“Jersey, helmet, trainers…”, and we’re off on our bikes! If you’re passionate about cycling and looking to improve your performance, improve your recovery, and of course, continue to enjoy your sport, you may be interested in the following article
- 1 Starting Cycling
- 2 Importance of Food
- 3 The Diet of a Beginner Cyclist
- 4 What to Eat Before Going Out on the Bike
- 5 Importance of Provisioning
- 6 Cycling and Training While Fasting
- 7 Supplements for Beginner Cyclists
- 8 Nutrition and Supplementation for Cyclists
- 9 Special Pack for Cyclists
- 10 Related Entires
If you have started with this magnificent sporting activity and are clocking up your first few kilometres, you’ll have seen that fatigue can become noticeable after the first hour.
It is precisely after this time that we see our performance reduced, in most cases
Who hasn’t made mistakes at the beginning? I bet you’ll have had to ask your partner for some snacks or energy bars at some point…
Importance of Food
Through correct nutrition, we can replace the energy spent as well as provide elements that help to regenerate and synthesise the muscle tissues that have been degraded by physical activity.
There’s no doubt that to obtain the maximum performance in any sport, diet is a fundamental pillar
Generally, if we go out on our bikes we have to predict the total duration of the route, if we are going to make stops, our snacks to have during the session…
The Diet of a Beginner Cyclist
Most people think that for aerobic activities you need to consume a high amount of carbohydrates. However, they neglect the role of fats, which in fact are absolutely essential nutrients.
Proteins provide the amino acids, the elements that work on muscular recovery. They have essential functions both for this area and for an enormous number of physiological operations.
There is a group of them, known as the Essential Amino Acids, which can only be supplied externally, as our body doesn’t synthesise them.
That’s why it’s essential you meet the daily protein requirements, which you can get from various sources, both of animal origin and through vegetable proteins.
The most recommended sources of carbohydrates for cyclists are complex carbs, such as roots (potato, sweet potato…), basmati or long rice, “real” bread, cereals such as oats or rye, wholemeal pasta… and always accompanied by fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits.
They provide the energy that’ll be stored in our muscles to be used in intense periods and exercises during the session.
Only during the course of the stages (or to recover) is it recommended to eat simple carbohydrates, as these have characteristics that make them more suitable for these moments.
Their function beyond calorie contribution, because we need to remember that 1g of fat provides 9kcals (more than double that of carbohydrates), is that they play an important role in hormonal balance.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil should feature in any quality diet. It’s a ‘tool’ for our body, providing natural inflammatories, and promoting cardiovascular and digestive health.
What to Eat Before Going Out on the Bike
Sf we decide to have a meal before the bike ride, we need to figure out the most appropriate food. This meal shouldn’t be too large, or too difficult to digest. It should provide us with a good dose of energy that we can access when we need it.
In my opinion, this food shouldn’t be too different from our usual diet, as I think maintaining healthy habits every day is not an option but a necessity.
Examples of Meals for Before Cycling (about 2 hours in advance):
Oatcake and Egg Whites
They provide a low glycemic index carbohydrate, using oatmeal, and cooked, thus improving their digestibility. For a simple recipe we can add 30 to 60g along with 1-2 eggs and 2-4 whites. If you prefer, you can buy a preparation based on these two foods, with the advantage that the measurements are already made and its storage does not need to be cold, you only need to prepare it with water and then cook it in the frying pan when you’re going to consume it.
For bread we can use (preferably from a bakery, not commercial) rye, seeds, spelt… together with a can of tuna in olive oil, and optionally some slices of tomato and lettuce.
1 Protein Shake + Peanut Butter + Fruit
Quick and practical. We could use a Whey Protein Concentrate, such as Evowhey, with our favourite flavours, a spoonful of delicious peanut butter (although almond or cashew butter would also be worthwhile), as well as a fruit, in this case a banana, although an apple or any other would also work well.
1 cooked and then chilled potato, cut into cubes + a bowl of any type of lettuce leaf + Tzatziki* + cherry tomatoes + 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you’re eating the potato cold, you can try Benefits of Resistant Starch.
*You can find the recipe in Healthy Dinners
Adequate nutrition is key to performance, and we should never forget to hydrate and carry water with us
Importance of Provisioning
Cycle routes with a duration of more than 3-4 hours should usually incorporate a short break, normally at the midpoint stage, to regain strength, drink liquids and eat a few snacks. Obviously, we’re talking about cycling outings with the aim of enjoying nature and sharing a hobby with our friends…
But if the aim is to prepare for a competition, or to cut down your time, it can be beneficial for us too.
A halfway stop on the route, you check out the view, you hydrate, you continue on…
What Foods to Have for Your Provisioning?
Here we can take advantage of foods with fast digestion and that give us energy to continue on or set back for the starting point. The most common options are bars, dates, sultanas or dried fruits, fruits like bananas, even some chocolate…
Cycling and Training While Fasting
You may find it interesting that colleagues who have been cycling for longer periods of time do not eat breakfast and go without food for a long time, until they’re well into the physical activity. Fasting training is totally feasible for cycling, but it’s recommended we have some energy substrate “just in case…”, although it’s more a mental issue than anything else. Once you try fasting when cycling, you may not want to stop, or maybe after a bad experience you’ll not have wanted to keep it up.
Either way, if you plan to go to training early in the morning, make sure you “charge” your energy deposits well with the meals you make the day before, with special attention to anything you have in the evening
Supplements for Beginner Cyclists
What is a Recuperator?
Sometimes we hear the word “recuperator” and, obviously, we’ll think that it is a supplement for recovery… Well, it would seem so. However, with cycling, and like other long duration activities, recovery needs to begin during the activity itself.
With the length of the activity being long, the best way to recover is by providing essential nutrients that we are losing throughout each stage. The most important of these is WATER. It’s vital to keep ourselves hydrated in order to avoid any “scare”.
My suggestion is to take items with us that help us to maintain our performance and that in the meantime will promote an optimal recovery. If I make the effort now, when I get home…
Glycogen is the main source of energy used by cyclists, and as we know, reserves are limited. If your plan is only to ride a few kilometres, you might not miss it, but if you start to ride uphill, or simply ride at a “good pace”, the energy demand on this substrate will increase.
Mineral salts or electrolytes are a “must” for every self-respecting cyclist. If you don’t want suffer what is known as a “collapse”, you’d better have them with you. When you ride a bike, the air cools you down, and therefore your feeling of warmth decreases. However, you’re still sweating, and through this mechanism, which your body uses to maintain body temperature at suitable levels, important substances are excreted on which, among other physiological processes, the correct muscle contraction depends.
The bars are usually small so you can carry them with you without them getting in the way. They should also be easy to chew and swallow, as often we’ll be having them while mounted on the bike (don’t throw the wrappers on the ground!). They provide carbohydrates, mostly simple, and will satisfy your hunger until you reach your destination.
Gels are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can save you from the gutter which an energy rush (if you were less motivated than you thought that day), but on the other hand, you have to watch your glucose levels to avoid suffering a hypoglycemia. This type of supplement is recommended as a last resort, that is, when we’re already on our way back. Unless we’re competing, we’re aiming to maintain a prolonged effort, avoiding peaks of greater intensity, but we can occasionally resort to a rapid absorption and action gel, which gives us a “push” and helps us stay on track.
On the other hand, you can always keep some stored away and if in half an hour or so you feel less strength, have some more
Protein is a very convenient and practical supplement for athletes. It provides us with high-quality nutrition through a refreshing and appetising shake, which, after considerable effort, is appreciated. It helps us reach the amount of protein we need in our diet, as well as providing extra benefits on top, such as bioactive protein or peptide fractions, with benefits for boosting the immune system, improving the absorption and transport of iron, and combating external bacterial agents.
Nutrition and Supplementation for Cyclists
Special Pack for Cyclists
Don’t miss out on the Special Pack for Cyclists that we’ve prepared with the best supplements atHSN.
What’s included in the pack?
- Beta Alanine from RawSeries.
- Citrulline Malate from RawSeries.
- Evokalyn from SportSeries.
- Amylopectin 2.0 from RawSeries.
- Glutamine Peptides from RawSeries.
- Evocarbs 2.0 from SportSeries.
- Evolate 2.0 (Whey Isolate Protein) from SportSeries.
- If you want to find out the best Proteins for Cyclists, click here
- What are the Most Recommended Supplements for Beginners in Bodybuilding?, click here
- What are the Most Recommended Supplements for Beginner Runners?, click here