A Cyclist’s Guide to Rest and Recovery

Rest days are extremely important for cyclists and athletes. The harder you train, the more rest and recovery your body needs. Sometimes we think that taking a complete rest day off the bike will hinder training, but during a complete rest day, your body is able to rebuild your muscles, refocus your mind, and get the proper nutrition your body needs to maximize your recovery. Here are some simple steps athletes should consider on rest days to maximize your performance.

Steps For Rest and Recovery

Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is the best recovery tool for your body. Make sure you get enough quality sleep, especially on rest days. While you are sleeping, your body is able to rebuild injured tissues, improve cardiovascular health, and help your immune system fight off infections. It might be great to try and take a nap during your regular scheduled training time to allow your body to become more relaxed.

Include Relaxation

During these recovery days, take full advantage of being lazy. You can binge-watch your favorite shows or movies, catch up on some reading, and spend some time with your loved ones. This will help relax the mind and body. If you don’t like to completely stay off your feet, then do light activities like an easy walk around the neighborhood with someone or your pet. Light activity can help stimulate your aerobic system and take the mind off wanting to ride your bike.

Stretching and Massage

Stretching is important to help good blood flow and keep muscles loose.Take advantage of the extra time you have to schedule a massage, do some easy stretching, use a foam roller, and take an ice bath to help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. This can help get the blood flowing to your muscles and help your body relax. Light stretching on rest days can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, and increase mobility. These activities can help increase blood flow to those areas and allow for better circulation to and from your heart. When you are stretching, make sure you are not overstretching and putting too much strain on the muscles. This can lead to injuries like ligament or joint pain, aches, soreness, and swelling.





Ensuring adequate hydration is crucial for cyclists, not just during intense training sessions, but also on rest days. Cyclists often underestimate the amount of fluid their bodies require, not only during exercise but throughout the entire day. Hydration plays a key role in maintaining optimal bodily functions, including temperature regulation, nutrient transportation, and muscle recovery.

On rest days, it’s especially important to focus on hydration because the body still undergoes various processes that necessitate sufficient fluid intake. Even though you might not be engaging in vigorous physical activity, your body is still working to repair and replenish itself. Adequate hydration supports these processes by facilitating the transport of nutrients to muscles and maintaining overall function.

Fuel Your Body

Staying on top of your nutrition will help the body prepare itself for your next training sessionsThe primary goal is to eat enough nutritious food to properly fuel your body’s recovery. Make sure to fuel up on carbs and protein to support muscle repair and recovery, and to maintain blood sugar levels. You want to make sure you are not cutting calories because that can hinder the productivity of your recovery. Staying on top of your nutrition will also help the body prepare itself for your next training sessions. Consult your trainer or physician for specific diet plans and nutrition strategies.




Remember Mental Health

Rest days are important for mental health and allow you to step away from the high stress that your body takes on during training and competition. Rest days are great for your mental state because they allow your mind to recover from burnout, high stress, and the demands of hard exercise.

Rest days are essential for any cyclist aiming to achieve peak performance. By prioritizing sleep, incorporating relaxation, engaging in light stretching and massage, staying hydrated, fueling your body with nutritious food, and taking care of your mental health, you can maximize your recovery and prepare your body for the challenges ahead. Take full advantage of these rest days to ensure you are fully rested, recovered, and ready to give your all in your next training block. Start implementing these rest and recovery strategies today, and feel the difference in your performance and overall well-being. Stay up-to-date on upcoming races and put your training to the test.

Brandon Monk Feehery cyclist Monk, PFA, pedal for Alzheimer's, cyclist, cycling,
Brandon “Monk” Feehery

Feehery is a professional crit and road race cyclist who has raced in the USA Professional Cycling Championship for the past ten years. He has won multiple stages, been on the overall podium eight times and won the overall two times in the ten-day crit-racing series, Intelligentsia Cup Chicago. He currently races for the Miami Blazers and uses his global reach to share the mission of Pedal for Alzheimer’s. Feehery won his first National Championship in the overall and crit at the Collegiate Road National Championships in Richmond, Va. He also placed third in the 2016 Tour of Fuzhou and fourth in the 2015 Delta Road Race. Over his professional cycling career, Feehery has over 50 professional wins.