Cyclists Know How to Nail Training and Nutrition Together

Abigail Mickey




I’m Abigail Mickey and I’m a professional cyclist who races around the world for the UnitedHealthcare Professional team.


"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don’t." - Elle Woods, Legally Blonde



The quote above is potentially one of my favorite movie quotes of all time because it’s hilarious and is based in fact. As a kid whenever I got grumpy, my parents would simply kick me out of the house to run around for a while, tire myself out, and in the end come back with a better attitude.


Exercising Does Make You Happy

Seriously. It’s not about a specific body image that is spamming us from every movie, TV show, magazine, and social media site ever. It’s about you and your own happiness.


It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise either, it’s all about you, and what works with your schedule and your life. There are people I know who climb mountains, run marathons, hit the gym a couple times a week, swim, and even pole dance (yes, they have competitions for this).


For me, it’s cycling. Cycling gave me a new perspective on the world. It’s a new way to see places I have seen a hundred times already. A new way to push myself to new levels, new heights, literally and figuratively. There is a misconception about being a great cyclist. Many people imagine that you have to be super thin to be able to compete. This is totally false. There are women who compete professionally all over the world who are all shapes and sizes.



The most successful women have nailed the training and nutrition aspect of the sport. Nutrition is huge. You think, “you ride over 20 hours a week, can’t you eat whatever you want?” No. It’s about eating what your body needs to perform at the highest level, and a lot of it is timing. This doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want, although my teammates and I have a tradition of burgers, fries, and milkshakes after a race. In reality, moderation is key. It’s taken years for me to figure out what my body needs to be at its best.


For example, here is what my typical weekend looks like in regard to nutrition:


  Saturday Sunday Monday
Ride 5 hrs with max efforts 5 hrs endurance Rest day (everyone needs a day off!)
Breakfast 1 cup oatmeal w/ 1/3 cup Fage 0%, 1 cup berries, 1 serving Nuzest Quick Vita Kick sprinkled with homemade Granola 2 pieces homemade whole wheat sourdough topped w/ 3 tbs PB2, 1 banana, sprinkled with coconut flakes (high protein for recovery) 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites omelette with quick pickled tomatoes and spinach
During Ride 250 kcal every hour. I’ll always pack two Vegan Protein bars and usually stop for a treat at a bakery 3 hours in! Sub 200 kcal every hour  
Post Ride 1 serving Plant-based Protein smoothie w/ a banana and some Greek yogurt 1 serving Plant-based Protein smoothie w/ berries and some Greek yogurt  
Snack Apple w/ 1 tbs almond butter Apple w/ handful of apple cider vinegar cashews 2 rice cakes topped w/ yogurt and homemade blackberry jam
Dinner EPIC salad. I’m talking what you would serve a dinner party w/ roasted sweet potatoes, pickled beets, 1 serving of Tempeh Same as last night, with variations. Instead of tempeh, throw some grilled salmon on there 2 cups cauliflower coconut curry w/ 1/4 cup black forbidden rice
Post Bed Snack… 1 serving Plant-based Protein warmed up with almond milk for hot chocolate 2 chocolate kisses :)  


As you can tell, I eat a lot. And it all depends on how I’m feeling. I never go to bed hungry or let myself get hungry. It’s all about choosing the right food for your body. Need a snack? Grab an apple instead of chips. Pretty much the only thing I let myself go nuts on is popcorn.


The key to fueling, for sport but also for life, is thinking about what you’re doing the next day. If you’re planning an epic adventure for Saturday, you want to be properly fueled already on Friday, for example.


Cyclists Know How to Nail Training and Nutrition Together - Fitness, nutrition, fitness, cycling, vegetarian, self image, pushing boundaries, healthy eating, endorphins, fueling


Now, get outside, or to the gym, and work up a sweat. Because exercising gives you endorphins… and happy people don’t just kill their husbands.

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