Fueling your body correctly supports your cycling training and optimizes your performance, whether you are training for a competition, want to break personal records, or simply riding a bike to work out.
To help you love your ride, here are some general nutrition tips for cyclists.
Nutrition Tips For Cyclists - Synopsis
- Carbs are a friend, not a foe.
- Eat your protein.
- Hydration is vital.
- Eat before you're hungry.
- A balanced diet is always key.
Sharla Mawhinney is a Vancouver-based Behaviour Modification Nutritionist, triathlete, and rider with the Velogrit Cycling team.
Carbs are a cyclist's friend, not a foe.
Carbohydrates are essential for providing the energy needed for long rides. The goal is to eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as they release energy slowly and provide sustained fuel for your ride.
Consuming simple carbohydrates such as sugary drinks and snacks may provide a quick burst of energy but may also lead to crashes - energy crashes, that is.
Eat your protein.
Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, especially after a long ride. Aim to consume lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, or beans. A good rule of thumb is to ingest one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
Hydration is vital.
Staying hydrated is vital for cyclists to maintain optimal performance. Aim to drink water before, during, and after your ride, and consider adding electrolytes to your drink to replace lost salts. You can add many healthy electrolyte powders to your water bottle.
Eat before you're hungry.
Fuel your body before, during, and after your ride. Eat a meal containing complex carbohydrates and protein about 2-3 hours before your ride, and have a snack 30-60 minutes before your ride for additional fuel. A banana is an excellent choice as a pre-ride snack.
During your ride, consume easily digestible carbohydrates such as energy gels or bars. After your ride, eat a meal containing complex carbohydrates and protein within an hour of finishing to help with your recovery.
A balanced diet is always key.
Finally, aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to perform at its best.
Remember, every cyclist is different, and nutrition needs can vary depending on the intensity and duration of your rides and your personal goals.
If you are a competitive cyclist or putting lots of hours on the road, working with a registered dietitian or sports nutritionist is a good idea to create a personalized nutrition plan that meets your individual needs.
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