It’s good to be prepared and is easier to take something off when it gets too warm than it is to be cold on your ride. In the same way, it’s easier to recover from a hard ride if you are prepared with the right nutrition and hydration before, during and after workouts. Don’t skip a pre-ride meal for weight loss, but eat a balanced meal, snack or shake to help provide energy to ride harder, longer and burn more calories! Use low glycemic index (GI) foods for sustained energy. Try different foods and sports drinks to see what you enjoy and can tolerate during a ride. If the ride is 60 minutes or less, it’s not necessary to eat on the bike. If it’s 90 minutes or longer, LaraBars, fruit leather, shot blocks or gels, or PB/banana sandwiches are easy to digest. I usually carry one water bottle and one electrolyte replacement bottle. The post-ride meal should be a 40/30/30 combo of carbs/protein/fat. Carbs replenish lost glycogen stores and better prepare muscles for the next workout, lean protein helps rebuild muscle tissues and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) provide vitamins and minerals as well as fill you up! Today I found a tasty homemade version of my favorite LaraBar on www.foodiewithfamily.com. It was quick and easy in my Kitchen Aid. Just four healthy ingredients: raw almonds, cocoa powder, dark chocolate and peanut butter. Yum! I can’t wait to try a dried cherry version (Cherry Pie LaraBar). Hi Health has a huge selection of sports nutrition items available on www.hihealth.com and you can select from hundreds of buy one, get one ½ off items, too. Enjoy the ride!