What to eat before a spin class
A spin or cycle class is one of the best fat-burning workouts. In a 45-minute session, most people will burn 400-600 calories – that’s an entire main meal! But it’s also one of the most gruelling classes, and we’re not just talking about the sore ‘bike-bum’ factor! So, in order to survive your class and fast-track your recovery, you must fuel your body properly before and after with the right pre and post-workout snacks:
What to eat before your spin class:
Put on a brave face and arm yourself with an energising snack that sits lightly in your stomach. Remember, you will be bopping up and down in your spin class frequently!
We recommend pre-workout carbohydrates, because your body is much more efficient at converting them to energy, especially during high-intensity exercise. Fats, on the other hand, are slow to digest, and require lots of oxygen to create energy. So when you’re struggling to breathe after a 60 second uphill sprint, you may fall short! Protein is also not a very efficient fuel source.
Low GI carbohydrates are best, because they provide a consistent flow of energy for over an hour. Try to have your snack 45-60 minutes before the class.
Our top picks:
1. A banana
2. A slice of wholegrain fruit and nut toast with a scrape of butter
3. 2 Ryvita multigrain crackers with ricotta and honey
4. A green smoothie with apple, half a banana, green veggies and milk of your choice
5. A ‘raw’ bar or bliss ball, based on natural ingredients including fruits and nuts.
What to eat after your spin class:
Well done – you survived! If you need to face a full day’s work, it’s time to recover and replenish your energy and nurture those tired hamstrings! Studies show that the best post-exercise snack for men and women has 20g of ‘high biological value’ protein (i.e. from dairy and animal sources), and 0.8g/kg body weight of low GI carbohydrate. For a 60kg person, this equates to 48g of carbs. If you’re vegan, make sure to mix different wholegrains, soy products and legumes to get the full range of amino acids. Consume your snack within 60 minutes post-exercise for maximum benefit to your recovery.
Our top picks:
1. Baked beans on wholegrain toast
2. High protein yoghurt (i.e. Chobani) and two spoons of natural muesli
3. 2 boiled eggs, split across 4 Vita-Weat 9 Grains crackers
4. Natural protein bar with a latte
5. Protein shake with banana and milk of your choice
So, don’t forget to fuel up before your next cycle class by grabbing a banana or a bliss ball. Ready to find your next class? Visit your club's timetable now.
Written by Samantha Cowan - a Melbourne based Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian who believes that healthy eating should be flavoursome, fast and fuss-free.