• Ally Mackay

Personal Training. Week 11: Hydration & Food

Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING weekly blog.

Here you will find weekly updates designed to educate you on strength and conditioning for cycling. Over the coming weeks I will be covering all aspects of conditioning your body for cycling and how it can benefit you in terms of comfort, speed, and improving your riding. So, without further delay. Let’s get right into this week’s entry!

In this week’s entry I want to talk to you about early morning riding. I love an early morning ride and to be honest, would do that every time I ride if I could. But, it’s not for everyone and sometimes people really struggle with early riding. During this blog I will give you three top tips that will help your early rides. So, let’s get into it:

1: Hydration:

THE most important aspect of any outdoor activity. Hydration is joint with food in terms of importance especially in endurance sports. Especially in the morning when your body needs fresh water in its system.

Urinating is one of the three ways our bodies get rid of toxins and is usually something we all do immediately upon waking up. We also sweat during the night. When waking up your urine will usually be a dark colour. This tells us that we need to drink more water as we are dehydrated. Being dehydrated and then going straight into riding is never a good idea as we carry limited amounts of water with us and if we go into a ride dehydrated we will usually drink most of this within the first half hour of a ride. Ruining our ride later or cutting it short.

To counteract this, I like to go into an early AM ride with at least 2 pints of water in my system. If I do this, I know I will have flushed out my body and will have a fresh supply of water in me. I am also hydrated so will not feel the need to drink all my water in one go on the bike.

Top tip:
Drink two pints at least before you hit the trails, if you are driving drink a lot before you set off and take a large water bottle with you for the journey.


No early morning would be complete without coffee. Well, that’s how my mind works anyway. Caffeine is a stimulant that increase how alert you are, how awake you feel and gives you a temporary energy burst.

It is also a drug, and like all drugs has side effects and addictive properties.

The British population drinks 95 million cups of coffee a day. And while caffeine addiction is nowhere near as bad as alcohol addiction, or white powder, it does come with negative side effects. To name a few:

  • Headaches.

  • Dehydration.

  • Loss of stimulus.

To counteract this most people just make a stronger coffee. But this is not actually solving a problem.


Try to lessen the amount of coffee you drink to 2 per day and none after 14:00. This will help you gently come away from caffeine, lessening the lack of caffeine headaches and also giving you back that stimulated feeling caffeine can give you before a ride.

Even better than that, try not to have any coffee at all unless you want to feel stimulated. i.e. before a ride, presentation at work. Something where concentration levels should be elevated. Also:

Try and make sure that this is a small shot of espresso when you do this, no milk. Black. It’s the best way to get it into your system.

Top tip:
Remember caffeine can dehydrate you so if you are an early morning coffee drinker, get plenty of water in your system too!


Riding on an empty stomach is a stupid idea. Riding on poor nutrition is also a silly idea. But what should you eat?

Here is where things get complicated as food is so individual it can be difficult. But there are some basic guidelines you could follow:

My personal go too breakfast is oats with natural yogurt, this provides me with plenty of slow release energy and a small amount of protein in the yogurt.

However other options could be:

  • Porridge with jam/Nutella/banana/honey/fresh berries.

  • Scrambled eggs on sourdough toast.

  • Pancakes with oats in the mixture.

Remember with food its important to find something that you like the taste of, but also feel benefit from like I do with my oats and yogurt.

Wash this down with black coffee and water and your winning.

Top tip:
Get your timing right, try and eat at least an hour before you get on the bike and ride. So work it out when you will need to eat based on where you are riding and make sure your food is in your body well before. Keep drinking and stay hydrated too.

And there you go. Three top tips for getting your early morning rides off to a flying start. Remember in the morning you want to wake your body up and enjoy the process. If you can get some goodness in you before you get out and ride your body will thank you for it on the trails.

Trust me.

I hope you have enjoyed the blog and as always, stay safe.


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