Eat the right Foods for Better Cycling Performance
Like all exercise and sport, eating the right food is essential for performance. Even if you are only riding your bike to and from work, you will still be burning energy. A good diet will compliment your riding and cycling performance levels will improve.
(Photo by Fueling up can be a balancing act. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images))
What follows is general nutrition advice for cyclists.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates are ideal for cycling and should comprise around 70% of your diet. Complex carbs give you long term energy and this makes them valuable to you as a cyclist. They work by replenishing muscle glycogen which you burn as you ride.
The amounts you need are proportionate to the intensity of your training, and the demands of your day to day life. Sports scientists generally believe that you need to consume around 5-9 grams of carbohydrates for each kilogram of weight you weigh.
Complex carbohydrates consist of whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. Different foods contain different amounts of carbohydrates and so experimentation to fit in with your training and lifestyle will be necessary.
Here is a list of foods which are classed as having complex carb properties.
Dairy foods for cycling
- Low fat yogurt
- Skim milk
Nuts, Seeds and Legumes
- Kidney beans
- Chick peas
- Split peas
- Soy beans
- Pinto beans
Whole Grain Breads and Pastas (Whole grain breads and pastas provide more fibre)
- Brown rice
Fruits and Vegetables
- Dill pickles
- Green beans
Bear in mind that what your body does not use to fuel your muscles will turn into fat.
Protein is not Just for Muscle Gain
Although protein is linked to muscle building it has other properties which are valuable to you as a cyclist. Providing you do not eat foods which are linked to diseases, and lean towards lean meats, fish, beans, and some low-fat dairy foods, you will find your muscle recovery and immune functions will improve.
Recent research has shown that proteins are more filling than carbohydrates or fat for the same calorie measures. In theory this means you can eat less by putting proteins of this kind into your diet.
Top up your Vitamins
Vitamins can be put into two categories. Fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K, are stored in the body. Water soluble vitamins are not stored and need to be topped up through eating them every day. As a general rule this can be done by including darker coloured fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Hydration on the bike
It is vitally important that you remain hydrated before, during, and after your rides. The longer your ride the more fluid you will need to consume. It is believed that most riders lose around 500 - 1000 ml of fluid per hour. Current thinking is that riders should aim to replace around 75% of lost fluids during a ride, drinking little but often.
There is a wealth of knowledge about cycling nutrition and we'll cover these in subsequent posts. As such all that remains to say is eat well and ride well.
Source: British Cycling
submitted on 29/3/2015